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Old 02-05-2006, 12:19 PM   #41
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About time! Nice chapter, Jas!
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Old 02-05-2006, 12:41 PM   #42
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Good job, keep it up !


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Old 02-07-2006, 06:33 PM   #43
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Great Chapter Jasra. You have a very nice story going on here Can't wait for the next chapter.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:01 PM   #44
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Chapter 8--part 2

“What?! Aw, you can’t be serious!” Rade complained to Prefect Keel sitting stoically behind his desk. “A trial? But we only just arrived! We haven’t had any time to have violated any laws yet!”

Rade, Bastila, and HK had been escorted by Berland and Ithra from the Visitors’ Lounge to a waiting chamber outside of Prefect Keel’s office. Ithra had then excused herself to return to The Haven for some rest. After an hour wait, a silvery protocol droid came out of the Prefect’s office and called for Berland to enter alone. Another hour later, Rade, Bastila and HK were invited in as well—to officially register Bastila as Rade’s arbiter for his trial.

“No?” Prefect Keel let his eyes wander down to the datapad in his hands. “Let’s see. Assault against a Jantessan envoy…?” He looked at Berland.

On cue, Berland rubbed his elbow.

“Veering from the prescribed vector on approach through our shield corridor?” Prefect Keel continued. “Importation of restricted off-world produce? Importation of exotic wildlife?” At this, Prefect Keel looked up. “Without, I might add, an import license or any health certifications from any planet,” he added sharply.

“Produce? Exotic wildlife?” Bastila said, exchanging looks with Rade. “What are you talking about?”

“Zorgang nuts are foreign produce, are they not?” said Keel. “And Berland reports that you have one Wookiee and one Cathar on board.” He paused a beat. “Although, he did also mention that Master Chano likes to treat them as crew.” He sighed. “But I understand how some people can grow quite attached to their pets.”

“Juhani and Zalbaar are not pets!” Rade protested.

“Statement: Yes, master,” HK confirmed. “They are meatbags, like all organics. Query: Master, I cannot help but notice that this particular meatbag is irritating you. Would you like me to eliminate him?”

“HK, please…” Rade pleaded. “Not now.”

“Disappointed Reply: *sigh* As you wish, master.”

“Meatbags? Elimination?” said Prefect Keel with mild interest. He looked down at the datapad again, and added something to it. “I suppose now I will have to add ‘possession of a droid with illegal protocol modifications’ to the list. And there are still the charges relating to your ‘previous’ visit to our fair world.” He clicked a button on the datapad a few times. “Charges too numerous that I have neither the time nor the inclination to mention.”

“This is preposterous!” said Bastila. “You can hardly charge Rade with anything prior to his arrival today. The Jedi Council specifically sent him here at your people’s request. To help you with your Senatorial trainee, not to mention finding this missing relic of yours. And as a diplomatic envoy himself, he should be exempt from being charged with anything in the first place!”

Prefect Keel took a moment to consider. “So, Master Chano denies these charges?”

Rade opened his mouth to speak, but Bastila elbowed him in the side. “He certainly does,” she said for him. “Most vehemently.”

“I see.” Prefect Keel calmly rose from his desk. “Very well, my dear,” he said, slowly appraising Bastila's form. “I look forward to you presenting his defence to the court.” He turned to his protocol droid assistant. “When is the next available date on the docket?”

His protocol droid clicked as it calculated. “At 1800 hours, my lord Prefect. Forty-two standard days from today.”

“Forty-two days?” Rade said incredulously. “I’m not staying here for forty-two days. And how am I expected to find this ‘relic’ of yours if I’m being held over for trial?”

“Ah, yes. The Aylah’han Gem.” Prefect Keel paced behind his desk and stood with his back to them as he stared out the window. “Berland tells me that Keeper Ithra was most forthcoming about its…potential uses. Uses that the Jedi may not approve of.”

Rade exchanged a quick look with Bastila.

“How do we know if you will return it to us once you have found it?”

Rade cleared his throat. “Because you have the promise of the Jedi Council and my word as a Jedi Knight.”

“Your word?” Prefect Keel turned. His face was quiet and calm, without a hint of emotion, but his voice was sharp and accusatory. “You gave us ‘your word as a Jedi’ before as Lord Revan. A word you did not keep, I might add.”

“He is not the same person now,” Bastila said defensively. “He is not Lord Revan.”

“So you keep insisting,” said Prefect Keel. He picked up the datapad. “Although, Berland’s report indicates….”

“Berland’s a Sith,” Rade interrupted. “You can hardly take his word over a Jedi’s.”

Former Sith,” Berland corrected. “I serve the Jantessans now, remember?”

“This is pointless,” said Bastila. “Prefect Keel, we came here to help you,” she said, trying to use her Jedi power of persuasion on him. “If you do not want the Jedi Council’s assistance, then let us depart and we will leave you to your own affairs.”

Keel raised an eyebrow. “Since Lord Revan’s visit, we have learned how not to be susceptible to any Force tricks or persuasions. Jedi or no, you will not depart without my permission,” he added icily.

“Perhaps some insurance would be in order, my lord,” suggested Berland. “If you were to hold, say, the Wookiee and the Cathar while he looked for the Gem, he would have no choice but to return it to us in exchange for their release. After all, obtaining the required permits for their release from quarrantine should take…well, a week at least.”

“No one’s holding anyone hostage,” Rade stated to Keel. “I’m not leaving my crew behind. If you want the Gem, you release us. All of us.”

Prefect Keel appreciatively eyed Bastila over again. “Perhaps then just you, Bastila, should stay behind. I could ‘help’ you prepare for your client’s case. Or your own, if for some reason he doesn’t return for you."

“An excellent suggestion, my lord,” Berland said to Keel.

“What?” Bastila said, sounding very offended.

Rade again opened his mouth to protest on her behalf, but Bastila halted him, and then whispered something in his ear. Rade grinned, then nodded.

“We agree with Berland,” said Bastila. She grinned at Berland’s look of confusion, and Keel’s look of defeat. “It’s a fair compromise to allow the Wookiee and the Cathar to stay here while the rest of us look for the Gem. Agreed?"

"My lord," Berland started, "this is obviously a trick to get...."

Keel sighed. “Agreed,” he said with more than a hint of disappointment.

“Now,” Bastila said in a confident voice. “In order for us to find this Gem of yours, we will need access to your databases on….”

“Oh, I’m afraid that cannot be permitted,” Prefect Keel replied quickly. “Only those with a Class Eight control pass are allowed access to them. And unfortunately, you do not meet the criteria for me to issue one. Anyway, it won’t be necessary. There is someone who should already know the Gem’s location.”

Rade and Bastila exchanged looks.

“A trader by the name of Krex,” Berland said on cue. “We suspect that he knows exactly where the Gem is, although he has been… ’unwilling’ to give us that information through… 'conventional' measures.”

“Meaning what?” asked Rade. “That he’s immune to Sith mind invasion and torture?”

Berland stared at Rade deadpan. “Irritatingly so.”

“So where can we find this ‘Krex,’ asked Rade.

“Oh, he’s easy to find,” said Prefect Keel. “He’s being detained in the Visitors’ Lounge. A problem with his control pass, I believe?” he said, looking at Berland, who nodded in affirmation to his question. “I understand that a problem like that takes weeks, sometimes months, to resolve.”

“He’s here?” Rade said, then rolled his eyes.

“Your crew will probably have had some contact with him already,” said Prefect Keel. “He normally tries to ‘suss out’ all the new arrivals. Talk to him. Get him to tell you about the Gem’s location, and then find it and bring it back to us.”

“And why would Krex tell us when he wouldn’t tell you?” asked Bastila.

“Why wouldn’t he tell you?” asked Prefect Keel in return. “You’re an ‘outlander’. You’ve been charged with offences, and you have a dislike for Berland, and, I suspect myself as well now. And you’re Jedi. I’m sure you are resourceful enough to persuade him to tell you where the Gem is.” He pushed a button and the door opened. “My protocol droid will escort you back to your crew in the Visitors’ Lounge. When you have the information you need, just inform the droid that you would like to speak to me again. I’ll see to it that you are issued with the appropriate clearance passes.”

Rade, Bastila and HK were escorted back to the Visitors’ Lounge.

“So,” Prefect Keel said to Berland after the door had shut. “You are sure that Krex will tell them?”

“Oh, yes, my lord. Quite sure.” He grinned. “And when he does, we’ll merely follow them to the source, destroy the Ebon Hawk, and take the Gem back ourselves. The tracking device I placed on board their ship is well hidden.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 02-15-2006, 06:03 PM   #45
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Another great chapter! It's so good, I got pissed off at the Jantessans . Keep up the great work!


Let's kill ourselves.
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Old 02-15-2006, 06:59 PM   #46
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Well, I must be doing something right if you got pissed off with them. Thanks for the encouragement!


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 02-16-2006, 04:14 AM   #47
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Great chapter once again Jasra. You always write everything out so well, and with such an easy flow. I don't like this Prefect Keel fellow. I think he needs to be "HK'ed" if you get my drift


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 02-17-2006, 01:46 PM   #48
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Once again I have to say, GREAT JOB Jasra. I can't wait for your next chapter yet again.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:28 PM   #49
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Pure talent. You are doing great.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:31 PM   #50
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Chapter 9

As Rade, Bastila and HK-47 entered through the door of the Visitors’ Lounge, they were met by Carth and the rest of the crew.

“Please tell me that they gave you a Class Six pass,” Carth said, just as the door closed behind Rade.

Rade gave his friend a weak smile. “Well, erm…”

Carth let out an exasperated groan. “We’ve been around this entire place, twice, looking for a way to get past their security. Not even T3 could break their codes! What do they want from us?!” he said, holding his hands up in surrender.

“They want information from one of the detainees here,” said Bastila. “A trader called Krex. Once we get it, the Prefect will allow us to depart. Well, some of us can depart.”

Carth raised an eyebrow. “Some of us?”

Bastila glanced at Rade for support before breaking the bad news. “I’m afraid Juhani and Zalbaar will have to stay here for the moment.”

Zalbaar roared his disapproval.

“What?” Juhani said incredulously, her voice rising. “Stay here?”

“Now, Juhani, remember,” said Rade. “There is no emotion, there is….”

Juhani ignored Rade’s attempt to soothe her anger. “Forget the Jedi Code! I’m not staying here!”

“It’s just until we get back with the Gem,” said Bastila. “It was the only way we could avoid going to trial.”

“Trial! Trial for what?” Carth suddenly shook his head. “Nevermind. I don’t think I want to know.”

“The fact remains that Juhani and Zalbaar have to stay here,” said Bastila. “But,” she looked at each of them in turn, “that doesn’t mean that you two don’t have work to do.” She lowered her voice. “The Jantessans believe that you are ‘lesser’ beings.” She quickly held her hand up to stay any objections from either of them. “Which means they won’t be watching you that closely. We need you to gather as much information as you can about the Sith occupation here. It won’t be easy, but I think you two can handle it.”

Juhani exchanged looks with Zalbaar. “We’ll do our best,” she acquiesced.

“Good,” Rade said. “So, about this trader. Krex. We need to find him and talk to him.”

Carth and Canderous exchanged looks. “Erm…we’ve already met him,” Carth said hesitantly.

“Yeah, and we don’t like him,” Mission blurted. “He cheats.”

“Yes, he’s dishonest, and not very pleasant,” Juhani disdainfully agreed.

“Cheats?” asked Rade, confused at what they were basing their opinions on.

“He beat her at cards,” Canderous explained. He grinned. “Five times.”

“Like I said, he cheats,” Mission retorted, sulkily crossing her arms over her chest.

“Oh, c’mon, he’s not that bad,” Jolee chimed. “I mean, sure he’s a bit shady, but if he’s been trading with Jantessa for all the years he’s claimed, he’d have to be. And he did warn you that he played a mean game before you started,” he reminded Mission.

“Mean is one thing. Cheating is another. I don’t like him,” Mission said. “And neither does Big Z. Right?”

Zalbaar gave a half-hearted grunt, indicating that he wasn’t really bothered one way or the other.

“Query: If this meatbag is so disliked by your crew, Master,” HK-47 said, “would it not be order to torture him in the process of our interrogation? After all, keeping up crew morale is very important.”

Rade gave HK a deadpan look. “Maybe later,” he said dismissively. “Now, where can we find this Krex?” he asked Carth.

“Yes,” said Bastila, “the sooner we talk to him, the sooner we can…”

“Statement: The sooner we can torture him!” HK gleefully interrupted Bastila.

Bastila glared at the rusty red droid. “The sooner we can leave,” Bastila finished icily. “Rade, you really have to do something about that droid,” Bastila said under-her-breath.

“Krex is in the gaming parlour,” said Mission, pointing the way. “Level four. You can’t miss him. He’s the one with the pile of Republic credit chips in front of him. My credit chips,” she added with a brooding scowl.

Leaving HK-47 behind with the rest of the crew, Rade and Bastila made their way to the gaming parlour. Krex was indeed easy to find with his telltale pile of Republic credits in stacked in front of him, but he made it a point to wave them over to join him.

“More newcomers!” he said gleefully, sounding a bit inebriated. “This day is just getting better and better!” He cleared away some empty shot glasses on the table, then motioned for them to sit. “It’s getting harder to find people to play with me,” he told them. “Been here so long that most folks are getting’ wise…erm, I mean, tired of me,” he corrected himself. “You play?” he asked Rade, appraising him with his eyes.

“When I get the chance,” said Rade. “Although, I have to admit, it’s been a while. I’m a bit rusty.”

Krex grinned knowingly. “And a bit modest, too, I reckon?” Nevertheless, he began to shuffle the cards. “And what about you, miss?” he said to Bastila. “Care for a quick hand?”

“No, thank you,” she said curtly.

Rade leaned in closer to Krex. “She doesn’t really approve of gambling,” he said in a hushed, conspiring tone.

Krex grunted and rubbed his scraggly beard. “Thought so,” he replied back to Rade. “Could see it in her eyes. And the way her face scrunched up like a kinrath pup when she walked in.” He snorted. “Must be a wife thing. My ex used to be the same way.”

Bastila’s mouth dropped, but before she could utter a word in reply, Rade lightly kicked her shin under the table. “Oh, sorry, dear,” he apologised. “Didn’t mean to do that. Just getting comfortable. Say, honey, why don’t you go and get us some drinks?” He looked at Krex. “What’s your poison, erm…?”

Krex grinned broadly. “Krex,” he introduced himself. “Gilt Krex. Run the Shadow Chaser out of Deralia.” He turned to Bastila. “Cassandran Brandy, if’n you please, ma’am. Expensive, I know, but everythin’s free for us ‘visitors’ here.” He leaned in closer to Rade. “The Jantessans like to keep us happy, you see. Less trouble that way.”

Rade nodded knowingly. “Rade Chano,” he introduced himself to Krex. “And…”

“Tila,” Bastila said, not knowing if the trader had heard of her real name through rumours.

“Nice to make your acquaintance. Seven’s wild?” Krex asked, tapping the deck on the table.

“Fine.” Rade nodded for Bastila to get them the drinks. Reluctantly, she got up and headed towards the bar. “So, how long have you been here?” Rade asked Krex.

“Couple of months.” Krex began to deal out the cards. “Twenty credit ante?”

“Sure, why not,” Rade replied, slouching in his chair to get more comfortable. He tossed a credit chip casually on the table. “Why so long?”

Krex sighed as he stacked the draw pile on the table and picked up his cards. “Well, you see, that’s a long story.”

“I’ve got time,” said Rade. “Berland tells me that sorting out quarantine and import permits could take a while.”

“Berland?!” Krex’s expression turned dark. “That durned chuff-sucking leech,” he growled. “He’s the reason why I’m here.”

“Oh?”

“Think’s he’s so smart,” Krex sneered as he looked through his cards. “That Sith is slimier than a Lylek dung-grubber.”

“You mean ‘former’ Sith, don’t you?”

“’Former’?” Krex snorted. “Is that what he told you?” He looked over his shoulders, checking to see who was in earshot. “Sith got apprentices, don’t they?”

Rade mimicked Krex, looking over his shoulder. Bastila was still at the bar. “So, I’ve been told,” he replied quietly.

“Well, he’s got one.” Krex paused, as he laid down a card and drew one from the pile.

“Keel?”

Krex raised an eyebrow. “A Prefect?” He snorted. “Nah. None of the Prefects got what it takes. He’s got another one. A boy. Well, suppose he’s a young man now. Seen Berland training ‘im down at the Haven once. That was pretty much the last time I was allowed down there.”

“The Haven? That’s where the Keepers live, right? The Jantessans actually allowed you to go there?”

“Sure,” Krex said. “Been trading here for years. Used to be pretty friendly with ‘em. You know about the Keepers?”

“Heard of them, yes,” Rade replied. “Can’t say I’ve seen many of them though.”

“Well, you wouldn’t, now, would you? Most of ‘em were wiped out when the Sith invaded. Damn shame that. Things were a lot better here then.” He grinned reminiscently. “Still a lot of rules, but folk were a lot more accommodatin’ when the Keepers were runnin’ things.”

“I thought the Prefects ran things,” Rade asked, throwing down one of his cards.

“Ah, that’s what you’re meant to think,” said Krex, laying a finger to his nose. “But that wasn’t the case. The Prefects upheld the laws, but the Keepers ran things. Kept everyone runnin’ on the same track, so to speak. Not all this arguin’ and strugglin’ for power like they do now.” He grimaced as he drew his next card.

“How come they don’t do that now?” Rade asked.

“Well, there was this massacre, see,” said Krex. “Those that were left were inexperienced. Novices, mostly. The others…,” He paused for a moment. “Well, the few that survived were sent for ‘re-education’ in that place they call the Foundery,” he said somewhat bitterly.

“You seem to know a lot about the Keepers,” Rade said casually.

“Well, I was friends with one,” Krex said. “Unusual, I know, but me and her just seemed to hit it off. Just friends though,” he clarified. “She was a bit of a rebel among the Keepers. Always curious about travellin’ to other planets. One day, she approached me while I was unloadin’ some carbonite filtration systems, and we got to talkin’ and well…before I knew it, we were sort of… well, friends. Think it got her in some trouble with her elders back then, being as I was an outlander and all, but she somehow managed to get out of it somehow! I’d tell her about the planets I visited, and she’d tell me the stories and lore of the Keepers…” His voice trailed off, and he started to frown as if he was remembering something unpleasant.

Rade noticed Bastila approaching. He hoped that Krex wouldn’t clam up when she arrived. “What happened to her? Your friend?” Rade asked softly. “Was she killed in the massacre?”

“Hmm? Oh, no, no. She wasn’t killed,” Krex said. “She…”

Bastila returned with the drinks and passed them out. She sat down next to Rade. “Don’t mind me,” she said to Krex, waving him on with her hand. “Please, continue.”

Krex gave her a suspicious sort of look. “Your turn,” he said to Rade.

Rade played his last card, but at the same time, he used a small amount of Force Persuasion in an attempt to keep the conversation flowing, even though Berland had said that Krex was resistant to any Force mind manipulation. “Twenty.”

Krex grinned. “So it is.” He played his last one. “Twenty for me as well. Looks like we’re at an impass.”

“Looks like it. Another hand?”

Krex nodded and began to shuffle the cards. Rade sighed slightly, and gave Bastila a defeatist glance.

“You know, you’re more subtle than Berland is,” Krex said unexpectedly. His eyes flicked over Rade, then Bastila. “But I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t delve any deeper into my mind. Gives me a headache.”

Bastila admonished Rade with her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Rade apologised to Krex. “I only meant to…”

“I know what you meant,” Krex said, dealing the cards. “You’re Jedi?”

Rade nodded.

Krex nodded as well, thinking. “You’re with the Twi’lek girl?”

Rade nodded.

“I didn’t cheat her,” he said. “Only I’ve been playin’ with this deck for so long, I know each and every card in it.” He grinned slightly. “Your friend was sayin’ that you’re looking for somethin’? A rare… Gem?”

“Yes,” Bastila said a bit too earnestly. “We’re looking for…

Rade stayed her by laying a hand on her shoulder. “Do you know where we can start looking for it?”

“I know,” said Krex. “Question is, will I tell you?” He paused, taking a moment to survey the cards he held. “More’s the question of what you plan to do with it if’n you find it?”

“We’re supposed to give it back to the Jantessans,” Rade said.

“Ah. Supposed. Interestin’ choice of words that.”

“Interesting, but apt,” replied Rade. “You have a better idea?”

Krex grinned. “Tell ‘ya what,” he began. “I’ll tell you what I told your friends. You get me out of here, and I’ll give you co-ordinates and a name. You seem like a capable sort. And if’n you’re worthy enough, you’ll find what you’re lookin’ for.”

“I can do that,” said Rade.

“Well, then,” said Krex. “Let’s finish our game and our drinks and blow this joint.”

~~~~~~~~

“Rade, how do you know that we can trust him?” said Carth, as he and the remainder of the crew of the Ebon Hawk boarded the ship to leave Jantessa.

“I don’t trust him,” said Rade. “But we have little choice. Keel’s a Prefect, and he’s got Zalbaar and Juhani as hostages.”

“I meant Krex,” said Carth.

“Oh. I trust him well enough,” said Rade. “He’ll hold up his end of the agreement.”

“Yeah, but how do you know he will? Once his ship clears Jantessan space he could just…” Carth paused. “Oh. It’s a Jedi thing, isn’t it?”

“Yup. But Krex has got another reason besides just a hatred of Berland for helping us,” he explained. Rade thought about Krex’s story about his Keeper friend. He had said she hadn’t been killed, but he hadn’t said what had happened to her. He wondered if she was one of the ones being held in the Foundery, and if Krex thought finding the Gem would somehow help her.

~~~~~~~~

The Ebon Hawk took off without incident, and left Jantessa, leaving Juhani and Zalbaar behind to investigate the Sith’s occupation.

“I can’t help feeling that something is wrong,” Bastila said to Rade as they passed through the shield barrier. “The ship…it doesn’t feel right. You think Berland has tagged it?”

“Would be surprised if he didn’t,” said Rade, peering over her shoulder at the sensors. “There. The Shadow Chaser. Hail her.”

Bastila did, and pretty soon, Gilt Krex’s gravelly voice sounded over the comm. “Thanks for your help, Jedi,” he said. “Feels good to be back in space!”

“Glad we could help each other out,” Rade said. “Now about those co-ordinates?”

Krex chuckled. “I’m sendin' them to you now. But we agreed to a name, too, didn’t we?”

“Yes, we did,” said Rade. “And from what my pilot tells me, you agreed to give him a name as well. The name of Berland’s apprentice.”

“So, I did. So I did,” Krex replied slowly. “But now that really isn’t fair, me givin’ you more than one name in exchange for only one pass. Tell ‘ya what. I’ll give you a first name of one and the last name of the other, but you decide which half you want of each. Deal?”

Carth gave Rade a sideways look. “Trust him, do you?” he scoffed.

Rade thought a moment. “Deal,” he said. “First name of the apprentice.”

“Deren,” Krex replied. “And the other name you want is Co’Vanni.” He chuckled. “That’s all I can give you. Like I said, if’n you’re worthy, you’ll find what you’re lookin’ for.”

And with that, the Shadow Chaser shot off into hyperspace.

“Let’s see those co-ordinates,” Rade said to Bastila.

She deftly tapped a few buttons and the planet they led to popped up on the Galaxy Map. “Degos V,” she said. “It’s a mining colony, just in the next system. We can make it there in a few hours.”

An alarm sounded from a panel in front of Carth. “Oh, great!” he sneered. “Damn stabiliser again!” He punched a few buttons and the alarm went off. “We’re going to have to get that thing fixed. Soon,” he added adamantly.

“Can we make it to Degos V?” Rade asked.

“Think so.”

“Good. We’ll do repairs there.” Rade stretched his hands over his head. “I’m getting some rest in the meantime.”

Rade shot a look at Bastila, hoping that she might join him after she finished plotting their course.

He sat down on the bunk in his dormitory. It had been a long day. He laid down, and closed his eyes, waiting for Bastila to come to him.

“Rade?” a female voice said softly.

Rade grinned, and opened his eyes to see… “Ithra?!”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:56 AM   #51
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Wow! What in the heck is Ithra doing on the Ebon Hawk?? You freakin did it this time Jasra, you ended it on a flippin cliffhanger. Now I want the next chapter, and I want it now! Ok well I guess as soon as possible anyway. Great job, excellent chapter!


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:00 PM   #52
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Congrats on your review from the Mach-mister. He really praised your writing Jasra. Keep up the great work!


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:30 PM   #53
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Chapter 10--part one

Rade sat bolt upright. “By the Force! Ithra, what are you doing on my ship!”

Ithra stood in the doorway, staring back at him with innocent violet eyes, and then she shrugged, not unlike a sulking child. “I wanted to come with you,” she said softly. “To help you find the Gem.”

Rade rolled his eyes, then sighed. “Does Berland know you’re here?”

She looked down at the floor. “No.”

“Great,” Rade said disparagingly. “No doubt he and Keel will add ‘kidnapping a Keeper’ to their list of trumped up charges.” He sighed, running a worried hand through his hair. “Just great,” he muttered.

He rose and moved towards her. “Stay here,” he ordered. “I’ll be right back.”

“But Rade, I have something that I need to tell y….”

“Stay. Here,” he repeated more firmly. He gave her a hard stare, then left for the cockpit.

“We’ve got a stowaway on board,” he said to Bastila and Carth.

“Oh?” Carth gave Rade a look over his shoulder. “You mean some poor quarantined ‘outlander’ actually managed to escape the Visitors’ Lounge?” He chuckled. “Good! Maybe we can learn something from them to get Juhani and Zalbaar out.”

“She’s not an outlander,” said Rade.

Bastila and Carth both turned to face him.

She?” Bastila asked, her eyes narrowing. “She who?”

“It’s….”

“Rade?” Ithra suddenly appeared behind Rade. “I really have to tell you something.”

“Oh, no!” Carth’s head slumped. “Just when we thought it was over….”

“What are you doing on board?!” Bastila asked her.

“Obviously not listening to what people tell her to do,” Rade grumbled. “I clearly remember telling you to stay put.”

Ithra folded her arms across her chest with resignation. “Yes, but…”

“What is it with you Jantessans and the word ’but’?” Carth snapped at her. “The dock is just a few metres that way, sir, BUT you can’t get there from here. Passes can be obtained from the office, sir, BUT it’s only open when and if we feel like it. There’s always a ‘but’ with you people, isn’t there?”

Ithra sighed. “I can see that I might have made a mistake in thinking you might trust me.”

“Trust you?” Rade said incredulously. “You make life miserable for us on the journey here, turn us in to the authorities when we arrive, and then stow away on our ship? And you think those actions warrant trust?”

“I didn’t turn you in to anybody!” Ithra blurted. “That was all Berland’s doing! I knew Prefect Keel wanted to….” She paused. “When I heard that he was holding Juhani and your Wookiee hostage, well.… That wasn’t part of the plan.”

“Plan?” Bastila’s brows knitted together in a scowl. “So, there was a plan, was there?”

“Yes, but…” She abruptly stopped herself, casting a glance in Carth’s direction. “Can we talk about this later,” she said, in a decidedly more calm voice. “There’s something I really have to…”

“No, we’ll talk about this now!” Bastila said adamantly, hands on her hips and sounding not unlike someone’s mother. “Ithra, your presence here affects more than just those of us on board this ship! It could jeopardise the lives of our companions we had to leave behind, not to mention the further reaching implications of….”

“Erm, hate to interrupt,” Carth said, as the proximity alarm began to sound. He nodded to the scanners. “But we’ve got company.”

“What is it?” Rade asked, craning his neck to see the sensors.

“Looks like a small party of rogue Mandalorian raiders heading straight for us,” Carth said. He studied the sensors for a moment. “They’re powering up weapons.” He hurriedly punched a few buttons. “I’m raising our shields. Bastila, now would be a good time for those hyperspace calculations.”

Bastila quickly took her position in the navigator’s seat. “I’m on it.”

Ithra rolled her eyes. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you about!” she said with exasperation. “Berland has sent them to destroy you!”

“Great,” said Rade, grabbing Ithra’s shoulders and moving her aside. “Thanks for the heads up.” He ran down the corridor shouting, “Canderous! We’ve got incoming! Man the starboard turret! I’ve got the port!”

Ithra watched as Carth diverted power to the shields, while Bastila called out the approach vectors of the incoming enemy ships to Rade and Canderous, then resumed her calculations.

“Can’t you just jump to hyperspace without calculations?” Ithra asked Carth.

“Huh? No,” Carth said, shaking off his momentary distraction. “Not unless we want to end up in the middle of a star or something. Bastila?”

“Give me a minute,” she snapped, her fingers tapping at lightning speed across the console.

“How does a hyperspace jump work?” Ithra asked.

“Look, Ithra, I really don’t have time to explain!” Carth barked. “Just…just find a seat somewhere and strap yourself in, will you?”

The ship lurched suddenly to the right as the fighters made their first strafing run, and Ithra snagged hold of the back of Carth’s chair to keep her balance.

“Then tell them I’m on board,” Ithra told him. “They won’t destroy us if they know I’m here.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that,” said Carth. “They’re Mandalorians, remember?”

Looking out the cockpit windows, Ithra was amazed at the speed of the fighters as they darted in and around the Ebon Hawk. One of the ships exploded, hit by either Rade or Canderous on the turret cannons, and the shower of sparks that followed reminded her of a blossoming Goldeneve, a native Jantessan flower. Exhilaration mixed with fear, and she felt her heart pounding in her chest like a bass drum. It was the most exciting event she had ever witnessed.

A second fighter exploded, quite close this time, and the concussion wave rocked the Ebon Hawk to the left this time. Ithra’s grip tightened on Carth’s seatback. “Are we winning?” she asked.

“Ithra! Shut up!” said Carth, as he made an evasive manoeuvre to avoid an oncoming fighter in his path.

“Sorry,” she said quietly, her knuckles whitening as she struggled to keep upright through the turbulence.

A third fighter was hit, spinning out of control directly towards the cockpit. Carth pulled back hard on the controls, and the Ebon Hawk lurched even more as it looped and dogded to avoid collision.

“Bastila?!” Carth shouted. “Where are those calculations?”

“Give me one more…” The Ebon Hawk was hit again, and this time sparks shot out of one of the panels.

Ithra screamed as the sparks peppered her. Tiny flames danced over the panel, and the cockpit began to fill with smoke.

“Got it!” Bastila said to Carth, as she hit a button on her console with finality. “Go!”

In a brief moment, the stars began to blur then disappear entirely. Everything was momentarily quiet, except for the hiss of the automated extinguisher putting out the panel fire and the hum of the life support systems filtering out the smoke from the cockpit.

Ithra coughed as the smoke in the air tickled her throat. “We won?” she asked.

“We escaped,” said Carth, giving her a look of disbelief.

“What’s the damage?” Rade said, storming into the cockpit and gently pushing Ithra aside.

“Well, we took some pretty bad hits,” said Carth. “We’ve got some damage to the sublight circuits, but I've managed to reroute them for the moment. Degos V isn’t far. We'll probably just make it, but if those raiders figure out where we’re going, they won’t be far behind.”

“Great.” Rade let out sigh, then turned to Ithra. “How did you find out that Berland had sent those ships to attack us?” he asked, grabbing hold of her upper arm and giving her a hard stare.

“I…I accessed the protocol droid in Prefect Keel’s office,” she said sheepishly. “It records everything he does. Berland planted a tracking device on your ship. Once he knew where you were going, he had planned to destroy you.” Rade gave her an incredulous look as he released her. “I was curious,” she replied to his silent query.

“What else did Prefect Keel have in mind for us?” Bastila asked, stepping away from her console and approaching Ithra.

Ithra bit her lip. “I’m not sure.”

“You mean, you don’t want to tell us,” Bastila corrected. “I can sense you’re withholding something.”

“It doesn’t really concern you,” Ithra said boldly. “It involves the Keepers, not the Jedi.”

Bastila and Rade both glared at her.

“Although, I can tell you if you don’t find the Gem, Juhani and Zalbaar will be…”

“Terminated?” Rade asked.

“Re-educated,” Ithra replied slowly, in a tone of voice that indicated their fate was worse than mere death. “Then sold,” she added quietly, as if that wasn’t the end of their misery. As Rade shook his head, Ithra said, “That’s why I had to warn you. What they are planning…it’s not right.” She looked down at the floor, and sadly shook her head. “It’s not the Keeper way.”

“No, it’s the Sith way,” Bastila concluded. “Ithra, when we find the Gem, would you be willing to testify against Berland? To expose him as a Sith to the Jedi Council?”

“My only concern is the fate of the Keepers,” said Ithra, casting her eyes to the floor. “I’ll help you find the Gem, but that’s all.”

“Well, at least we know where her loyalties lie,” Carth commented under-his-breath.

Rade frowned at Carth. “Ithra, does the name ‘Deren’ mean anything to you?” he asked her.

Ithra’s head snapped up, her eyes sparking with recognition. “Deren? He’s in charge of the Foundery at the Haven.”

“He’s a Keeper?”

Ithra shifted uncomfortably. “Not…exactly, no. He never made it through Assumption.” She paused, detecting the enquiring look on Revan’s face. “It’s a ceremony for novices,” she explained. “Deren is a few years older than me, but he wasn’t as particularly proficient in certain areas of study as I was. So, no, he’s not a Keeper. Only a novice. Still.”

Rade and Bastila exchanged looks. “Perfect apprentice material for a Sith like Berland then,” Rade said.

“Berland is not a Sith!” Ithra said defensively. “And Deren is not his apprentice!”

“He is,” Bastila said. “Krex told us.”

“Krex?” Ithra frowned. “I wouldn’t trust anything Krex had to say.”

“You know him?”

“Know of him,” Ithra replied. She looked like she was about to say more, but then she bit her lip and was silent for a moment. She looked at Rade askance. “What else did Krex tell you?”

“Besides the co-ordinates to Degos V, he gave us a starting point to start looking for the Gem,” said Rade. “A name. Co’Vanni.”

Ithra blanched.

“You know that name?”

Ithra stared at Rade for a moment. “It is a traitor’s name,” she said softly. Her eyes narrowed. “A name you should know well yourself,” she added.

“Really?” Bastila raised a brow in interest. “Then we may indeed be on the right track.”

The ship shuddered. “Yeah, well, let’s just get to Degos V first, and then we can worry about tracks,” said Carth, punching in a few buttons. “I’ve stabilised us as much as I can, but…” He looked at Rade. “Let’s just hope that this mining colony has a pretty good maintenance facility.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:39 AM   #54
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Wow Jasra! Great job. I like how Ithra has gone all innocent and nice now. For a moment I thought that she might have a crush on Rade. Perhaps she does and you just haven't written it yet eh? Anyway, the way you described her and the way I picture her in my mind, well, let's just say I might make a pass at her if I were in the story. Keep up the great writing!


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:20 PM   #55
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This is wonderful. The only bad thing is that I have to wait for another chapter.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 03-23-2006, 09:53 PM   #56
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Chapter 10--part two

Degos V was sparsely populated. Its surface was mainly rainforest jungle, and the settlements that dotted the few islands of dry land were small mining outposts, where the inhabitants eked out a living mining veins of cortosis ore or scouring the various caverns in search of rare crystals.

The Ebon Hawk limped into the only major port on the planet, aptly called Oasis. The port wasn’t glamorous, but at first glance it seemed to be fairly ordered, civilised, and for the most part operational. There were several freighters docked in the open air landing bays, though some of them appeared to be mercenary or pirate vessels rather than legitimate cargo carriers.

But that wasn’t unusual, since Degos V wasn’t part of the Republic. Instead it was an independent planet, run by a loosely organised consortium of Hutts, Humans, and Rodians. Not an unfriendly place, but a place where it was definitely wise for one to keep their wits about them and watch their back.

“Oh. Lovely,” Bastila commented on the starkly functional surroundings, as she followed Rade and Carth down the ramp and into the port.

“I don’t really care if it’s ‘lovely’ or not,” said Carth. “Just as long as it has the repair facilities and parts that we need.”

“Well, let’s go check in with the port authority,” Rade said to Carth. “Best way to find out about the facilities and any local ‘tourist attractions.’ Bastila, you stay here with our ‘guest,’” he said, nodding to Ithra who was just behind her. “When we get back, we’ll decide what to do next.”

Bastila gave him a resigned smile as she watched them leave, obviously unhappy about being assigned ‘babysitting’ duty for the moment.

Overwhelmed by her new surroundings, Ithra hovered closely behind Bastila, flanked from behind by Mission, Jolee, Canderous, and HK-47. “What is that?” she whispered to Mission, as she discreetly pointed to a Rodian arguing with one of the dock workers just a few metres away.

That is a bug-eyed Rodian,” Mission replied sourly. “One of the most untrustworthy sentient species in the Galaxy. Bet that one is a bounty hunter,” she added.

“How can you tell?” asked Ithra.

“Well, he’s holding a modified hold out blaster in his hand for one. And looks like he’s arguing about money. Bounty hunters are always arguing about money.”

“So, he’s dangerous?”

“Dangerous? Him?” Mission snorted. “Nah. Well, not to us anyway,” she retracted. “Bounty hunters are only dangerous if you’re their target. Or, if you interfere with cashing in their bounty,” she added in retrospect. “Or if you cross them. Or look at them funny. Or accidentally offend them. Or…”

“That’s enough, Mission,” Bastila warned. “I’m sure we could all do without hearing the sordid details on the consequences of breaching the norms of lower-end societal etiquette.”

“Hey!” Mission frowned. “Who are you calling ‘lower end?’”

Bastila heaved a sigh.

Ithra shifted uncomfortably. “Maybe… we should wait inside the ship until Rade and Carth get back,” Ithra said rather apprehensively to Bastila. “It feels… dangerous here. Can’t you feel it?”

“Nonsense,” Bastila scoffed. “We’re perfectly safe right here. You’re standing inbetween two Jedi, a Mandalorian and an assault droid. I can assure you, you’re not even remotely in ‘danger.’”

Just then, the Rodian used his modified hold-out blaster to blast a hole into the chest of the dock worker he’d been arguing with. For a brief moment, everyone’s attention was diverted to the spectacle, but then just as quickly, they went about their business as if nothing unusual had taken place.

Ithra stared wide-eyed at the wisps of smoke rising from the now deceased dock worker, while the Rodian holstered his weapon and nonchalantly walked away. Slowly, she turned her head towards to the once over-confident Bastila.

“Okay, so maybe Bastila was wrong,” Canderous said lightly, breaking the silence.

Bastila gave Canderous an icy stare, but before she could launch a retort, Rade and Carth came out of the port authority office, heading towards them.

“Right, do you want the good news or the bad news?” Rade asked Bastila.

Bastila sighed. “Let’s hear the good news.”

“The good news is that we have a lead on the Gem. Someone with the name Co’Vanni runs a cantina not far from here.”

“And the bad news?” Jolee asked.

“The bad news is that their maintenance facility isn’t as well equipped as we had hoped,” said Carth. “We may have some trouble getting parts. And, they don’t seem to like Republic credits here too much.”

“Typical,” Bastila sighed. “Never anything simple or easy. So, what’s the plan?”

“Well, I think we should split up,” said Rade. “You, Ithra and I will check out the lead at the cantina. Carth, Mission, Jolee and Canderous can scrounge for parts and fix the ship.”

“Aw! Why do I always get the most ‘unfun’ jobs?” Mission complained. “Can’t I go with you? Please? You’ll need someone to watch your back.” she added persuasively.

Rade considered this for a moment. “You’re right, Mission. Canderous, you come with us.”

“What?” Mission stomped her foot. “But that’s not fair!”

“Nope, but that’s how it is, kid,” said Jolee, patting her reassuringly on the shoulder. “I’m sure we’ll find something fun for you to do.”

“Fixing engines.” Mission scowled. “Yeah, sounds like real ‘fun’ to me.”

“Query: What about me, Master?” HK said pleadingly. “I am undeniably more proficient than any meatbag with a blaster. And you did imply a promise when you said ‘maybe later’ in response to my previous query about torturing the meatbag trader Krex on Jantessa.”

Rade sighed. “Okay, fine. You can come, too.”

Mission folded her arms, and stormed back into the ship in a huff. “Takes a stupid droid and a brainless Mandalorian, but not me…” her voice trailed off.

“Appreciative Reply: Oh, thank you, Master!” said HK. “I am so looking forward to finally demonstrating my valuable combat skills and unique abilities!”

“But only if I ask you to, right?” Rade clarified.

“Statement: But of course, Master! I exist only to serve you.”

Bastila looked at Rade askance. “Are you sure about taking HK?” she whispered.

Rade shrugged. “Figure if we keep an eye on him, we can keep him out of trouble,” he replied quietly. “I’m still not sure what Berland did to him, remember?”

“Well, I suppose he does have his uses,” Bastila nodded. “All right, then,” she said to everyone. “Let’s get moving.”


~~~~~~~~~

The main thoroughfare of Oasis was just like any found in other port cities in the Galaxy--shops and services, warehouses, restaurants, all situated within easy walking distance between clusters of lodging complexes. But the side streets were of a decidedly more dangerous flavour.

Seedy cantinas, shady shops, gambling parlours, and brothels lined both sides of the street, with most all of them having brightly lit, albeit poorly maintained, neon signs above their doors in an attempt to attract customers to their wares and services within. Among the normal clientele that often frequented such areas, menacing-looking thugs asserted their way through the people-lined walkways, avoiding small heaps of rubbish that were slowly being collected by shabby-looking maintenance droids.

As there was not really any central government on Oasis, the thugs were employed by the various factions in charge to do the job that security guards or police officials would have normally done on a civilised planet, such as Coruscant. This particular section of Oasis was under the control of Hedra the Hutt, as indicated by green armbands they wore.

“The Miscreant Miner?” Bastila’s brows knitted together with deep suspicion as the group approached the cantina the man at the port had told Rade they might find the person called Co’Vanni. “Are you sure this is the right place?”

Located midway in the street, one half of the Miscreant Miner’s lighted sign flickered dangerously as if in any second it would short out. There were two windows on either side of the main entrance, though it was difficult to tell if they were just dirty or had been purposefully frosted to obscure the view within. A small board on the wall listed the specials of the day, although this, too, was a bit grungy and badly scratched making it difficult to read from any distance.

Rade looked up at the sign above the cantina’s door. “Yup. That’s the place.”

“It looks… treacherous,” Ithra commented, making sure she was safely between Bastila and Canderous. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. “And dirty. Just like all of these places.”

“Ithra, you’ll have to accept the fact that not everyone in the Galaxy is as fastidious as the Jantessans are,” Rade said to her. “Besides, a little dirt never hurt anyone, and the man at the port said that this was actually one of the nicer cantinas.”

As if on cue, a Rodian and a Human male were suddenly and forcibly ejected from the front door of the cantina by a pair of large hands, hurling the two bodies through the air directly past Rade where they came to land several metres away in the middle of small pile of rubbish.

“And stay out!” said a deep, rumbling voice, followed by the clapping together of hands as they were dusted off. Then the door slammed shut.

The ousted pair staggered to their feet, looked first at the door, then at each other, and then proceeded with their fisticuffs that had obviously caused them to be thrown out of the establishment in the first place. Again, people paid the pair’s activities with little notice, as if this sort of unruly behaviour was the norm rather than the exception.

“Nice?” Ithra protested quietly. “You call that nice?”

“Suppostion: The meatbags could have been maimed or killed before being thrown out,” HK-47 suggested. “That’s what I would have done.”

“Of course that’s what you would have done,” Canderous said to the droid. “Me? I would have just roughed them up a bit more.” He shrugged. “Maybe to just above consciousness,” he continued. “Just to get my point across.”

“Beasts, the pair of you,” Bastila murmured.

“See?” Rade said demonstratively to Ithra. “Nice.”

Ithra shot him a cold look.

“We’ll be fine,” Bastila said, prodding Ithra forward.

“Sure we will,” Rade agreed, as he opened the door to the establishment. “Just as long as we don’t start any fights,” he added under his breath.

The interior of the cantina was a surprising difference from what they had seen on the outside. The place was busy with customers, miners mostly, but there were some families with children as well. The walls were decorated in neutral colours, a mixture of beiges, greys, and light browns, punctuated with a decorative line of black midway up the wall, and all anchored together with a tastefully patterned, fitted carpet covering the floor. Dining tables were laid out in orderly rows in front of them, while a tidy, well-stocked bar was situated at the far end of the large room. Towards the back left, appeared to be the kitchen as a pair of swinging doors soon parted and a female Twi’lek wearing a white apron appeared, balancing a tray that held plates of steaming, fragrant food which she carried over to one of the tables. On the other side of the room, another swinging door, which, from the low din of conversation he could hear emanating from behind it, Rade surmised might lead to a gaming den.

The group was standing in a section partitioned off to mark a reception area, and it was here that Rade came face to chest with the owner of the gruff voice and the large hands that had ejected the previous patrons. He was extremely large for human, as big as a Wookiee, in fact, and with a dark unilateral brow just as hairy. But he was neatly dressed--his clothing plain, but freshly pressed, and with a small pink flower tucked in his lapel.

“Good evening, sir,” the man addressed Rade in a slow and deliberate baritone voice. “My name is Horace. Four?”

“Pardon?” asked Rade.

“The number of your party, sir?” Horace asked. “I need to know if any more guests are expected to join you, so that I may seat your party appropriately.”

“Oh,” Rade said, slightly taken aback at the sudden formality of the situation. “Erm…yes. Four. Plus a droid.”

Horace picked up four data cards from a holder attached to the wall--menus apparently--then he pulled out some sticky-backed numbered chits from another holder. “I’m sorry, but I will need to ask your party to check all weapons, sir.”

“Check our weapons?” Canderous asked suspiciously.

“Why, yes, sir,” said the man. “This is a family establishment. All weapons are kept securely in our armoury, to ensure the safety of our patrons and enhance their dining experience.” He pointed to a sign hanging on the wall.

Welcome to the Miscreant Miner.
No weapons. No swearing. No spitting. No fighting.
Younglings are allowed in the restaurant section only.
Patrons found to be disruptive to other customers
will be forcibly ejected from the premises
at the management's discretion.

Rade raised a curious eyebrow. From the scene they had witnessed outside, the ‘forcibly ejected’ part was rigidly enforced by Horace. Rade looked askance at Bastila, who shrugged. “Alright…” Rade took out his lightsabre and handed it to Horace, then beckoned with his hand for Canderous and Bastila to do the same. “You, too, HK,” he said to the droid. “Give me your blaster.”

“Query: But,Master, how will I be able to perform my primary duty of protecting you when I am disarmed?”

Rade looked over the gigantic figure of Horace in front of him. “I think we’ll manage,” he said, taking the droid’s blaster and adding it to the rest of the cache. “They seem to have adequate security.”

Horace carefully tagged each weapon with a numbered chit, then handed them the corresponding stubs. “Thank you,” he said politely. He pressed a button on the wall, and a droid with a wide mesh basket soon appeared to carry their weapons away to the armoury.

“Now, if you will please follow me, sir, I will show you to your table,” Horace said.

He led them to an empty table for six in the middle of the crowded dining area, where they were seated and given their menus.

“Your server will be with you momentarily,” Horace said. “If you require anything else, please do not hesitate to ask.”

“Oh, there is one thing,” said Rade, as he nonchalantly perused the menu. “Is it possible to speak with the owner of this establishment?”

“The owner, sir?”

“This is such a nice place. I just wondered if it might be possible to pay him a compliment in person.”

Even though Horace normally spoke very slowly, he seemed to take a little longer than necessary to reply. “I will see what I can do, sir.”

Horace summoned a droid to man the entrance, and then disappeared through the double doors that led to the gaming area.

“He’s hiding something,” Bastila said.

“I know,” said Rade. “But let’s just see what happens.”

“This is nice,” Ithra said out of the blue, as she looked at her menu.

“What’s nice?” Bastila asked, surprised to hear something positive from the girl.

“The food,” Ithra said. “Roast rump of Nerf, smothered in a spicy granita gravy, served with seasonal vegetables and a fresh herb salad,” she read. “Or, how about this. A one-kilo premium Shaak steak, grilled to order, served with whipped manas root topped with grated Naboo cheese, and a side of buttered spargle tips. Or, three-cheese, wild Cira and mushroom casserole, served with a side of buttered seasonal vegetables and freshly baked whole grain flatbread. Or….”

“We can all read, you know,” Canderous said dryly.

“And they even have desserts!” Ithra chimed, totally oblivious to the Mandalorian’s comment.

“Great,” said Rade. “But let’s remember that they don’t like Republic credits,” he warned. “We might not be able to….”

“But it says here that they take any currency,” Ithra hurriedly pointed out on the bottom of the menu. “And I’m starving,” she added.

“Let’s keep in mind that we’re here primarily to find a lead on your Gem,” Bastila reminded Ithra. “Not to stuff ourselves with rich sauces and over-indulgent sweets. Besides, we have food on the ship.”

Ithra’s eyes solidly met Bastila’s as they snapped up from her menu. “Not unless you restocked on Jantessa you don’t,” she said frankly. “And I don’t relish eating Zorgang nuts for the remainder of the journey.”

“I don’t relish you being on the journey in the first place,” Bastila retorted.

Rade held up his hand to stop their bickering. “If they take Republic credits, I don’t see any harm in ordering some food,” he said. “Besides, it might lessen any suspicions as to the purpose of our visit.”

As they waited for Horace to return, a server came over and took their orders, including Bastila’s who, after all her objections, ended up ordering the wild Cira and mushroom casserole. Just as their meal arrived, Horace returned.

“My apologies, sir,” he said to Rade. “But I have been informed that the owner is away for the moment. Perhaps if you leave your contact information with me, they can contact you upon their return.”

Rade exchanged looks with Bastila. “Any idea on where they went?”

“I’m sorry, sir. I’m not at liberty to say.”

“When will they return?” Bastila asked.

“I’m sorry, madam. I’m afraid I couldn’t say.”

Ithra put down her fork, then swallowed. She looked at Rade and Bastila, then frowned at them both. Without warning, her eyes turned suddenly black, and Horace clutched his temple as if in pain. Then, just as quickly as they had turned, Ithra’s eyes returned to their normal shade of violet.

Before Rade or Bastila could say anything, Ithra, in a thoroughly innocent sounding voice, asked, “Is something wrong, Horace?”

Horace rubbed his temple. “Just a sudden pain, miss,” he said. “Unusual, but it has passed.” He bowed his head slightly, and excused himself, returning to his station at the door.

“Ithra!” Bastila hissed at her. “What did you just do?”

“What do you think I did?” Ithra casually replied, picking up her fork to continue her meal. “You wanted to know where the owner is. He wasn’t going to tell you. So, I pried it from him.”

Rade bent in closer to her. “You ripped the information from his mind?” he whispered crossly to her. “Just like that?”

Her mouth full, Ithra nodded, then swallowed. “I don’t see what the problem is,” she said, shrugging. She took a drink of milk from her glass. “It was easy, and it obviously wasn’t that painful for him.”

“Ithra, that’s not the point!” Bastila said. “You can’t just go about ripping stuff from people’s minds, when and if you feel like it!”

“Well, how else were we supposed to find out?” Ithra gave the pair of them a questioning look.

“We ask someone else,” Rade told her. “Honestly, Ithra, you’re going to get yourself into some serious trouble if you keep doing that!”

“Fine,” she said belligerently. “I won’t do it anymore.” She took another few forkfuls of food before noticing that everyone was staring at her. “What?”

“So?” Rade asked bluntly. “Where are they?”

Ithra’s jaw set. “Oh. I see. So, it’s not alright for me to ‘seek’ someone in your presence, but it’s alright for me to tell you what I found afterwards.” She rolled her eyes. “Typical Jedi duplicity.”

Rade rested his head in his hands in a gesture of frustration. “Ithra…”

“I’ll tell you,” she said. “But only after I’ve had dessert.”

~~~~~~~

“Mine 23, Gretackmuth settlement,” Rade repeated to the transport driver, as he held the door open for Ithra and Bastila to climb inside the all-terrain crawler.

“Gretackmuth, eh?” The grey-haired driver gave Rade a toothless grin. “Popular place today.”

“Oh? How so?”

“Just back from taking a group of Mandy mercs there,” the driver replied, scratching his white stubbly chin. “Suppose they’re there to assist either the miners or Hedra. You, erm, miners, mercs, or, erm…” he peered into the back of the transport, watching Ithra and Bastila as they seated themselves. “…merchants?”

Rade gave a look at his group—a Mandalorian, a heavily armed droid, and two beautiful women. He could tell where the old man’s thoughts were heading. “Erm…it’s not what you think….”

The old man chortled. “Don’t worry. I’m very discreet. Just don’t let Hedra know what you’re up to. He’s all for free enterprise, as long as he gets a slice of the profits. And lovelies like those will bring in some hefty profits, eh?” He gave Rade a friendly nudge in the side.

“Erm…yeah.”

Canderous chuckled at Rade, before he stepped aboard the transport behind HK.

“Well, let’s get going then,” Rade said quickly to the driver, and he, too, stepped aboard and closed the door behind him.

“Lovelies and merchants, huh?” Canderous said quietly.

“What was that?” Bastila asked.

“Nothing,” Rade said quickly. “Just something the driver was rambling on about.” He gave a guarded glance in Canderous’ direction, to which the Mandalorian responded with a grin and another small chuckle.

It was a thirty minute ride over a rough road to Gretackmuth, a small settlement run by Hedra the Hutt. A small place, the settlement consisted of about forty miners, some with families; some mercenary ‘enforcers’ that kept the miners in check; and some ‘sponsored services’ in the way of a small shop and a cantina, set up by Hedra to get as much profit as possible from the miner's finds.

The transport pulled up in front of the settlement shop. “Mine 23 is that way,” said the driver, pointing towards a path that led into the jungle at the outskirts of the settlement. “Ask around for Aru. He’s the foreman around here. He’ll get you and your ‘lovelies’ settled in no time at all.” He winked at Rade, before loading up some miners into the transport for the journey back to Oasis.

As the transport pulled away, Bastila raised an eyebrow. “Lovelies? Rade, is there something you forgot to tell me?”

Rade felt himself beginning to flush, and it took all of his willpower to stop himself from blushing outright. “Erm…let’s get moving,” he said, starting for the path.

“Wait a minute,” Ithra said. “I’m not tromping around in some filthy, dirty, dark hole in the ground. I’m staying right here.”

“Not that I’m looking forward to it either, but you said that’s where we’d find Co’Vanni,” said Bastila. “Mine 23, Gretackmuth settlement. So that’s where we’re going.”

“No, I said that’s what Horace was thinking in his head when you asked him about the whereabouts of…you-know-who,” said Ithra, still unwilling to say the name of the Jantessan traitor. “I don’t know that they are actually there.”

“Well, we’ll find out soon enough,” said Rade. “Now, come on.”

“Mine 23, did you say?” asked one of the miners that was hanging around the entrance to the shop. “There was some Mandys asking about Mine 23 just an hour ago. And I’ll tell you what I told them. Keep your weapons charged. You’re gonna need ‘em.. Mine’s infested with mynocks. Hundreds of ‘em. If it were up to me, I’d blast the damn thing shut, but Hedra thinks that if we did that, they’d just move into the other shafts. Shame, too. Lots of good crystals in there.”

“Mynocks?” Ithra gave a questioning look at Bastila.

“Silcon-based creatures that feed off of energy,” said Bastila. “They can live in anaerobic conditions. They’re probably attracted by the crystals.”

“And those who go after them,” added Rade. “Looks like you’ll get your chance to kill something after all, HK.”

“Statement: Warming blasters, Master,” HK-47 said, sounding almost gleeful. “Although they are not quite the type of meatbags I was looking forward to slaughtering, mynocks will suffice for the moment. This should be fun, Master!”

“Mynocks ain’t fun,” said the miner, seizing the opportunity to embellish Bastila’s rather bland description. “They suck the very life outta ‘ya,” he continued, looking directly at Ithra. “Huge sucker-like mouths. Flapping around with those big leathery wings. Ready to swoop down on you in an instant. Bam!” Ithra jumped, as the man suddenly clapped his hands together for emphasis. “Just like that!” And when they’ve caught ‘ya, they scre-ee-ech to bring the rest of their pack right to ‘ya! Screech so loud ya’d think yer eardrums were gonna pop!”

“And I suppose you know all this because you survived a personal encounter with one?” Bastila said flatly.

“Erm…well, no,” said the miner, slightly deflated by Bastila’s remark. “But, I’ve heard ‘em screech. And, I’ve heard the screams of their victims, echoing through the mine. ‘Course, I was standing outside at the time….”

“Right.” Bastila gave Ithra a challenging look. “Why don’t you ‘seek’ him and see if he’s telling the truth, hmm?”

“I don’t have to,” said Ithra. “I can feel that he believes he is.” She frowned slightly. “Can’t you?”

“I can feel that he’s trying to scare you into staying here for quite a different reason than your safety,” said Bastila. She looked at Rade. “Lovelies? Wasn’t that the word the driver used?”

Ithra frowned slightly as she used the Force to probe deeper, finally sensing the miner’s true intentions as Bastila had said they were. “Oh. I get it,” she said to Bastila, although somewhat embarrassed to admit she’d been fooled by the miner so easily. “I’m coming.”

The path through the jungle was well travelled, especially for a mine that was reported to be infested with mynocks. But as they approached the entrance, Ithra paused.

“There’s death in there,” she said, blanching as she felt the vibrations emanating from the cave. “Recent death.”

Just then, a blood-curdling scream, almost too primal to be human, echoed from the mine’s entrance.

“C’mon!” said Rade, and he, Canderous and HK boldly charged forward into the darkness.

Bastila followed them, but paused just inside, waiting for Ithra to follow. “What’s the matter?”

“But…it’s dark!”

“Ithra, you’re a Force adept. Use the Force to sense your surroundings!”

“I…I can’t,” Ithra said. “It goes against the Keeper’s Mandate. I’m not allowed.”

Bastila rolled her eyes, frustrated at the Jantessan’s ideals of not using the Force in the same way as the Jedi. She flicked on her lightsabre. “This will give us enough light to see. Now, come on. Hurry!”

Using the Force, Bastila felt her way through the twisting passages towards Rade, keeping a close tab on Ithra lagging behind her. Quite suddenly, she heard the sounds of multiple blasters firing mixed with the distinct but faint hiss of a lightsabre slicing through flesh, followed by a loud, communal screeching and the tinny voice of HK shouting, “Master! Behind you!” and more blaster fire.

“Ithra! Hurry up!” Bastila shouted urgently. “They’re in trouble!”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:07 PM   #57
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Another jedi-tacular update, keep it up!
>_>
<_<
But I think it's spelled 'Bastilla', not 'Bastila'.


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Old 03-23-2006, 11:13 PM   #58
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Yet another great chapter, Jas! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 03-24-2006, 01:26 AM   #59
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Another great Chapter. Bastila is right, Bastilla isn't.
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Old 03-24-2006, 02:49 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallucination
Another jedi-tacular update, keep it up!
>_>
<_<
But I think it's spelled 'Bastilla', not 'Bastila'.
You know, Hallucination, I always thought her name had double 'els' in it, too... but then I went to play the game again and, well, Pottsie's right. There's only one! (But I still find I want to spell it with two....)

And thanks for all the compliments, everyone! Glad to know that people haven't lost interest yet.


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:55 AM   #61
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GREAT job Jasra! Your best chapter yet! Pretty lengthy as well. I hope you write another one in say.. a week or so? Keep it up girl! Ithra is either really innocent, or playing along at the behest of the Prefect. Either way she is hot.


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 03-26-2006, 11:37 PM   #62
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Long one! But still good.
You're really very good at group dynamics (party banter) Jasra.
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:13 AM   #63
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Yay! 1,000 views for Jasra! Here is your party!




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Old 03-30-2006, 02:43 AM   #64
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i absolutely CANNOT BELIEVE I MISSED THIS!!! this is one hell of a fic, Jasra, you have planned your story VERY well and i really like the long chapters. not many people can offer that, you know (especially not me ). I really like the way you portray the among-party-chatting and the behind-the-scenes stuff not known to Rade and Co. though, the HK bit was a little...different, i can say. he doesnt say anything like "disappointed reply", the starting word is always a single word. so if you want to make him reply with a yes, then he says "Affirmation:" for 'disappointed reply', you could make it "Disappointment:". try to make it one word. Other than that, you have done excellently, im definitly keeping an eye on this .


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Old 03-30-2006, 02:13 PM   #65
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I love the colorful descriptions and action sequences. Keep it up!


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 03-30-2006, 08:20 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC 1162
i absolutely CANNOT BELIEVE I MISSED THIS!!! this is one hell of a fic, Jasra, you have planned your story VERY well and i really like the long chapters. not many people can offer that, you know (especially not me ). I really like the way you portray the among-party-chatting and the behind-the-scenes stuff not known to Rade and Co. though, the HK bit was a little...different, i can say. he doesnt say anything like "disappointed reply", the starting word is always a single word. so if you want to make him reply with a yes, then he says "Affirmation:" for 'disappointed reply', you could make it "Disappointment:". try to make it one word. Other than that, you have done excellently, im definitly keeping an eye on this .
Thanks for the kind words and advice, RC! HK's dialogue has always been a bit difficult for me to write. I'll keep in mind the single word start up's though. Also, any suggestions as to what he says during a battle scene? Could use a bit of help from someone who knows his character like you seem to. PM me, if you have anything you'd like to see him say in future.

And, yes, people, I am working on the next chapter, but it's been slow going of late. I've got too many irons in the fire at the moment, but I'll try to have something new by Monday.


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:15 PM   #67
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^'Initiating assassination protocols.'


Let's kill ourselves.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:18 AM   #68
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i PM'ed all the things i could find to ya, Jasra, hope they help. and i added ya to me buddy list too along wit Renegade Puma


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Old 03-31-2006, 01:24 PM   #69
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Thanks a lot, Hallucination! I'll use that one for sure.

And thanks to you, too, RC. I'll be sure to use your suggestions too! (Might even go back an edit what I've already written as well.)


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:17 PM   #70
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youre welcome, Jasra. [HK]Statement: The Master says that you had better give us a new chapter soon. [/HK]


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Old 04-14-2006, 07:28 AM   #71
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Hey Jasra! What gives? And I thought I was taking a long break with my two week hiatus. But you are taking even longer! Haven't heard from you in awhile? You still alive and well??? Give us a new chapter soon!


Some other really awesome Fanfics: Hidden shades of grey By JasraLantill, The Adventures of Jolee Bindo By Jae Onasi[/size]
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Old 04-14-2006, 07:41 AM   #72
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look whos talking
but i agree with him anyway,


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Old 04-30-2006, 09:53 AM   #73
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Chapter 11--part 1

Sorry I've taken so long to update. Between Darth RealLife and the RPs I'm in, I haven't had much time to dedicate to writing my fic. But, that said, I've done a fair amount this time, so... enjoy.

_________________________________


Back on the Ebon Hawk, Mission was spinning herself around and around in the navigator’s chair in the cockpit, bored.

“Mission, I know you’re bored, but you know that’s annoying, right?” Carth asked her while he was bent under one of the panels, examining the circuits.

“Yup,” she replied, and continued to spin in the chair.

Carth just sighed, and then continued working.

“Why did Ithra get to go with Rade anyway?” Mission complained after a moment. “It’s not like she’s going to be a lot of help. She doesn’t have a microgram of street smarts.”

“Well, it was Rade’s decision, not mine,” Carth grunted, as he tugged on a handful of wires. “Besides, I don’t think he took her along… for… her…” He gave a final and mighty pull and the panel and attached wires finally broke free, sending him backwards to the floor. “…street smarts.” He sighed as he looked at the panel and its fused chips. “Sure hope we can find a replacement for this.” He looked at Mission. “So, Bored One, care to take a walk to the local parts shop?”

Mission brightened. “You mean, you trust me find the parts for the ship by myself?”

“No, I just thought you might like to go with me,” Carth said, dashing her hopes. “Either that or you can stay here and help Jolee finish cleaning the…”

“Okay, okay,” Mission interrupted him. “Enough of the cleaning regimen. Let’s go.”

Leaving Jolee behind, Carth and Mission headed off into Oasis to find the parts that they needed to repair the Ebon Hawk.

“Figure we need a new sub-light control module and to replace a few of the SL power relays in the engine to get us going again,” Carth said to Mission as they walked through the space port. “Oh, and while we’re here, we should see about changing out that dodgy stabiliser, too. That thing’s worrying me.”

“Whatever.”

“Sorry, Mission,” Carth said, noticing that his young friend didn’t seem that interested. “Sometimes you’ve got to do things that you don’t want to do. That’s just life.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.”

Carth sighed. “When we get back, I’ll ask Jolee if he wouldn’t mind going with you to pick up some more supplies. That way, you’ll get to see what’s out there, okay?”

Mission merely shrugged.

They walked a bit in silence, then Carth said, “You miss Zalbaar, don’t you.”

“Yeah,” Mission said quietly. “I mean, this is the first time we’ve ever been apart. Well, besides the time when he got kidnapped by those Gamorreans on Taris and you and Rade helped me get him back. But at least that was exciting enough to keep my mind occupied, you know?”

“I know.” Carth stopped in front of a sign. “Well, this looks promising. Zug’s Parts Emporium.”

“And Service,” Mission said, pointing out the hand scrawled words underneath the printed ones. Mission gave Carth a dubious look. “Doesn’t look like much from the outside. You sure you want to go in?”

“Can't hurt to have a look.” He held open the door for her. “After you. You’re the one with the street smarts. Let’s see if you can get us a good deal if they have what we need.”

They walked in. The front of the shop was only a long countertop and some shelves filled with containers of bolts and the odd droid part, but following the corridor to the back, the two found themselves in a large hanger, complete with ships being repaired and a large inventory of various parts.

At the far side, there was a woman arguing with a hovering Toydarian, quite possibly the shop owner.

“Oh, no,” Mission cringed. “A Toydarian. No wonder they have lots of parts in stock. Toydarians got a reputation for being…well, it’s really hard to get a bargain with them.”

“Think the word you’re looking for is ‘shrewd,’” Carth said. “C’mon. Let’s see if he’s in the mood to accept Republic credits.”

As they moved across the hanger, taking care to avoid the repair droids and Nemoidian mechanics working on some ships in the various bays, they began to overhear the conversation taking place between the owner and his obviously disgruntled customer.

“What do you mean you don’t have one in stock?” the woman said angrily to the Toydarian, as she waved her hand at the rows of parts and equipment standing on the shelves in the hanger. “Zug, you could build a brand new ship with all the stuff in here!”

“The hyperdrive needs a new transient-phase converter,” Zug said. “That ship you acquired is old. And old Y-class parts are hard to come by. Unless….” The corners of his beak like mouth upturned in a wry grin. “You want to replace the entire drive? But that will cost more,” he added, greedily rubbing two of his fingers together.

The woman’s eyes narrowed. “How much more?” she said, between clenched teeth.

“Ten thousand.”

“Ten thousand!” the woman shouted. “Are you insane? I could practically buy a new ship for ten thousand!”

Zug grinned. “Not on this planet,” he said, adding a sinister chuckle.

The woman sighed. “Replacing the entire drive…how long will that take you?”

Zug took a moment to consider. “Two weeks.”

“Two weeks? I could do it myself in less than two weeks! I need to get off this rock today!”

Carth and Mission had been standing behind the woman, patiently waiting for their turn to talk to Zug. But Carth being Carth couldn’t just let things be.

“Problem?” he asked the woman. “Maybe I can help?”

Up until now, the woman had had her back turned to him, her only discernable feature a single braid of dark glossy hair hanging down the back of her jacket. Now she turned, and Carth had to do a double-take. She was strikingly beautiful. Slim build, high arched brows, a flawless pale cream complexion, full rosy lips, and eyes of the deepest shade of violet-blue.

The woman quickly flicked her eyes over Carth and Mission. “Help? Not unless you happen to have a transient-phase converter for a class three Y-class hyperdrive you want to sell.”

Carth suddenly found himself at a loss for words. “Erm….”

“A Y-class drive?” Mission’s eyebrow’s raised. “Well, it just so happens that we were looking for some Y-class parts ourselves.”

“Mission…,” Carth said in a cautionary tone.

“Hey, you said you wanted a good deal, now leave it to me,” she whispered back to him. “So, maybe we could make a deal.”

“No one makes ‘deals’ in my shop but me!” Zug interrupted.

The woman turned and glared at the flapping Toydarian, then turned back to Carth and Mission. “What sort of deal?”

“Well, we need a stabliser, and a sub-light control module, and a few SL-power relays,” Mission said. She glanced at Carth. “And you thought I wasn’t paying attention,” she added haughtily.

“Mission…,” Carth tried to interrupt.

“You give us the parts off your ship,” Mission continued, her focus returning to the woman, “and in return, we can give you passage to where you want to go. Deal?”

“Mission…,” Carth tried again.

“Hey! I said no deals!” Zug said as he shoved his way in between them, his wings flapping faster with agitation. “My shop! My deals!”

The woman took pause, considering Mission’s proposal. “You’d give someone you don’t even know passage on your ship for the cost of a few parts?” The woman raised a suspicious eyebrow as she eyed over Carth’s Republic uniform. “You a relief worker or something?”

“Erm…no,” said Carth. “Well, not exactly….”

“Oh. I see,“ the woman said knowingly. “I was wondering when the Republic would get tired of buying their cortosis from the Consortium and send out mineral surveyors of their own. You’re here for exploration.”

“Yeah,” Mission said. “Yeah, you could say that. So, do we have a deal?”

“I said, no deals!” Zug said again, and this time he whistled for his security, a couple of Gamorrean thugs who looked like they shared a single brain cell between them.

The woman snorted with marked disdain at the approaching Gamorreans, apparently unimpressed and unconcerned by them. “Meet me outside,” she said to Mission. She glared at Zug, then headed purposefuly for her ship in the hanger, picking up a stray hydrospanner from a workbench on the way.

“Hey!” Zug said, following her. “What are you doing? You can’t just….”

“C’mon, Carth,” Mission said, wrinkling her nose at the Gamorreans. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Right behind you,” said Carth.

Outside, Carth turned to Mission and gave her an admonishing glare. “Mission…”

“Hey,” Mission said pointing a finger at him. “You said you’d let me make a deal for you.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t say that you could book a passenger in the process!”

“What’s the problem? We’ve got the room. Why not take a passenger if it means getting the parts we need to fix the ship for free?” Mission asked innocently. “And the sooner we leave, the sooner we can get Zalbaar and Juhani back. Besides, she seemed alright to me. She wasn’t even carrying a weapon.”

“None that you could see,” said Carth. “Mission, we don’t even know who she is or, more importantly, why she’s in such a hurry to leave. Didn’t that strike you as…well, odd?”

Mission looked around. Even though they were still rather close to the port, they were far enough away to begin to see the deprivation and signs of the gang controlled zones. “Hmm…gang controlled areas, slave ships and smuggling vessels in the port hangers, not a lot of legitimate businesses around…” She gave Carth a deadpan look. “If I was her, I sure wouldn’t want to hang around any longer than I had to.”

“Yeah, well…I suppose you have a point,” Carth reluctantly agreed. “But besides that, we don’t even know where she wanted to go. What if we have to take her all the way to…to Corellia, for example?”

“Then she’ll be with us a little longer than we planned,” said Mission. “Besides, she looked like she was going to get the parts off her ship herself, and she told that Toydarian that she could have changed out the hyperdrive on her own. So, she must have some mechanical knowledge. And you could use the help, you know.”

“Me?” Carth shook his head with doubt. “I don’t know, Mission. I’d like to know a little more about this woman before we agree to go ferrying her across the Galaxy.”

Just then, a SL-relay dropped from the air, and Carth just barely had enough time to reach out and catch it.

“Name’s Kye,” said the woman, approaching them with a small trolley loaded with the parts. “Stablisers, sub-light control module, a few SL-power relays, plus whatever else I could scrounge up and remove on short notice. If you’re still willing to give me passage, I’ll let you have all of this stuff. It’s of no use to me without a working hyperdrive.”

“Erm….” Carth just held the relay in his hands and stared back at her, again tongue-tied by her striking looks.

“What? You calling off the deal?” Kye asked him, frowning. When Carth didn’t answer, she turned her gaze to Mission and gave her a questioning look. “Is there something wrong with your friend?”

Mission chuckled. “Don’t get me started!” she said jokingly. “I’m Mission. This is Carth Onasi. And, yeah, the deal’s still on. That is, if the parts work.”

“They work,” Kye said. “Where’s your ship?”

“Erm…just hold on a minute,” Carth finally managed to say. “Why are you in such a hurry to leave?”

Kye gave him a deadpan look. “Do you see anything around here that would make someone want to linger?”

“Told ‘ya,” Mission said softly.

“No,” Carth replied. “But that doesn’t explain why you want to leave in such a hurry. Why today? Why not tomorrow, or the next day?” He eyed her critically. “What are you running from?”

“What makes you think I’m running from something?” she asked him. “Maybe I’m running to something? Did you ever think of that?”

Carth chewed his lip. He hadn’t.

“See? It all depends on your perspective,” said Kye. “That aside, whatever my reasons are for leaving, they are my own. And if that bothers you, then I’ll just take these parts back to my ship and find another way off this rock.”

“As long as your reasons for leaving don’t involve bounty hunters or crime bosses, then…then I suppose it’s alright,” Carth said tentatively.

Kye smiled. “As far as I know, there is no bounty on my head. And no crime boss around here is going to care one way or the other if I stay or go.”

“And just where were you planning on going?” Carth asked.

“Onderon,” she answered frankly. “Figure I could find some decent work there, with all the urban regeneration I hear Queen Talia is doing. Is… that too far for you, or in the wrong direction?”

“No, Onderon’s fine,” said Mission, coming over to help Kye with the trolley. “No problem whatsoever. C’mon, the ship’s this way,” she said, pulling the trolley in that direction.

Carth sighed. “Why do I get the feeling that I’m going to regret this?” he grumbled.

Kye stopped in her tracks, and looked over her shoulder at him. “Are you always this distrustful and paranoid of strangers?”

“Who, me? Distrustful?” He shrugged. “Only with strangers with no visible weapons who are in a really big hurry to get somewhere and won’t disclose their reasons why.”

Kye raised her eyebrows. “I have a weapon,” she stated plainly. She pulled open her jacket, revealing to him and Mission a lightsabre hilt tucked away in a shoulder holster. “I just don’t have much use for it.”

“A lightsabre? You’re a Jedi?” Mission asked in quiet awe.

“Me?” Kye laughed. “Do I look like a Jedi? No. I got this off of a trader,” she said, fastening her jacket back up. “Although, it never hurts to have certain people think you’re something that you’re not.”

Carth grinned and snorted. “It all depends on your perspective.”

Kye nodded. “Exactly,” she said to Carth. “So, you got any more questions? Do you need to know my mother’s maiden name, or what colour of socks I’m wearing, or if I cheat at Pazaak?”

“Do you cheat at Pazaak?” asked Mission.

Kye grinned at her. “Occasionally. Depends on who I’m playing and if they deserve to lose or not.”

Mission grinned broadly. “See?” she said demonstratively to Carth. “She’s fine. C’mon. The ship’s this way.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:01 AM   #74
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I was wondering if this would be continued. I liked this Chapter. No Rade though. Just Carth and Mission. The dialogue between them was good. And Zug the Toydarian, I kept imaging Watto in my head. Will you be updating more Chapters?
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:05 AM   #75
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Chapter 11--Part 2

In the caverns of Mine 23, mynocks swarmed over their prey, once the dying Mandalorian mercenary that was lying on the ground in the middle of the large chamber, but now the three figures standing back to back over his body.

They were attracted to anything that generated electrical fields, whether it was a non-living or a living entity. HK-47 was an obvious target, but so was Canderous,’ with his Mandalorian power-shielded armour, as well as Rade’s Force Senstitivity.

“Infested? Infested is right!” Canderous shouted over the blasts of his repeating carbine. “I’ve never seen so many mynocks in one place!”

Rade sliced downward, splitting a mynock in half just as it was swooping towards his comrade behind him, continuing on around to catch another one with the follow-through. “Just keep them at bay!” Rade shouted back.

HK-47 was busy blasting away mynock after mynock with quick and precise shots. “Observation: It appears that the creatures are attracted to electrical field impulses.”

“Turn off your shielding!” Rade shouted to Canderous through the din of blaster fire and mynock shrieks. “It might make you less of a target!”

“What?!” Canderous shouted back, as he blasted a mynock at close range, sending it splatting on the ground. “Are you crazy?!”

Just then, a high pitched sound pierced the air. A scream. A female’s scream.

For a moment, the mynocks paused, hovering in the air as if they were startled by something. Rade turned his head towards the entrance of the chamber. There was a flash of yellow light. A lightsabre. Bastila was battling a few mynocks that had strayed the main swarm. And Ithra stood behind her, eyes closed as if she were meditating.

“Rade!” Bastila shouted, as she sliced two mynocks with one sweep of her sabre. “We’re coming to….”

Ithra screamed again, this time, in a slightly different pitch to the one she had uttered before. All of the mynocks began to flap wildly, bumping into one another in their hurry to flee. A few still dove down to attack, but the majority of the swarm flew up into the top recesses of the chamber.

HK and Canderous easliy dispatched the few stragglers that remained, then everything was quiet.

“What the hell was that sound?!” Canderous asked as the last mynock sizzled from his last blaster shot just a few metres away from where he stood.

“Ithra,” said Rade, guardedly looking around for a sign of any more mynocks as Bastila and Ithra approached. “What did you do?” he asked Ithra.

“Me?” Ithra bit her lip, as if unwilling to talk. “Nothing.”

“Nothing?” Rade said incredulously. “You did something to make all those mynocks go away!”

“I… I just sought their consciousness,” said Ithra. “Found out what frightened them and used the Force to replicate the sound.” She hung her head, obviously ashamed by using the Force in that manner. “I’m sorry.”

“Request: Perhaps the young meatbag could retract her actions and bring the mynocks back?" said HK. "It was extremely pleasurable to kill them.”

“Killing things unnecessarily is wrong,” Ithra said. She grimaced at the sight of the sizzling mynock by Canderous’ feet. “No matter how disgusting and creepy the life form may be.”

While Rade rolled his eyes in frustration at Ithra, Bastila said, “We don’t have time for this. Let’s just find this Co'Vanni and the Gem and leave.”

“G..gone,” the dying Mandalorian at their feet coughed and spluttered. “We were... tricked. Cheated.”

Canderous bent down over his countryman. “What do you mean? Did you find the Gem?”

The Mandalorian nodded slowly. “In the… inner chamber. Took it. Left us… to die… with the mynocks.”

“Who took it?” Canderous asked.

The Mandalorian coughed again as he tried to speak.

“Who took it?!” Canderous asked more urgently.

But it was no use. A soft sigh escaped from under the Mandalorian’s helmet as he expired.

“Great,” Canderous said. “No point in hanging around here if the relic’s gone and the only witness dead.”

“Wait just a minute,” said Rade. “Maybe there are some clues in the inner chamber. HK, come with me.”

“Affirmation: Of course, Master! Perhaps we will find more creatures to kill!”

Using his lightsabre as a torch, and keeping a wary eye out for any stray mynocks, Rade strode forward with HK to the entrance to the inner chamber, leaving the others behind. Within the chamber they found more dead Mandalorians, most still clutching their blasters in their blue, lifeless hands.

“Look around for anything unsual,” Rade said to HK.

After a moment, HK said, “Observation: It appears that there was something removed from the surface of this flattened rock.”

Rade examined the rock’s surface. A small spot in the middle of it was indeed free of any dust or debris. “The Gem must have been here.” He looked around on the ground then something caught his eye. It was a datapad. One of the Mandalorians must have dropped this during their scuffle with the mynocks, he surmised, and he activated it and began to read.

“Co’Vanni hired them,” he said. “They were to help him recover the Gem and in exchange he was going to repair and refuel their ship.”

Something glistened on the ground nearby, catching Rade’s eye, and he stooped down to pick it up. A Jeneraux crystal, again something probably dropped by the Mandalorians in the heat of battle. And nearby was another one, and something else—an odd shaped piece of flattened metal, a coin or medallion of some sort. He turned it over in his hands, studying the unfamiliar markings on it. “HK, what do you make of this?” he asked, handing it to the droid.

“Observation: It is similar to the currency of Jantessa, although the markings on it indicate that it was minted before the current administration was in place.”

“Oh?” Rade asked, taking back the coin and looking at it closer. “How much before?”

“Qualification: Before you invaded the planet, Master.”

Rade frowned. “Interesting,” he murmured. He looked around some more, looking at the patterns of footsteps in the dust, building up a picture in his mind of what had happened here. “All right, let’s get back to Oasis,” he said to HK. “Nothing more to learn here.”

He pocketed the crystals and the coin, and led them back to the rest of the group. Ithra looked worried.

“The creatures are getting restless again,” she said, her eyes looking up towards the cavern’s roof. “They’ll attack soon.”

“Then let’s get out of here.” Rade motioned the group forward to the entrance. “You two go first,” he said to Bastila and Ithra. “We’ll follow up from behind, in case any those mynocks decide to attack again.”


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:08 AM   #76
Diego Varen
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Another good Chapter. I've never seen anyone updating Chapters as quick as that. I wonder if the others will read this after so long. Please check out my Fanfic, Jedi Forces - Shadows Of War.
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:14 AM   #77
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Chapter 11--part 3

“Damn! It won’t fit!” Carth said, trying to install one of the SL-relays in the engine.

“It’ll fit,” Kye said. “We just need a larger coupling.”

“It can’t be too large, or we’ll have a radiation leak,” Carth said.

“Duh.” Kye rolled her eyes, then snapped her fingers. “Give it here,” she said, beckoning with her hand for Carth to hand it over. “I’ll make it fit. You go and install the sub-light control module.”

Carth frowned. “You’re sure you can handle it?”

“Do Gamorreans have bad breath?” She beckoned with her hand again. “Trust me. It’ll fit. Now go.”

Carth reluctantly handed her the relay and went to the bridge with the control module.

“How’s it going?” Jolee asked him as he passed through the main hold.

“Not sure if this is going to work, but… we're trying.” He frowned slightly. “Jolee, what do you think of our new passenger? I mean, do you get any bad ‘Jedi’ vibes from her?”

“Nope.”

“So, you think she's okay then.”

“I didn’t say that,” Jolee said. “You asked if I got any bad vibes from her. And I said, ‘nope’. Truth is, I can’t really feel anything from her.”

Carth frowned. “Has that ever happened before?”

Jolee grinned. “Nope.” Then he added, “Well, not with humans anyway.”

Jolee’s comment caused Carth’s brow to raise. “Are you suggesting she could be some sort of…I don’t know…shape shifter or something?”

“Could be,” said Jolee, shrugging with indifference. “Then again, it could be that she just doesn’t have enough of the Force flowing through her for me to detect. I don’t know.”

Carth frowned. “Well, I suppose no vibes are better than bad ones. Still…I think I’ll keep a close eye on her.”

“Well, as long as she’s travelling on the ship, she’s not going to sabotage it,” Jolee told him. “You don’t have to be a Jedi to know that she’s not stupid.”

“Who’s not stupid?” Kye stood in the doorway of the main hold.

“Erm…we were just… erm… discussing… erm…,” Carth stuttered.

“You’re not much for words, are you,” Kye said in a very direct manner. “I’m done fitting that coupling. So, do you need help installing that module?”

“Erm….”

“It’s not quantum physics,” said Kye. “Just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will do.”

Jolee chuckled as Carth flushed with embarrassment at his tongue-tied state.

“You know, if you find speaking difficult,” Kye said, “you can try nodding once for yes, twice for no…”

“I can speak,” Carth blurted. “It’s just that….”

“You don’t trust me,” she finished for him. “Fine. I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t trust me either if I was in your position.”

“Oh?” said Carth. “And why is that?”

“I’m a total stranger. You don’t know anything about my motivations or reasons for wanting to leave, let alone my engineering skills, or lack thereof. What’s there to trust?”

“So you’re saying we shouldn’t trust you?” Carth asked suspiciously.

“No,” said Kye. “I’m just saying that I wouldn’t trust me if I were you. But, then again, I’m not you, and this isn’t my ship, so my opinion really doesn’t hold much weight in the matter.”

Jolee chuckled.

“So… module,” Kye said to Carth. “Need help with it or not?”

“I suppose I could use someone to monitor the connection feeds while I install it.”

“Fine. Then let’s get to it,” Kye said, heading towards the cockpit.

“I like her,” Jolee said to Carth.

“You would,” Carth grumbled back.


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:18 AM   #78
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Three in a row. Three Chapters in one day. I liking this. This makes up for all the days you didn't post.
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:40 AM   #79
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Chapter 11--part 4

Yes, Pottsie, I've written quite a bit! Had to break it up into more manageable portions though, hence all the posts. This is the last one for today though.

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Once back at the Gretackmuth settlement, Rade's group waited for transport back to Oasis outside the cantina.

“So, tell me Ithra,” Rade said, breaking the silence that had fallen over them. “Did you know that your ruse against the Mynocks wouldn’t last long?”

Ithra shrugged. “No. Well…yes. Sort of.”

“Sort of?”

“The mynocks are simple creatures,” she explained. “They don’t have what I would call a ‘long term memory’. They live for the moment, as most lower life forms do. It was only a matter of time before the threat of a predator would be replaced by the call of hunger again.”

“So, theoretically, if someone else could do what you did, they would know that as well?”

“I suppose.”

Rade exchanged a look with Bastila. “I’ll be right back,” he said, rising and heading towards the cantina. “I have a sudden thrist.”

Inside the small cantina, Rade found the miner that had warned them about the mynocks in Mine 23.

“…reckon that we should try mine 23 again,” the miner was saying to his pals. “After all, if that pansy-faced girl can come back alive, surely we could.”

“I’d stay away from that mine if I were you,” Rade said. “There are still a lot of mynocks in there.”

“You came out of it okay,” said the miner. “Besides, even gettin’ a handful of them crystals in there would be worth it.”

“You mean, like this?” Rade held out his hand showing the miner one of the two Jenruax crystals he had found. “How about we make a trade? The crystal for some information.”

The miner gave him a suspicious look. “What kind of information?”

“A name and a description,” said Rade. “Of the person that accompanied the Mandalorians to Mine 23.”

“Well… I seem to recollect that there was someone that went with them. But… “ The miner snorted. “You know, it’s the damnedest thing. I can’t really ‘member who it was now.” He paused for a moment as he tried to think. “It was someone local though. I remember that. Just… just not what they looked like.” He turned to his friends. “Tak? Beppo? Do you ‘member?”

His two friends thought a moment, then shook their heads.

“Sorry, pal,” said the miner, giving a longing look at the crystal. “Sure wish I could have helped ‘ya.”

Rade raised an eyebrow. He knew the miner wasn’t lying, but it was odd that he couldn’t remember. Very odd. “It’s alright. Thank you for your time,” he said, and set the crystal down on the table in front of the miner.

The miner brightened. “Hey! Thanks pal!” he called after Rade as he walked out of the cantina.

Rejoining his friends, Rade motioned Bastila away for a private word. “Have you ever used the Force to permanently alter someone’s memory?” he asked. “I mean, by yourself?”

Bastila shook her head. “No, not permanently. And I wasn’t present when the Council altered yours. But as I recall, it took them some time.”

“But how long would it take to alter just one piece of it?”

“I don’t know,” Bastila answered. “Why do you ask?”

“I found this datapad in the mine, along with this,” he said, showing her the coin. “Co'Vanni was at that mine. And I figured that someone must have seen him with the Mandalorians, but the miner…the one that met us when we arrived? He remembers that there was someone with them, but he doesn’t remember who they were or what they looked like. None of the miners do.”

Bastila frowned. “That’s odd.”

“Very.”

“Perhaps this Co’Vanni drugged them or something?”

“And just had them forget one thing?” Rade shook his head. “There’s something else at work here. I’m sure of it. And I think we should drop in and see our friend Horace again at the ‘Miscreant Miner’.”

~~~~~~~~

Back at the ‘Miscreant Miner,’ Rade and company walked in. Horace, as per usual, was there to greet them at the door.

“Welcome back, sir,” he said to Rade. “Four again?”

“Oh, we’re not here to eat,” Rade said.

“Can we at least get something to take away with us?” Ithra whispered to Bastila in the background.

“No,” Bastila answered her quickly.

“We’re here to see the owner,” Rade continued. “Co’Vanni.”

Horace frowned. “I told you, that the owner is… away.”

“Away where?” Rade’s eyes narrowed threateningly.

Horace hesitated.

“If you don’t tell me, I’ll have my Jantessan Keeper friend here,” he motioned to Ithra, “rip the information out of your head. Painfully,” he added.

“A Keeper?” Horace stiffened, then looked at Ithra more closely. “You cannot be a true Keeper,” he said warily. “There are no more Keepers.”

“You know about Keepers, do you?” Bastila asked, somewhat surprised.

Very slowly, Horace nodded. “I know that all of the true Keepers were destroyed by the Sith Lord Revan when he took over Jantessa.”

“Not all of them,” Ithra said firmly. “There are some that survived.”

“Younglings. Novices,” Horace said with a twinge of sadness. “But no true Keepers remain.”

“And how do you know this?” Bastila asked. “The Jantessans are not very forthcoming about their culture or their history to outsiders.”

Horace shifted uncomfortably. “My… my employer told me,” he said with hesitation.

“Co’Vanni?”

“Yes.”

“And where is your employer now?” asked Rade. “We wish to speak with him.”

“I… I cannot say,” said Horace.

“Ithra?” Rade said. “Seek him.”

“What?”

“Seek him. Find out where this Co’Vanni is right now.”

Ithra gave Rade a disappointed look, but then…. Her eyes turned black, and Horace grimaced from her invasion of his mind.

“Onderon,” Ithra said, her eyes returning to their normal violet colour. “That’s what he’s thinking anyway. Onderon.”

“Then that’s where we’re going,” said Rade.


Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:01 AM   #80
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I liked that Chapter. When is the next time you're updating?
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