Daylight fought its way through the dense clouds over Kaas City. As the early morning patrols got under way and night-shift workers returned to their quarters to sleep, Lord Vitae was staring at a projected holo-figure on her desk. She had barely slept that night and she knew it showed in her face.
“And you’re sure about this?” she pressed.
The figure glanced about before returning his gaze to his transmitter and nodding.
“Then I need to move quickly. Thank you. I may need to…change my frequency. Did you remove…?” she started to ask.
“My lord, I did all you requested as best as I could without alerting those you are concerned about.” he stated professionally.
“I can ask no more. What time window do we have with the storms?” Lord Vitae enquired.
The Agent glanced down at something on his desk and pushed a button. Immediately Restita’s datapad lit up. She frowned then bowed her head to her contact.
“Thank you, and I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologise, my Lord. Good luck.”
And with that the call was shut off. Restita sighed.
Thanks, she thought, I’ll need it.
The Hurried Escape
An hour later Talitha, blurry-eyed and confused, was trying to pack her things into a small bag. The protocol droid that had often attended her shuffled in to ask if there was anything she required.
“Just the largest mug of caf you can muster. With sugar.”
“I am so very glad you told me, early on, that you hated mornings. I would have turned myself in for the scrap heap by now otherwise!”, the droid responded, half amused, half serious.
“Look, I’m sorry. This is early even for me. You’ve coped well with Morning Talitha”, she glanced sideways at the droid with a small smile.
“Thank you, I will return presently with your caf”
She had de-constructed, cleaned and reassembled her curved Lightsaber the night before. She left her ragged, borrowed robes on the bed, dressed once more in her white, comfortable top and skirt. Into her bag went her datapad, Lekku buff and one change of clothing. Turning to a small cupboard near her bed, she knelt down and lifted out the carved wooden box that had laid undisturbed since they arrived from Korriban. Gently prising open the lid, Talitha retrieved the Lightsaber hilt that lay within, trying not to let the wave of emotion overtake her. She left the box but packed the hilt into her bag, ensuring it was protected by clothing items inside.
“Talitha, are you nearly ready to go?” the voice of Lord Vitae asked hurriedly from the adjacent room.
“It’s not like I have a lot of stuff. Has my caf arrived yet, Restita?”
Her Master forced a laugh.
“In the next few minutes it will have, yes.”
“Then I’ll be ready to leave in a few minutes!”, the Twi’lek responded, truthfully.
She looked about her room and wondered how long it would be before she saw it again. The capital of the Sith Empire had been openly hostile to her, but these small quarters had become like home.
A few moments later, a caf-cup in her left hand and holding the bag to her shoulder with the right one, Restita and Talitha departed the Citadel and took a speeder to the spaceport.
“So, where are we going?”, Talitha ventured between grateful sips of the hot liquid.
“I can’t tell you that until we’re free of Dromund Kaas. But I can tell you you’re getting your own starship, soon anyway.”
Talitha jerked her head around and stared wildly at her Master, a look of total confusion on her face.
“Come now, Talitha, you can’t still be surprised when the Empire rewards people who work in its interests?”
“Yes, but I’m, I’m just an Apprentice.” the Twi’lek stammered.
“And how can you prove yourself, further your training and discover new worlds if you cannot visit them?” Lord Vitae questioned.
“Mass transportation?”, Talitha suggested.
“No. You aren’t a slave anymore, Talitha. Some Apprentices end up feeling that way, but not you.” Restita turned her face away, pretending to look at the forest below, not wishing to betray her feelings.
“You said ‘soon anyway’?”
“Yes, we are to pick up your new Starship from an Imperial Spacestation in a few days.”
The speeder transport landed at the spaceport and the two of them jumped out. They managed to step inside just as rain began to pour down, the drops sounding like a million tiny rocks being hurled onto the spaceport roof. The din the deluge caused confused Talitha’s senses and she couldn’t hear her Master, who was clearly trying to say something.
Shaking her head to indicate she couldn’t hear, she instead had to interpret her Master, who simply beckoned her to follow.
To the Unknown
A few chaotic moments later, the Twi’lek slumped onto the floor of a shuttle as it lifted out of the Spaceport.
“Welcome to Imperial Shuttle XZ-47-808-B to Nar Shaddaa.” announced a voice over a crackly tannoy, “We should just clear the planet before the lightening storm starts. I suggest we all sit tight.”
Talitha looked around and saw Lord Vitae sat hunched over a datapad on a passenger seat, looking more haggard that the Twi’lek had ever seen her.
“Nar Shaddaa?” she questioned.
Restita glanced up and looked Talitha straight in the eyes.
Not our destination, not today. We are passing through she communicated through the Twi’lek’s thoughts.
Talitha looked away. Her Master had not needed to use that Force technique for a long time. Something was not right but she couldn’t figure out what that “something” was. Yesterday she had been safe in her Master’s quarters. Today she felt like a fugitive, undertaking an escape to the unknown. All around the shuttle thunder rolled until, finally free of Dromund Kaas’ atmosphere, stars appeared, turned to lines and the ship disappeared into the dark.