The sound of the whip cracked and bounced against the small room. The girls’ body twisted with pain, but she did not make a sound—any noise would lead to more lashes. “You think you know better than we? Are you a master trainer now, Myla? You think we cannot provide for our own property?” The voice echoed angrily, and she could hear the whip being readied for another strike. “You will be hungry, yet you will never starve. You will be cold, yet you will never freeze.” The whip struck a line against girl’s back. “We tell you what to do, you do it. You are a slave, Myla.”
Myla walked down the hallway to Capt. Ridley’s room. Not wanting to admit the turmoil roiling around inside her, Myla had tried for a week to put off this conversation. After all, Capt. Ridley was recuperating and being secretive as usual, Jinn was repairing his badly damaged armor or pouring over Vandis’ logs, and Fe was…Fe. But she couldn’t avoid the fluttering in her stomach every time she thought about the woman in the vids. Delilah. She turned the name around in her mouth, tasting for any familiarity. No images arose, no thoughts sprang forth. Just a feeling so overwhelming, it had no name. Part dread, part excitement, and part…lonely. Myla had never used the word before. As long as she could remember, she had been surrounded by people, the trainers, her comrades—except for training range, Myla had never been alone. Yet the moment she saw Delilah’s face…her own face…Myla had felt like a lone sun on a far horizon. And if she had admitted to herself, it was that loneliness, and the hope of an impossible cure, which guided her feet down the passage to Capt. Ridley’s door. As they began to talk, Myla wondered if he could sense her unease.
Of course, he offered to help. The longer she worked with him, the more she saw the soft spot he had for people in need. As she settled the wig on her head, Myla wondered briefly if Capt. Ridley knew that about himself. Jinn certainly did—helping other people seemed to be a mission for him. Glancing at her image in the mirror of her room, Myla stopped and looked at the disguise she wore. It seemed oddly appropriate somehow, that she should look unfamiliar to herself. She was a slave with no master, a soldier with no purpose. For the first time since the massacre at the training center, Myla let herself feel her freedom and ask the question that had been planted by Capt Starr. “Who do you want to be, Myla?” Pulling the zipper of the snug top down another half inch, Myla made a determined decision, perhaps the first one she had ever made for herself. She would do whatever it took to get the answers she was looking for, not only about Delilah, but about herself, as well.
So pretending to be a sex goddess was a little easier than she expected. Maybe watching all of the Jedi Jezebel movies had rubbed off. It had felt like a big risk to mislead the Deshade guard at the PorSec site, but after watching Capt Ridley do it so many times, Myla felt like she was catching on to the game a little more. And it was a game to the captain, she realized, as he introduced himself as Dr. Rosenthal from Alderan. Again. So trusting Jinn and Capt Ridley to back her play, Myla tried her best to mimic a porn star wannabe. And it had worked! They were to be taken to meet the owner of PorSec, billionaire Sal Polt! Myla was brimming with excitement at her own accomplishment and with the heady anticipation that she was one step closer to Delilah. But the more Sal talked, the worse Myla felt. Delilah was in jail. Her fiance was murdered. Sal didn’t think Delilah was the murderer. But while he felt bad for her, since Delilah was going to be leaving PorSec, Sal had no particular obligation to her, either. Myla tried her best to keep herself together and play the role she had created, but a part of her wanted to beat and scream at the repugnant businessman to tell her every single piece of information about Delilah. How long had he known her? Where did she come from? The need for answers simmered Myla’s frustration, but she had learned from her mistake on the mission for Rico’s salvage. Instead of impulsively shooting Sal Polt in his khakied kneecap, she painted a smile on her face and told him how much she was looking forward to possibility of working at PorSec.
This was it. The moment. Delilah was on her way to the room where Myla sat with Capt. Ridley, Jinn, and Sgt. Hal Horn. Her nerves taut, she looked at each of their faces. Capt. Ridley seemed self-contained as ever, but Myla had learned that underneath the disaffected exterior, his mind was always on alert, always looking for the angle; if there was even the tiniest bit of knowledge to be gleaned, he would find it. Examining Jinn’s face, Myla felt some of her anxiety melt. It meant a lot to her that he did not even hesitate to take off his helmet when they got to the police station; he never took the helmet off in public. And he had offered his personal protection and responsibility for Delilah; Once Jinn gave such an offer, Myla knew he would do everything in his power to honor it. She felt better having both of her comrades with her. A part of her even wished Fe were there. Sgt. Hal Horn had been helpful and not given them too much grief about their alibis, for which Myla was grateful, since every breath seemed to increase her tension. She wished briefly that they were going into combat instead; that she understood, that she knew. She had never faced anything like this before, not even on her first mission. Her heart was racing, the adrenaline streaking through her body. She was about to meet Delilah. And Myla felt trapped by her fear—she was afraid that this moment could change everything about her and she was terrified it wouldn’t. Then, with a soft click of a door handle, a young woman with Myla’s face walked into the room and called her by name.
Most of the conversation was a blur. Myla heard herself asking questions, listening to explanations. But she was numb, no longer capable of feeling anything. She had parents. A part of her she didn’t recognize had felt a stab of grief at learning her mother was dead. And a father? She could not comprehend all the implications that followed such a revelation. And here in front of her, a sister. A sister she did not remember from a family she had never known. Myla felt hollow as all of the anticipation, all of the adrenaline emptied out of her. She heard the details of Delilah’s story as they were revealed—the life of a sex slave, the mysterious death of her fiance Darian Falk, how he had paid Delilah to finance her freedom from PorSec, his connections to Nar Shaada and the slave trade there, the evidence against Delilah—but Myla couldn’t figure out what it all meant. She felt adrift like a ship with no anchor. Thankfully, Capt Ridley and Jinn had stepped forward to try and help Delilah, offering her a different lawyer and talking with Sgt. Horn about custody arrangements. And then she and Delilah locked gazes. Not knowing what to say, Myla said the only thing that came to her mind, “I’m sorry.” Sorry for everything that had happened to Delilah, sorry in some way, for everything she herself had been through. Delilah had tried to brush it off, but Myla recognized her twin’s expression. She’d seen it on her own face once, in the mirror of the treatment room where the medic had cleaned the bleeding whip marks on her back. Though she may have tried hard to hide it, part of Delilah desparately wanted someone to care. And then the anger, the overwhelming need to do something to fix it all settled in Myla’s veins and beat in time with her heart. Myla had found an anchor and purpose she never expected. Myla had a family.
A new kind of energy propelled Myla now. She felt strong, she felt confident. Jinn and Capt Ridley decided that more information could be discovered at PorSec. Since Sal Polt had invited them back to the PorSec studios for a party, they determined that an undercover operation would work best. Picking up Fe from the Sunrunner, Myla and the crew went back to PorSec. While Capt. Ridley, Jinn and Fe hid in another room, Myla went to seduce Sal Polk into the ambush. It was harder this time to play the role, almost as though Sal could see through her every expression. Regardless, once confronted by Myla and the crew, Sal was forthcoming in his knowledge of Delilah’s and Darian’s relationship. He confirmed that Delilah was indeed free, after giving him the money Darian had provided for her freedom. He added that Darian had not purchased Delilah himself, but enabled her to pay for her own liberty. As the crew put Sal’s through more questioning, Myla was surprised to hear herself talking so much. Usually, she let the captain and Jinn do all of that, but she had her own questions this time. Sal further shared that Kitty Karlisle, the Jedi Jezebel herself, had also been in a relationship with Darian Falk; in fact, from what Sal had heard, Darian had originally planned to free Kitty from her contract at PorSec. And to add insult to injury, Kitty had recently been “put to pasture” in favor of the newest porn megastar, Delilah. Sal then suggested that the crew mingle at the party where they could gather more information. Myla steeled herself to do whatever, and possibly whoever, to get the answers she needed.
The party room was filled with glowing lights and mirrors. There was nowhere Myla could turn without seeing an image of herself looking back. It was disconcerting to see herself. Not only did she not look like herself in the disguise, she didn’t feel like herself anymore. She tried to keep focusing on the people and the conversations, but she had so many questions throbbing through her mind. After enduring a conversation with the dull, narcissistic Dash Dingles, Myla felt her energy waning. The only thing she had learned from Dash was that he was a colossal asshole. She had only shaken him off with a promise of sex, but decided that Fe could better handle the situation. The little Jawa was always armed with at least one grenade. Wanting to end this charade, she looked over to where she had earlier seen Capt Ridley talking to Misty Dawn. She knew that Jinn had been watching over the whole group and had felt his protective gaze on her as she was talking with Dash, but she could not find him now. Myla was about to look for her comrades in earnest, when Misty came over to her. Myla wasn’t sure what to think as Misty proclaimed her adoration for her twin; it struck her as strangely embarrassing that this woman knew what she, Myla, looked like naked, even though they’d only just met. But Misty at least gave her more insight into Kitty Karlisle and Darian Falk. Kitty had been very jealous of Delilah, and Misty thought Darian was a “bad man.” As Misty signed her name and number across Myla’s exposed cleavage, Myla saw Capt Ridley and he gave the signal to withdraw. Myla was relieved to finally leave the party, and the people, and the chaos she’d been experiencing all day.
Now this was familiar. It felt good to carry the blaster, to prepare for a possible battle. From the party, the Sunrunner crew prepared to examine the scene of Darian Falk’s murder at Deliliah’s apartment. After a day of so many revelations and changes, Myla almost felt a sense of comfort at having to focus on just the task at hand. She felt the solid weight of the blaster pistol and it felt right. Hearing a noise behind the door of Delilah’s apartment, Myla tensed. Well, at least some things never changed. Here they were again, readying for action. She waited for Capt Ridley’s signal and pushed open the door, as Jinn threw a stun grenade into the apartment. Looking into the room, Myla saw the Trandosian’s surprise as he yelled out, “What the…?!”