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Old 03-12-2006, 04:49 PM   #26
machievelli
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Holani

The night life in the capital was nothing much to speak of. Holani wore her red sheath, slinking down the street. On Coruscant or Corellia it would have drawn wolf whistles and propositions. At home it would have drawn shocked stares. here it only drew appreciative looks.

She had decided on a restaurant near her hotel, passed what was euphemistically called Embassy row. Yeah, right. The factors of a dozen business conglomerates that traded with Echana. Not an ambassador among them. She walked slowly past them. The man who had been trailing her since dark was much better than the one that had picked her up when she had arrived. She could lose him, no problem. Just a quick tint of her hair, dress like a local, and that was it. But she couldn’t do that without alerting the locals that she knew she was under surveillance.

The waiter at the restaurant brought a steaming bowl of the local chowder as the first course, and she moaned her appreciation. That was followed by flaky fish fillets then strips of broiled Nerf in the local sauce, hot enough to scald the uninitiated.

A Twi-lek passed her table, staggering from too much drink. He jostled the table, and went on. Holani looked sourly after him, palming the earplug he had dropped as he past, sliding it into her ear.

“Talk.” The voice said.

She leaned over her meal, speaking softly in Hutt in case someone was trying to lip read. “The target is a blind woman. No way to gain the secret without kidnapping.”

The speaker paused. “Either kidnap or kill.”

“No other options?” Her heart froze at the callous order.

“If second option, entire family must die.” The voice said. “No chance of anyone keeping secret must remain.”

Great. Either tear a blind woman from her home or kill the gods alone knew how many. Holani bit her lip. Which was worse? She remembered the sweet face of the girl The gruff but friendly man. Father, brother, husband? Who knew?

“Choose.”

“Kidnap.” Holani sighed. “Need support vehicle.”

“Ship at space port. air car will be where you direct.”

She nodded. “Done. Tomorrow one block west of the hotel.” She ran her hand through her hair, the earplug not back in her hand. She dropped it into her water glass, where custom designed nanobots reduced it to it’s constituent molecules in seconds.

[i]All right Holani. You ran away from your family, your home, became not only a criminal but a master criminal. All so you could destroy someone’s life. Great resume.[/]

She stood, dropped her payment and a tip on the table, and went back to her room.

*****
The next evening, she looked at what she had gathered. A locally made knife in a slim jeweled sheath. Wide trousers with a russet bloused shirt below a green vest. The dye she had carried in her make up case had changed her hair from red to brown, and the second dye had darkened her skin to match the sun bronzed local look.
Contact lenses had turned her an equal brown.

The watcher assigned to her was down stairs, and she knew that. No one was watching her window, and there were no listening devices. This was the time.

As the night deepened, she took the can of climbing thread. Based on the silk of a spider of the planet Hapes, it was strong enough to hold three times her weight. She pulled on the special climbing gloves that would stop the silk from slicing her hands to ribbons, and attached the hardener tip. She sprayed an attachment on the wall beside her balcony, kicked her feet over the edge, and began abseiling down the wall. When her feet touched the ground she popped the tip, slicing the thread off cleanly, slipped the can into her pouch, and strolled nonchalantly down the street.

The car, driven by the same Twi-lek that had pretended to be drunk was waiting, and it lifted into the air. The pair rode silently until they settled in the small park near Breia’s home.

“Give me twenty minutes. If I am not back, go for option two.” She ordered. In her mind she considered the knife on her hip. If she couldn’t be back, she’d warn the family, kill this little Hutt slime, and turn herself in.

The shop was closed, but she could hear the rhythmic hammering from the forge. Softly she padded around, looking in through a crack in the door. Breia was at the forge as if she had never left.

“Come in.” She said. Holani stiffened, then shrugged resignedly, stepping into the room. Breia had not moved from the forge. Now she thrust the blade into the cooling vat, and turned. “I knew you would be back. There is darkness in you, and it would harm my entire family. Why?”

Holani stared at her in shock. “I was hired by Sogor to discover the secret of your super sharp blades. When I discovered that you were...”

“Blind?” She took off the mask. “Since I was Revana’s age. My father had an accident, the forge blew back.” She waved toward her face negligently. “The plasma seared my eyes and optic nerves. But why would that stop such a cold person?”

Holani was hurt by the comment. “I had considered kidnapping you, but I didn’t want to do that. I contacted the ones that work here for Sogor they only gave me one other option.”

“To kill me.”

“No, if it were that I might have been willing. I was to kill not only you but your entire family.” Holani closed her eyes, picturing Revana. To kill her...

“So your choice is what?” Breia asked as if it were a choice as to which dessert at a meal.

“To take you.”

“Speaking to the constable was not an option?”

“I may work alone but Sogor has others here. If I had told the constables your family would have still died. Even my death would not have stopped it.”

Breia nodded. “I sense you speak the truth. Knowing what I do of Sogor the murder of one extended family would be an exercise of little thought to him.” She turned, removing the robe and choosing a darker one. Without the bulky robes she was slim, and Holani‘s estimate of her age dropped from mid thirties to early 20s. She swirled a red traveling cloak over the, putting up the hood again. “We must go then.”

“What? You’re-”

“As you said. I could kill you or call the constables. Doing so would lead to the deaths of many. My life is not worth that.” Breia chose a staff that matched her new robe. ”Having me will not give Sogor what he wants. It is an equitable trade.”

Breia picked up her hammer, and laid it on the forge reverently. Then walked out.

Holani followed, walking beside her. “The hammer, a signal?”

“No, the robe. My brother worries about me, so he had a tracker with a life detector sewn into it. Right now an alarm is going out, and the local police will be moving in minutes.” Breia looked at her. “More than enough time for you to get away with me.”

They reached the car, and it rocketed into the sky. Breia sat face turned as if looking at the scenery.

“Why didn’t you get ocular implants?”

“When I was first blinded, I despaired. The stars were above me, and I can still remember their call. Without sight I felt worthless. But then I discovered the wonder of a world you cannot see.

“I found that I can hear the rhythm of the heart, the flow of what people say and what they really mean. That is how I knew you would harm me and my family.

“Then I learned that I could hear the song of metal as it cools. Portions of heated metal cool slower than others, and by striking them when the song reaches the right note, I can form it in the manner that astounds you all.

“I returned to the forge less than a year later, and began my first blade. When others saw what I had done they tried to learn, but no one I have met can hear the song, and that is necessary to form the metal.

“That is why having me will not give Sogor what he wants. It will earn your coin and little else.”

“All of this for nothing.“ Holani whispered.

Breia cocked her head, the empty sockets turning toward Holani. “You regret your choices. While your father has forgiven you, it will not return you home. Another must do that.”

“Just shut up.” Holani snarled.


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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