The droids were loading up the ship with supplies as Koth performed final engine and hyperdrive checks, after a full two hours of repairs. The Fury class starfighter looked like a relic from a bygone era when compared with the slick designs from the engineers of Zakuul. He corrected himself, it was a relic from a former life of the Sith who was both Empress and his love. He estimated that the ship was about ten years old, but somehow had been kept mostly in working order.
“That’s the last of the supplies, Master Vortena, do you have any further orders?”, 2R-V8 requested.
Koth wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead and glanced around.
“Nah, I think we’re nearly there, we can pick up more food at our first stop-off. I assume the drinks cabinet has been stocked?”
“Exactly as you requested. If I may ask,” the protocol droid continued, “where is the first stop-off?”
“Hey I don’t know, this aint my ship, best ask the boss.”
2R-V8, recalled from janitorial duties at the still-operational Odessen base, trotted off to find “the boss”.
Koth took a breath, and went to check all areas of the ship. He couldn’t remember the last time they weren’t fighting…something, so he wanted this impromptu holiday to be perfect. The locker had several changes of clothes for them both, the medical droid carried an array of stims and medpacs in case that would be required and the Holoterminal had been reprogrammed to access both Odessen and The Spire.
“Shame we have to keep the thing working,” he smiled to himself.
“I agree, but we have to at least look like we care.” the soft voice of the Zabrak sounded from behind him.
Startled he swung around and grinned.
“You gotta stop doing that to me!”, he feigned defensiveness, but strode over to his love and flung his arms around her.
“You mean you didn’t recognise it as my voice because I wasn’t yelling or cursing?” she grinned.
“Something like that, yeah”, he smiled.
He was pleased that, however she did it, she still retained composure over her facial features and sported yellow, instead of red, eyes. He never could grasp that Force stuff. Instead of her angular, black, metallic armour, she wore a loose brown and white tunic fastened to some leather shoulder-pads. It made her look much younger and a lot more relaxed than he’d seen her in a long time.
“Hey, the droid was looking for you, by the way” he said, loosing his grip slowly so he could look into her eyes.
“He found me, we’re nearly ready to go.” she replied, smiling.
They collapsed at a small table in the main communal area, both losing themselves in the thoughts of what lay ahead. Those thoughts were rudely interrupted by 2R-V8.
“Empress, I believe we are finally ready to depart”, he announced.
The Zabrak frowned. If this was to be a holiday, she did not want to be called Empress, or Commander or My Lord. But she also could not go back to her old name either. Koth fidgeted on his chair, seeming suddently nervous.
“Is everything alright my Lord?” the droid requested.
She shook her head, trying to formulate her thoughts into words.
“No, I mean, yes. I just don’t want people to call me by a title for a week or two.”, she started slowly
“I have only known you as My Lord, Darth Nox or Commander,” the droid stated, “how then should I refer to you?”
The room felt suddently quiet. Not uncomfortable, but pensive.
“A very good question, beautiful” Koth reached out and stroked the Zabrak’s cheek.
This felt like a huge moment in the young girl’s life. Up to this point, other forces and people had defined her identity. Now with all the power she had ever wanted, she could take control of who she was.
“Alright,” she began, “I used to have a name. But that is no longer relevant. But if I use some of the letters, I can forge a new name.”
“When you have decided I can request an update to the Zakuul and Odessen systems. Unfortunately, I do not have the programming to handle that.”, 2R-V8 shook his metallic head sadly.
Koth sat back and watched the Zabrak’s face, aware of his own nervousness. He had kept her old name a secret for well over a year now and it had taken all his willpower not to let it slip. After another few moments, the girl pushed her hair through her horns and back over her head, before taking a deep breath.
“Xanthya. I will be Xanthya.” it was decided.
“If I may be so bold,” the droid continued, “T7 prefers to have last names in his memory banks”.
Koth suddenly stood and made for side room where the drinks cabinet was found.
“I think we should let her decide that another day,” he said firmly but not making eye contact with either of them, “this is…enough for now.”
And with that he headed into the adjacent room. 2R-V8 looked from Xanthya to Koth and back again, before seeming to shrug.
“Very well,” he conceded, “where is our first destination, Xanthya?”
The Zabrak had also been looking between the droid and Koth, until he had vacated the room, trying to work out what had just happened.
“I want to go back to Makeb, please.”
The droid headed to the navicomputer and began the sequence to launch the ship from the landing pad. Koth returned with a bottle of Zakuulan wine and two glasses, and poured them both one. Taking his own deep breath he locked eyes with his love.
“Let’s enjoy. Scyver knows I’m ready for a break!”
He leaned over the table, careful not to knock the glasses over and gave Xanthya a kiss, before sitting down. Time for themselves for a change, time for each other, time not to be heroes or leaders, or revolutionaries. The Fury class starfighter lifted off, and began to make its way out of Zakuul, through the clouds that the city peeked through. Once clear of the planet, the familiar sound of the hyperdrive kicking in could be heard before the ship disappeared from the ground control’s sensors completely. The journey had begun.