In the end we never made to Dantooine. It was one of those times where the journey was far more important than the destination. It was a day after our little fight in the cantina. Our bruises were healed and we were in high spirits. It was as if a great weight had lifted from our shoulders. Personally I thought that it was that the constant ripple caused by dying Jedi had been replaced by the occasional dull thud. Andrew just thought it was because we were alive, but I knew better.
But enough of my ramblings. Through the will of the Force, a will I had already seen enough of for one lifetime, we were thrown into battle once again.
We were both asleep when they attacked. There was an explosion that threw us out of our bunks. In the usual show of Jedi reflexes and reaction time we both rushed towards the cockpit out of our separate bunkrooms.
A quick diagnostic of the shipboard maintenance computer revealed all we needed to know. A space mine had hit our hyperspace generator. We still had control of the ship, but we couldn’t jump into hyperspace. A quick glance out the window revealed a Corrillian Corvette lingering off our port bow. Pirates. Pirates with their cowardly tactics. Crippling a ship with a gravitic mine before sauntering up and taking what they wanted. But I wasn’t ready to give up so easily.
“Bloody pirates,” I remember growling.
This particular group of scum was obviously experienced. The moment we recovered our pitch they locked onto us with a strong tractor beam. I knew that if they discovered we were Jedi and captured us we would probably end up as Palpatine’s breakfast. I ground my teeth at the thought of Andrew in that madman’s clutches as I deployed a hidden torpedo turret and fired at their tractor beam generators. Resistance, however, was futile. Their shields were too strong. We were slowly but surely being pulled towards a hangar bay on the blockade runner. We landed with a soft thud inside. I knew what they would do first, but for some reason I was slow to react. I should have told Andrew to hide and myself leapt from the escape hatch, lightsaber blazing. But no; while I sat idle, they attached a concussion bomb to our hull and detonated it. Our ears exploded, and we fell into enveloping darkness.
When we awoke we were in force cages. That’s no new experience for me but poor Andrew did not handle it well. He was a nervous wreck, lekku twitching gibberish and often bumping into the force field. I knew I would have to use my limited medical training to tend to multiple burns.
We were both in the same room, though in separate cages. We were in a cluster of imprisoned individuals positioned at one end of the room. Our captors, a Rodian and a Trandoshan, were at the other end, talking softly between themselves.
Normally a person in my situation would have simply given himself up to the will of his captors of the will of the Force or somesuch nonsense. I, for one, had had enough of both and was determined to get both myself and my charge safely away. Using Force-sharpened hearing I listened to the pirates’ conversation.
“A Jedi! We sell him to the new Empire and the whole crew buy their own planet!” exclaimed the Rodian animatedly.
“Not to Palpatine, he is too much of a backstabber. We sell him to the Black Sun and all retire to the crew’s personal system!” came the hissing reply.
If it had been a week earlier I would have stayed, gone into the criminal ring and destroyed it from the inside. But I was unwilling to risk Andrew’s life. They already knew I was a Jedi; I would have to work fast. I called the Rodian over and used a slight mind trick on him.
“Wait! Don’t talk to the Jedi! They can crawl into your head and make you go mad!” cried the Trandoshan in its language.
The Rodian quickly backed away. I couldn’t get a full lock on him; just enough to daze him for a minute. As he stood near me I saw that the key card to the force cage was in the Rodian’s back pocket.. Getting the card from him would make plenty of noise, however, and I didn’t want to alert the rest of the crew. I tried to use the Force to deactivate the cage from a com terminal near the two thugs, but it was voice locked and security coded. I had to smile as an alternate plan came to me.
I remembered a holovid I had seen as a child where a Jedi had used the Force to fake his own death to escape from his captors.(Master Yoda had made us watch and look at all the wrong things the Jedi did in the movie) I had seen it as a stupid idea thought up by a random write in the bowels of Coruscant, but under these circumstances, I decided to give it a go. I clutched my chest and fell to my knees, breathing hard and using the Force to make my heart beat incredibly fast. A cry from Andrew alerted our unpleasant friends as to what was happening, and the medical monitor attached to the force cage began beeping urgently.
“No! If he is dead we only get half of price for him!”
My plan was working perfectly. They deactivated the force cage. Immediately I leapt up.
I pushed the surprised Rodain into a wall. There was a crack and the poor Rodian slid to the floor. The Trandoshan, however, reacted very quickly. He drew a nasty-looking curved dagger from its sheath and threw it at me. I attempted to duck but the dagger managed to nick my arm. It clanged with a shower of sparks against the wall. Using the Force I pulled the unconscious Rodian’s blaster from its holster. I was about to fire it in the general direction of the Trandoshan’s head when I suddenly had an unbearably urgent need to lie down. I stood there not having enough energy to pull the trigger as my fingers felt like lead.
“Ha, stupid Jedi, not even you can defeat me. I dipped that dagger with a tranquilizing poison called Crashik. Now you will be completely helpless!” The slimy hiss was maddening.
Normally anyone, even a Jedi, would be doomed. I, however, am special case, being a crossbreed between a human father and an Abita mother. I retain almost all of my father’s characteristics, but only one of my mother’s; the ability to process, absorb, and counteract poisons.
So my defensive bodily systems quickly dealt with the poison. My strength was renewed, and I pulled the trigger. Thank the Force there was a silencer attached or I would have been barraged with bounty hunters.
I briefly considered freeing the other prisoners, but a quick probe into their minds told me they were murders, thieves, and other scum the galaxy would thank me for not releasing back into its ranks.
Using the keycard from the back pocket of the unconscious Rodian I freed Andrew from his force cage. The other prisoners began to shout for us to free them, making immediate escape imperative. We both took ugly blaster rifles out of sheaths on the pirates’ bodies. Both were average TC-14 blaster rifles, but they had horrible-looking bayonets attached to them.
With grim smiles we set off, determined to escape with our pride intact…
Never was anything great achieved without danger.