The escape went well. Not at all as planned, but they had Trevor’s father, and they were all alive. It was a win win. They’d also managed to rescue a senator in disguise as an added bonus. Now the question was what the hell were they going to do now.
“You got me out. Now what?” Alistair asked his son as they drove through Coronet City’s streets in their stolen landspeeder. There was no, ‘good to see you, thanks for rescuing me,’ but that was the nature of their relationship.
“I need to contact Zan see if he can find us a place to hideout.” Trevor replied.
“You trust that sleezeball?” Alistair responded. It was more of a criticism than a question.
“Dad, he’s my best friend.” Trevor hated saying it. It took only five minutes in the speeder together and the old man had him talking like a whiny teenager. Trevor was old enough to have teenagers of his own. Though the fact that he didn’t was the argument him and his mother would’ve gotten into if she were here. “Besides,” Trevor continued “Zan owes me one.”
“He may owe you one son, but I don’t trust him. He’s climbed way too fast up the CES corporate ladder for my taste. There’s something not right about that boy.”
And that was that. A rash judgment based on an innocuous event had just condemned a man to ‘untrustworthy’ status. Trevor wondered how the hell his old man used to be such a brilliant politician. Alistair had made his judgment though, and going to Zan was not an option. Trevor knew his father would jump out of the moving landspeeder rather than get help from Zan now. “Well do you have any ideas?” Trevor asked knowing the answer.
“I’ve got one place in mind; I’d rather not go there. But since you didn’t plan for anything better…” And there it was Alistair was setting it up so he got his way, by way of making Trevor seem inadequate for the task. Trevor was happy to be home.
The place Alistair had in mind was an old abandoned CES facility an hour and a half out of town.
The CES has long abandoned the place for more space bound factories, so Alistair and his friends were using it to hide dissenters of the new order.
After the crew had made it inside, they were greeted by a small band of political fugitives. Dash Danos, aging Jedi and friend to Alistair was among them. He was happy to see Alistair alive. Trevor had doubtless met this Jedi before, probably when Trevor was a child, but if so, Trevor could not recall when. Dash thanked Trevor and his crew for their daring rescue.
Jinn, however was not happy with the situation. It made him uncomfortable to be so close to a Jedi; One that was supposed to be their ‘friend’. The Jedi had obviously picked up on Jinn’s misgivings, the man kept looking his way with questioning eyes. Jinn knew there was going to awkward conversations in his future. Conversations Jinn was not prepared to have. Jinn had too many questions, and a Jedi was the last person he wanted answers from. He would get these answers on his own. These people murdered his parents. He wasn’t going to ask the Jedi for a thing.
Later that evening a conversation did take place. Jinn was intentionally vague about his motives and feelings when prodded. His history was none of this Jedi’s business. He did have one question however.
“Why would a Jedi create two nearly identical lightsabers?” Jinn asked Dash. Dash looked at Jinn perplexed.
“There never are two identical blades. Each one is hand crafted by a Jedi Master. Each Jedi has their own unique style that one can usually see from one blade to the next. Why do you ask?”
“I have in my possession two blades of similar style.” Jinn said trying not to reveal too much. “I was just trying to understand why.”
“Well, there are many reasons why a Jedi would create more than one blade. Many Jedi adapt a fighting style that uses two blades for instance. Some Jedi gave their chosen initiates a blade as part of the Padawan/Master selection process. Still others simply create a spare blade in case their main blade was lost or damaged. This was common during the Clone Wars.”
Jinn contemplated Dash’s answer for a second. He knew his father did not practice a two blade fighting style. So that idea was out. If it was simply a spare blade how did Vandis get it, and where from? And as far as Jinn knew his father had no apprentice. Well none that was ever talked about or revealed to him.
“I wish I could help you more, you are obviously thinking through a lot” the Jedi replied, “but unless you want to reveal more information there is nothing I can do. I feel you hold a heavy burden, if you share, I might be able to help.”
Jinn looked at the old feeble Jedi, annoyed by the prodding. “Your kind killed my parents, so you could understand why I’m not going to embrace you with open arms.”
“I am sorry.” The Jedi replied sadly. “I understand.” With that he left Jinn alone with his thoughts.
When Trevor awoke the next morning the place was abuzz. The Senator they rescued was standing over a map discussing some logistics with his father and the Jedi.
“What’s going on?” Trevor asked as he approached the group.
“It appears my cover is still intact.” Mon Mothma replied with a smirk. “The Imperials don’t know that I’m here, or who they had captured. I had to make sure of that before I reached out to my friends. I didn’t want them getting into hot water. Anyway I’ve secured a transport out of system for myself and Dash here, and a couple of the others.”
“What about you?” Trevor asked addressing his father.
“I’m staying here.” He responded incredulously
“I’m not breaking you out again dad.” Trevor replied.
“Son,” Alistar started. “I’m a Corellian, and I not going to flee my home no matter what foreign government wants me arrested.” Trevor cracked a smile. That’s a Corellian for you. Trevor turned back to Mon Mothma.
“What can we do to help?” he asked. “We still have some business planetside but if you need us for anything?”
“Actually, we could use an escort. A Freighter called Bantha Poodo is docked at one of the CES space stations; it will take us out of the system. We’ve chartered a shuttle to take us to the station. The only problem is we have to drive back into town to get to the shuttleport.” Mothma pointed to the Shuttleport on the map before them. Trevor already knew where it was, but he looked anyway. “We’ve obtained a speeder truck to get us there.” Mothma continued. “We don’t expect any trouble along the way, but if any of these people.” She said gesturing to the mill of random dissenters and freedom fighters, “have given us up to CorSec or the Imperials we’d like to have a backup.” Mothma looked up from the map at Trevor. “What we’d like you and your crew it do is to drive the landspeeders we stole last night, and provide a buffer. If we spot any local authority starting to trail us, you are to cause a scene. Drive erratically, hit another vehicle, do something to get the focus off us and on to you. That shouldn’t be too hard since the vehicles you are driving have doubtless been reported stolen by now. If it is imperials that we run across; well then some blaster play may be in order.” Momtha paused. “Think you can handle that?”
“Shouldn’t be a problem.” Trevor responded.
Trevor was impressed Mothma was good. He imagined that was what a military briefing was like. Trevor would’ve known for certain if he hadn’t fled the planet when he ended up drafted. But alas it was a new experience, not unlike the planning of a couple of heists he took part in.
The trip through the city was surprisingly uneventful. Myla and Jinn road in one speeder, while Fi and Trevor in another. They arrived at the shuttle port a few minutes early. Trevor and Jinn were saying their goodbyes, while Fi and Myla remained with their prospective speeders. Fi had an engine compartment of his speeder open, doubtless fiddling with something. Myla however was standing by her speeder lost in thought. Last night Caleb had relayed the crew a message that was sent to their ship from Trevor’s inspector friend. Apparently Myla’s doppelganger had gotten herself into trouble. The inspector said she was a person of interest in a homicide investigation. And since she and Trevor just recently inquired about this Delilah, he wanted them to come in for questioning. The whole thing was too much. Her Identical twin or clone, or whatever this thing was, was now out there murdering people. Great. Just great.
On the Landing pad Mon Mothma approaches Jinn.
“I want to thank you for taking a chance on a girl in a cell.” She says with a smile.
“I’m kind of a sucker for damsels in distress I guess,” Jinn replies returning the smile. “Where are off to after this?”
“Well actually next on my agenda is an errand of official capacity. No more sneaking around.”
“Oww, that will be a nice change.” Jinn teases.
“I know, I get to be prim and proper.” She replies taking on a slight accent. “I’m actually headed to Kashyyyk, the wookiee homeworld. We haven’t heard much from our wookiee allies since the war ended. I want to make sure everything is alright.”
“Well, Good luck with that,” Jinn replies, unsure of what more to say. The awkward goodbye is saved from getting more awkward by Trevor stepping in.
“Well you made in here in one piece senator.”
“That we have.” Mothma replies. “I want to thank you again Captain, I owe you and your crew more than you know.”
“Don’t mention it.” Trevor replies. “In fact feel free to look us up next time you have any more rabble-rousing to do.”
Jinn left them to their conversation; the shuttle was landing, and after thinking long and hard last night Jinn more to say to the Jedi before he departed.
“My father was named Raien Bedzon.” Jinn said as he approached the Jedi. “He was Jedi who left the order. Him and his wife we murdered by Jedi. He died protecting me.”
Dash looked sad, “His wife was named Eswen Jrill she was a Jedi as well.” Dash replied, demonstrating his knowledge of them. “Their departure from our order was widely talked about amongst some of the Jedi, but virtually ignored by the council. I never knew what happened to them. I am sad to hear of their fate.”
“Did you know my father?” Jinn asked
“Know him I did not, saw him a couple times in passing I did.” Dash looked to be deep in thought. The shuttle had finished its landing behind them. “Raien did take on an apprentice you know?” Dash continued. “A zabrak if I recall. I attended the ceremony; I was an instructor back then. “
Jinn was surprised. “Do you know what became of him?”
“No… No I do not.” Dash replied. “If the Zabrak did not find a new master after Raien left the order, he would have had to join the service core, or leave the order himself.”
This was a lead. Jinn knew it. This man knew answers. What, what more should he ask?
A shot rang out. A blaster bolt hit Dash in the shoulder. He fell forward into Jinn’s arms. Trevor quickly shielded Mon Mothma from any further attack. Myla spun around and saw an armored figure on the overpass reloading a sporting rifle.
“Vandis.” She spat. She quickly drew her pistol and fired at the scum. Her shot was hurried however and missed wide right. Fi done with his tinkering, saw the hated foe as well, he propped the end of the carbine on the landspeeder, aimed and fired, just before Vandis got off his second shot. Fi’s shot rang true, hitting the trooper clean in the chest. The impact wrecked Vandis’ aim and his own shot impacted harmlessly onto the shuttle bulkhead.
“Are you ok?” Jinn asked the Jedi who was still using him for support.
“I’m wounded, but I’ll live.” Dash replied. Mon Mothma stepped in and quickly put the weight of the Jedi on her right shoulder.
“Come on,” she said to Dash, “We’re getting the hell out of here.” She hurried up the shuttle ramp baring most of the weight of the Jedi, who was feebly trying to help. “Thanks again.” Mon Mothma turned to Jinn and Trevor as she reached the top. “I owe you one.”
Vandis, seeing his prey escape, tossed his rifle into his landspeeder.
“Captain?” Trevor heard Myla ask of the com. He spotted Vandis in time to see him climb into the Landspeeder and start the engines. “Captain?” Myla asked again.
“After him!” Trevor responded running towards his own speeder. Fi had already hoped into the passenger seat. Trevor slid over the hood of the speeder and climbed in the pilot’s chair and punched it.
Jinn dashed off the landing pad and hopped into Myla’s speeder as she was accelerating away.
Trevor reached the top of the entrance ramp at break neck speed, he didn’t know what the Jawa did to the speeder but it was running quite smooth even at this velocity. Trevor saw Vandis’ landspeeder hugging the right shoulder up ahead. The landspeeder plowed through construction cones and continued on. Apparently some shoulder construction was up ahead. Trevor didn’t care; he didn’t even try to avoid the remaining cones.
Myla saw the cones flying up ahead, and decided to take another route. She swung the speeder hard left jumping the entrance ramp curve and across all lanes of traffic. Speeders swerved out of the way crashing into each other and the medium. Myla’s quick reflexes and little bit of luck got her landspeeder to the inside shoulder unharmed. The left shoulder was devoid of construction or obstacle her path was clear.
Trevor was flying by many speeders to his left. The morning commute to work had slowed traffic on the highway considerably. It didn’t matter, as long as he stayed on the shoulder. Fi, the wind wiping at his hood, was having a blast. He stood up in the passenger seat, balanced his carbine on the top of the windshield, and took aim once more.
The shot struck Vandis in the shoulder; the Jawa could almost see him wince in pain. “Mootiiiiniii!” the Jawa yelled jumping up in down in the seat. The wind caught his hood and he quickly grabbed it so it wouldn’t fall off his head. He almost lost his balance and fell out of the speeder. Trevor quickly grabbed him by the robes to keep him inside.
Up ahead, Trevor saw a maintenance crew sandblasting the highway’s right barrier wall. It looked like they were trying to remove some sort of Anti-Imperial graffiti. Trevor let out a chuckle. Vandis sped through the sandblasting and shouts rang out from the workers, though the blasting continued. Trevor slowed a little bit. He didn’t know what was on the other side of the blasting, the sand distorted his vision. Unfortunately he didn’t see an explosion or hear a large collision, so Trevor sped back up and raced through the sand himself.
Vandis , quite a bit ahead of them, swerved to the left into traffic to avoid sand blasting equipment on the side of road. He banged into one speeder pretty good, but kept a lot of momentum. Clear of the equipment he swerved back onto the shoulder. Trevor had an easier time with things. The speeder Vandis sideswiped was still stopped in traffic the occupant a Corellian was making rude gestures towards Vandis’ speeder. Trevor quickly weaved through the mess, missing both the wrecked speeder and the equipment, he still however garnered renewed rude gestures from the Corellian.
Myla raced along the left shoulder unhindered, and was able to pull even with Vandis. There were only three lanes of speeder traffic between her speeder and his. Jinn tried to take a shot at Vandis but there was too much traffic in between them. “I’ll try to get closer.” Myla called to Jinn as she scanned the road for a break in the traffic.
Orin Tomaw was having a bad day. He sat in his non functioning landspeeder on the side of the Coronet freeway screaming into his com. The famous Ithorian Soap star had bought the very expensive landsitter just two weeks before, when he found out his evening Soap, Stolen Hearts, had been picked up for another season. However this morning Orin was informed that the character he played, the unscrupulous jewel thief Landon Darkstar, was being killed off next season. After a very heated argument with his agent, Orin found out that Landon was being killed in the very first episode of the season. His death was to be the shocker to keep the audience in their seats right before the first commercial break. He would have three lines and approximately one minute forty five seconds of screen time. Orin figured at first that he was just going to come back as Landon’s twin brother Dmitri. This was not so. Orin was informed his contract was not being renewed, and if he didn’t take the measly amount of credits offered for the scene the studio was willing to just use an establishing shot of Landon’s penthouse apartment exploding into flames.
Now Orin was on the com with the dealership ever so calmly trying to get them to explain to him how to get the damn speeder working again so I can take it back to the lot, to sell it back used, at a considerable loss.
Highway signs indicated an exit just ahead. This exit was close to the Dock where Vandis’ ship was parked. Trevor was willing to bet he was going to take exit. It didn’t worry Trevor much; he didn’t even try to pick up speed. He knew these streets; knew them better than Vandis. Trevor knew back roads that would get him to the Dock long before Vandis did.
Myla saw a speeder stalled on the right shoulder up head, saw that rubberneckers were slowing down to take a peak. This was her opening. She whipped the speeder hard to the right jumping back into traffic in front of a bolo-ball mom and her four kids. Myla thought if it wasn’t for the youths in the back of the women’s speeder, she would be on the receiving end of some rude gestures herself.
Trevor saw Vandis narrowly avoid the speeder stalled on the side of the highway. The Ithorian who was outside the speeder closing an engine compartment almost got ran down but jumped back into his speeder just right before Vandis got to him. The road was taking a pretty hefty curve to the right, and being on the inside track of the curve the viewing distance wasn’t that far. Especially at this speed. Traffic had thinned just a tad now that they’d cleared the construction zone, so there was no collision this time, just a well dressed and angry Ithorian bellowing at the speeder that almost sideswiped his own. As Trevor passed, the Ithorian was starting the speeder and trying to get back into traffic.
Myla swerved one way, and Vandis the other. Myla had made it across all the lanes of traffic and was now all the way on the right shoulder, Vandis in the lane beside her on the left.
“I’m Going to Jump?” Jinn shouted to her over the noise of air rushing by. He’d hoped into the back of the speeder to ready himself. Myla tried to hold her speeder steady, and get closer to Vandis. This was insane she thought.
Jinn readied himself. When Myla got as close as she dared, Jinn quickly took a two step leap off the speeder and into the air. He flew through the air between the speeders and landed with the poise and grace, his Vornskr styled armor demanded.
Jinn landed on hood of Vandis’ speeder. He quickly grabbed the top of the windshield and tried to send a swift kick to Vandis’ head as he swung around to the passenger seat.
The Vandis blocked kick. Ignited his lightsaber, and used it to take a large chunk of Jinn’s leg armor off.
Jinn muffled a scream in pain as the plasma burned his skin. Jinn quickly ignited his own blade and blocked the second blow from Vandis.
Trevor saw Jinn’s jump and just couldn’t believe it. It was a gutsy move. But it brought its own complications. Fi had lowered his carbine, he wasn’t about to risk hitting his friend. It looked like Vandis was indeed heading towards the exit ramp, even while fighting off Jinn.
The lightsabers were locked together. They’d burned holes in the windshield and the landspeeder seats as both Jinn and Vandis tried jockeying for position. Neither was letting up.
“Remember this blade?” Jinn shouted at Vandis over the noise of the blades, and the wind wiping by. Vandis just snarled. “Where did you get it?” Jinn continued. Anger flowed through him. He wasn’t calm or collected, he had lost his center. In fact, Jinn was starting to realize whenever he had used this blade his focus had been off. Still though he pushed the attack and the questions, “Where did you get this blade?” He shouted again pushing back against Vandis. He quickly pulled his blade back and made an overhand slash. Vandis blocked the blow with his blade. “Where!?” Jinn shouted again.
“Off a pathetic Jedi in a Jungle…” Vandis finally replied. “A friend of yours I take it?” Vandis sneered again, feinted left and swung his blade around from the right. It took off the headrest of Jinn seat, but he was able to get his blade in the way in time. Their blades locked once again. “The poor pathetic sap wasn’t even worth me killing him.” Vandis continued trying to egg Jinn on, clearly misunderstanding the reasons behind Jinn’s questions. “I left him to the natives. They’re probably wearing his entrails like necklaces by now.”
Myla saw the speeders backed up at the bottom of the off ramp ahead. She slammed her speeder into the side of Vandis’ making sure he had no way out of the lane. The cars were coming up fast. Vandis tried hard to turn the speeder while still fighting off Jinn. Myla was not letting him out, though Vandis was not slowing down.
Trevor saw what was happing up ahead. It did not look like Jinn was getting the upper hand. If fact it looked more like Jinn was on the defensive. Trevor also saw the traffic up ahead.
“Screw it.” Trevor said aloud, it was not like this was his speeder after all. “Brace yourself; we’re going to ram them.” Trevor instructed Fi. The Jawa squeed with delight as he braced himself against the seat as the speeder picked up speed. This was going to be fun.
Jinn sensed the impending impact more than he saw it coming. He made his body loose so it gave more give on impact. Vandis’ speeder slammed into the back of a speeder truck at a high rate of speed. Jinn went through the already mangled windshield and flew once again through the air. He landed in the back of the truck, knocking into many long metal pressurized containers. Vandis got caught on the steering console and remained in his speeder; many ribs were probably broken.
Trevor braced himself as his speeder slammed into the back of Vandis’ crumpling it between him and the truck ahead. The impact hurt, but Fi and Trevor survived, in fact Trevor could have sworn the Jawa was giggling like child. Though Trevor wasn’t quite sure he knew what a Jawa giggle would sound like. Their own speeder looked heavily damaged, not as bad as Vandis’ however.
Myla flew past the impact along the shoulder. She saw Jinn fly through the air and hoped he was all right. She tried her best to slow down her vehicle stopping to just before she entered the intersection at the bottom of the ramp.
Vandis’ slowly crawled out of the wreckage. Somehow he had survived. Jinn got off the floor of the bed of the truck. He reignited his saber and took a flying leap at Vandis saber coming down fast overhead.
Vandis got his saber up to block the blow. It staggered him a bit, but the block threw Jinn off balance. He came to the ground hard. Before Jinn could ready himself, Vandis made a vertical slash. The parry came, but too late. The blade racked along Jinn’s side, searing his skin, and causing blinding pain.
Fi rolled out of the wrecked vehicle. He propped his carbine on some smoking rubble, and once again took aim. This time however the shot missed wide right.
Trevor got himself clear of the debris, and tried to lineup a shot. There was no way to take it however without the risk of hitting Jinn. He didn’t want to be the one to take his friend out.
Vandis was on the offensive. He brought his blade down on Jinn slash after slash. Jinn was barely able to block each one. The pain he was feeling was intense. His vision was fuzzy, stars popped in his eyes whenever he had to move. It was just a matter of time before Jinn’s blade wasn’t fast enough.
Myla threw her speeder in reverse, and gunned it back up the ramp. She drew out her pistol in her left hand. In her rearview she could see Vandis’ relentless assault on Jinn. She slammed onto the breaks as she pulled even with the wreckage. Myla eyed Vandis down her sights and fired.
The bolt hit Vandis in the side of the head. He wasn’t expecting it, wasn’t aware of it. One second he was preparing another downward slash, the next he was down himself.
Jinn let out a sigh of relief, as he staggered over to the fallen enemy.
Jinn’s sigh seemed to go on for a long time, but as the din of the battle died down Trevor realized that hissing sound he was hearing was not coming from Jinn.
“Gas!” Trevor shouted, as he dove for cover.
Fi ran over to Myla’s speeder as fast as his legs could carry him. Jinn grabbed Vandis’s body, he was unconscious but still alive, and hobbled toward Myla.
He didn’t make it. The truck exploded into a massive ball of flame. Jinn went down, Vandis body with him. Fi was knocked off his feet as well, but the little Jawa didn’t care. A tear of delight rolled down his little cheek. The explosion was beautiful.
Myla tried her best to pull her unconscious friend into her speeder.
Trevor recognized the fact that there was no way they were going to fit everyone into one speeder, and started running up the ramp. Four speeders back he saw the Ithorian that was on the side of the road earlier.
“Get out; I need your speeder?” Trevor said as he arrived, half way out of breath.
“What?’ The Ithorian asked confused. “no.”
Trevor reached into his coat, and pulled out his fake doctor ID. “My name is doctor Rosenthall. You see that explosion up ahead?” He said gesturing to the large column of smoke. “Well there are many people injured up there, I need to requisition your speeder to get them to the hospital as fast as possible.”
“You have got to be kidding me!” The Ithorian yelled. He started to slide into the passage seat. “I’ll.. I’ll late you take it, but I’m coming with you.” He stammered. The Ithorian didn’t want give up his ride.
Trevor got in and turned to the Ithorian. “Listen man,” he said mater-of-factly,” There is going to blood, entrails and all kinds of carnage up ahead. Are you sure you’re ready for that?” The Ithorian looked concerned. “I’d rather not expose you to that; it is enough to give most people nightmares.”
“My info’s in the center console compartment.” The Ithorian said as he backed out the passenger seat door. “Please,” the Ithorian begged, “return the vehicle to me.”
Trevor wiped the speeder onto the shoulder and drove it up to the wreckage. He and Fi managed to get Vandis’ corpse into their speeder, they still needed to search him.
The two speeders pulled away from the site just as CorSec and emergency airspeeders were arriving overhead.
“Pull your vehicles over turn off your engines.” Trevor heard from a PA as they blew through the intersection at the bottom of the ramp. This wouldn’t be the first time he had to lose CorSec on the streets of Coronet City, this probably wouldn’t be the last. It felt just like he was joyriding in the speeder he stole from his dad as a teen. His traveling companion was different, but the feeling was the same. Trevor was happy to be home.
They soon lost their tail and made their way to the Hanger where Vandis housed his ship. Other than keys to his vehicle, the search of Vandis body revealed little, but Trevor wasn’t quite sure what Jinn was really looking for here. Jin had regained consciousness and was given some medicine to relieve the pain.
Vandis’ ship was just was right where he left it. Trevor and his crew quick made their way through the Hanger towards it.
Blaster fire littered the air, coming from behind some cargo containers to their right.
“I knew. I knew you were involved.” Said a familiar voice, and Tamera stepped out from behind the containers. She wasn’t alone, but Trevor could tell how many. “Now you’re going to pay.”