“Get the launch pre-checks under way, Barak. I’m going to check on the crates.”
The Trandoshan nodded and focussed on the various dials and screens in front of him. Sjani sauntered into the freighter and came up behind Barak and put a hand on his shoulder. He turned his head slightly, one of his eyes fixing on her.
“Good to have you back soft one.”, he rasped.
“It’ll be nice to get free of this Republic ship, won’t it?”, she sighed.
“Indeed, freedom is long overdue.”
She flopped into the Captain’s chair and let him focus. She played with her own blaster, settling down into the comfortable seat, lined with some fur imported illegally from Kashyyyk. Pulling her feet up onto the chair, she pondered recent events. The Republic Cruiser Sanctuary had been the most stable ‘home’ she had had for a very long time. Her mother thrived on freedom, open space and the inevitable chase after each job. Deep down, Sjani hated it.
But it’s the life I have in front of me. I need to learn to like it.
Barak flicked a few more switches, happy the freighter was in good working order. He turned his co-pilot’s chair to face the girl.
“Why silent?”, he enquired.
“Probably nothing I should say in earshot of mother.”, she replied, shaking her head.
“Your peace has left.”, he observed.
The girl nodded.
“I love all the great things our jobs give me. New weapons, jewellery, clothing. But, something’s…. missing.”
“You want to hunt, not be the hunted?”
The language of The Hunt, the language of the Trandoshans who worshipped their goddess the Scorekeeper. Beliefs aside, Sjani had to admit he was right.
She was about to respond when Dana appeared from the back of the ship.
“Barak, I think we have a problem.”, she stated matter-of-a-factly.
“Why do you say that?”, he cocked his head quizzically.
“There’s one small crate missing. Nothing serious – just personal effects. But they do have one of my contact’s datapads.”
Sjani just watched, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“Whose datapad, soft one?”
Dana looked at Sjani, annoyed she was having this conversation in front of her daughter.
The Trandosan bowed his head slightly, thinking. Tribulla was their next cargo drop-off at Port Nowhere. Tribulla was a dangerous Hutt, known for his criminal connections and with several bounties on his head. They were supposed to deliver a rangle of smuggled luxury fabrics and gems, to fund their next starship swap. A starship swap they needed to maintain anonymity in the galaxy.
The silence became almost unbearable. Still trapped on the Hammerhead Cruiser, they all felt suddenly very vulnerable. They were shook out of their thoughts by the tannoy’s bellowing announcement.
“Freighter Shadow of Corellia. Do not attempt to leave.”
Dana was about to punch the ignition from other Barak’s shoulder when they saw the hanger doors swiftly closing shut. Dana cursed under her breath. She turned on her heels and stormed out of the starship. Marching into her hangar was a Jedi Master, flanked by four Republic soldiers. Disturbingly, the Jedi’s lightsaber was ignited. Unhooking both her blasters she flicked her personal shield generator on and braced herself.
Won’t be much good against a Lightsaber, she rued.
From behind her Barak emerged, his Vibrostaff in his clawed fist and stood behind her.
“What’s the problem, Jedi?”, Sjani shouted steadily.
The Master did not respond until she was within talking range.
“Jedi Master Khalitha, under Republic Command, Captain. Your are under arrest on suspicion of illegal traffiking of goods. Please don’t resist.”
His calm infuriated her. She was quick off the draw normally, but knew she was outmatched.
“I have no idea what you mean. Customs checked over my cargo before we were allowed inside the Sanctuary“, she protested.
“You cannot hide your deceit from me, Captain. You are under arrest.”
Fighting in these situations was not how Dana had survived. Her shoulders dropped and she disenaged her weapons.
“What about my daughter?”, she asked.
“The Trandoshan and your daughter will be released in neutral territory as agreed. You will be questioned on board the Sanctuary until we can bring you to justice or release you.”, the Jedi stated.
“I would attack, soft one, but we cannot run.” Barak hissed.
Dana turned to the Trandoshan and hugged him.
“Just look after Sjani. I’ll comm you when I am allowed. When you can, get in touch with our mutual friend.”, Dana made the most of these last words.
“You must come with us now,’ Khalitha instructed. “Yield your weapons to me, or your friend, if you want them to leave safely.”
Dana passed both her blasters to Barak in silence and then turned back to the Master.
“One condition of my surrender.” she probed
“Name it, Captain”
“I come willingly, so no restraints.”
Khalitha deactivated her Lightsaber with a snap-hiss and clipped it to her belt.
“You are now unarmed. I agree.”
And with that, the four soliders surrounded her and marched her back into the Hammerhead Cruiser, led by the Jedi Master. Barak shook his head and climbed back into the freighter.
Sjani was crying, still sat in her mother’s chair.
“I can’t take this any more Barak. I’m lonely, I have no home and now the stupid Republic have my mother.”, she screamed
A bit taken aback by the sudden outburst, the Trandoshan took a moment.
“Journey is unplanned. You fight well. You have good heart. Let’s leave.”
Sjani wiped her face with her arm and nodded, yielding her seat to the Trandoshan.
“Will need to teach you co-pilot skill, soft thing. But not until free.”
They strapped themselves in and Barak closed the hatch. The blast doors opened in front of them and, firing up the engines, they taxied slowly out of the hangar. Once free, they made the calculation to Lightspeed and shot into the void. Their family was divided and uncertainty loomed. But journey on they must.
Other Sjani Arcturus Chapters
- Space Debris – Sjani – SWTOR FanFiction
- The Need for Allies
- Sjani Arcturus: A Family Divided
- Sjani Arcturus – The Misinformation
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