Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
If anyone had noticed, in my last chapter I cut it off a word short, but it was a matter of what is she asking, and the expletive you would have expected when she pursued it.
I also noticed that except fo LDR, none of you could even bring yourselves to comment!
Listen; if you're a member, it won't record that you you voited, so I can't hunt you down and do unspeakable things. Also, if you are not a member, join. It's quick and easy, costs you nothing, and if you have a comment, you can let me know.
Now on with the show...
Problems on the road
Kavar looked at the senate building in dread as they approached. Would the masters sense him? “I want you to think of a small animal you know that hides instead of fighting.” He told them.
“Are they Choobies?” Bastila asked.
He laughed. “No, they aren't Choobies. Do you know an animal on Talravin that hides?”
“Kalrags.” Bastila said. “They're bugs about this big,” She put her fingers about four centimeters apart. “If you don't clean up the dishes after a meal, they come out of the woodwork to eat and it takes forever to kill them. If they see you, they scurry under things, dishes, flatware, and hide.”
“Can you pretend to be a Kalrag?”
“As long as someone doesn't swat me.” She replied. “And someone explains what Choobies are.”
“We will later.” Marai said.
“That's what they always say.” Bastila commented sadly. “I asked my daddy what fierfeck meant and he didn't answer before I went away.” She cuddled her dragon. “Now he won't be able to, unless he finds me.”
“Add that to your list, Marai.” Kavar ordered.
She looked at him coolly. “And you can explain shutta for her.”
He rolled his eyes. “Gee, thanks.”
Kavar was ready to snap back when one of the dashboard lights flashed amber. He had enough time to note the location, Grav Coil 2, when it first flashed, then stayed solid red. He was reaching for the panel to do a diagnostic when there was a puff of oily smoke from the right hand forward section of the hull, then an instant later the aircar spun, nosing down and began to spin as it plunged toward the surface a kilometer below.
Atris in Transport-land:
Atris wasn't sure who she was more angry at; the universe in general, or herself. It had seemed a good idea to merely go home when Marai still tried to avoid her, but she had left the Temple so abruptly that she had not bothered to even plan for her trip home. Before she had become a Jedi hopeful, her parents had always dealt with money. Living for eight years among the Jedi she had never even handled money beyond the small amounts used for snacks and the occasional keepsake. When Jedi younglings traveled, it was more like a herd of nerf being taken to market, the older Jedi acting like nerf-hounds to keep them together, and the entire mass chivvied along from vehicle to ship to van to bus to train.
So this was her first experience traveling alone, and worst yet, dealing with the financial arrangements for that evolution.
She had brought every credit she had, fifteen, and it had taken only one to catch the local transport tram from the station near the temple to the transport center. But she needed two hundred for the cheapest transport from Coruscant to Echana, and that one would stop at every intervening planet on the Corellian Trade Spine between here and there, taking weeks.
She briefly considered merely walking up to the ticket kiosk, and telling the vender-droid that she was a Jedi on a mission. But that would cause it's own problems. While she was tall for her age of thirteen standard years, she still looked thirteen. That wasn't a real problem because the near human race that lived on Kreela looked like young humans too right up to dying of old age, but no one could imitate that silly accent that Kreelans had, and they usually had red or brown hair, not the silver of her own.
Besides, if she booked passage as a Jedi the council would be notified, after all, it would be their accounts that would pay for it. Not a wise move to break with the Jedi and return home secretly when you were using their money!
She paused by a long blank wall of windows looking out at the ships that were arriving, loading, unloading, and the crowds doing so as well. She had dressed in some casual clothes she had for lounging around among the other younglings and apprentices back on Cornet, and again her mind went back to Marai.
The legend was clear about Kashin-Dra. The Shadow warrior would be defeated not by force of arms, but by the love of his mate. On her home world bonding to a mate didn't differentiate by sex; her mother's business partners had been a bonded same sex couple and had seemed to be happy even if they were both men. Of course what she knew about sex on her home world could have been written on a store purchase card with a laundry marker. She wasn't sure how two females would go about it beyond giggling comments by mother to father about warm oil massages and hot tubs.
She touched the ceremonial dagger her father had given her before she left home. She could sell it, but to her people a blade was a symbol of grace given by the Goddess herself. Only weapons smiths were allowed to sell a blade. It could be given, traded, surrendered, taken, destroyed, even lost. But never sold. You would be throwing away her gifts if you did.
It was also used in meditation, when the Echani prayed. You would go through one of the Kitra; the stylized motions of actual combat as you concentrated on what you needed to have, be it knowledge, understanding, and, in her case, assistance in finances. She drew the blade, walking to an interior wall, stopping a step from it, closed her eyes and began the second kitra.
To the uninformed, it must have looked like she was in deadly combat with an invisible enemy armed as she was, all in slow motion. In her mind she pictured that opponent, and just out of spite, she used Marai's face. Watch the blade in the edge of her sight, instead watch the face and shoulders, where the intent of her opponent would be revealed. Marai's hands would shift as she contemplated an attack, and Atris' hands would match with the proper riposte, yet they were too far apart to strike at each other except for a throw. She moved as if she considered it, and her opponent's weight shifted in the proper counter to dodge a thrown blade. It went on for several minutes, until she struck and Marai fell to the ground dying. Atris stopped, going back to position one, and opened her eyes.
A crowd had gathered, and as she opened her eyes, they began applauding and shouting. There was a flurry of clicks as thrown credit chips began to land at her feet. She looked around confused until a young child ran forward, gathered them up, and handed them to her. “That was wicked!” The young boy said before running back to his parents.
She did a quick count, she had almost doubled her money. “Maybe you need music to go with it.” Someone commented. It was a young Twi-Lek her own age with a synthesizer board over his shoulder and a couple of friends.
“I beg your pardon?”
“To go with your dance.” He motioned toward the coins in her hand. “You get better performance tips when you have something like music.” He knelt, set out his board, and ran his fingers across the keys. It sounded like a small electronic organ. “Start again, and I'll play accompaniment. We'll split what we get.”
“Maybe I need something longer than this.” She motioned to the blade. “You need a sword or ritual brand to dance the more complex Kitra.”
“Zulik.” He spoke to the Twi-Lek boy with him rapidly in their language. He ran off, coming back a few moments later with odds and ends of piping, some with cleaning heads still attached. One was a broken mop handle about the length of a standard sword. Atris took it, weighing the wooden shaft in her hand. Then she closed her eyes again, and began to dance. After a moment, soft music enfolded her, and she began to match it in speed.
On his home planet of Meridia there was a fish called simply a screw-fish. As it swam, for some reason known only to the fish itself, it would go through a lazy roll every few meters so that it was like watching a barrel rolling snub fighter. When in danger, the fish would dive very fast, the spin increasing until it looked like a demented construction screw. It would hit the bottom at high speed, and auger into the mud where it would hide until the predator if fled had departed.
Unfortunately that wasn't mud approaching them in their terminal dive. Part of his mind considered that the air car would auger in for about five meters at this speed, until it's tail was buried in the ceramacrete below. Unfortunately again, the car was fifteen meters in length, and the part in front of that tail would be accordioned in to fit in that five meter hole, along with the passengers.
He wasn't sure what was worse. That he couldn't seem to regain control, that they all going to die very rapidly and messily...
Of the fact that the two lunatics in the back seat where whooping and hollering as if this were an amusement park ride.
Then he noticed something moving in front of him. Bastila had leaned as far forward as the restraint belt would allow, and reached for the panel with the red light. She went instead to the green button marked number five, touched it, changing the light to amber, then hit it again which made it go out entirely.
He immediately noticed the craft wasn't rolling that badly anymore. The girl repeated her magic with the red Grav coil two, and that light went out. He now had control again. Then he realized he was looking up at the surface as he pulled the stick back. They were in a long canyon about three times as wide as the aircar, flying about ten meter over the bottom of it and ahead a solid wall less than two hundred meters away
“Oh Fierfeck!” He screamed, yanking the stick back hard. The air car made a little hop, and now he was flying beside the canyon as he began to hit the brakes to slow down. The remaining grav coils flashed from amber to green as he finally slowed to a stop about five meters short of the wall on this level.
If one of them says again, I'm going to kill us all by diving back in. He promised darkly.
“That was fun!” Revan whooped. “I want to-”
“Say it and your bantha poo doo.” Kavar snarled. There was a whoop of a siren, and he groaned “Now what?”
Above and behind them there was a spotlight centered on them. He couldn't see what kind of vehicle it was, but he assumed the worst, constabulary, Senate Guard, maybe the military! It slowed beside them, and he suddenly realized it was only a repair tow truck. The driver was only a shadow, but Kavar could see a hand come up with a com link mike. He looked, then clicked the com panel.
“This is Safe-T tow #19. You people need some help?”
“Yes, please.” Kavar replied.
“According to local safety regulations we can't have passengers in the vehicles being towed. If you will kindly step out of the vehicle, please?”
“All right.” Kavar looked at the others. “Get out.” As Marai opened the door, he looked at Bastila. “How did you know that would help?”
She looked at him like he was an idiot. ”There are six coils, and if one on either end goes out, it will throw the balance completely off. But if you cut the coil that is directly opposite, like Grav coil five when grav coil two is the one that broke down, you have some control.”
“That was smart! And you think you're not a Jedi?”
“Not a Jedi.” She protested. “I'm Bastila.”
Kavar stepped down, closing the door. The tow truck deployed a tractor cable, connecting to the frame. As it did the two back doors on the right had side opened. “If you will get in, I'll take you to the closest repair shop.”
“Kavar.” Marai said softly. “Did you bring any money?”
“No.” Kavar admitted. “But I'll take the flak when the bill comes in.” He motioned, and the others went ahead. Kavar paused at the front door when he saw the driver was a Devaronian.
“Hey, most of the things they say about our males is hype.” He commented. “It's only a minute or so to the garage. Will you get in, please?”
Kavar climbed in, and the truck lifted, the poor Fantom 17 was being dragged behind it as the truck angled away from the course they had been on.
“It shouldn't take to long to fix a blown grav coil.” The driver commented. “May cost a few creds; about fifty. But that is not a lot.”
“Thanks for being there. I am Kavar.”
“Corlos.” The driver returned. There's the-” The com panel lit up.
“Corlos! Braaken Sho Ni Chalas, Vergan!”
The Devaronian looked at the panel hitting the reply button. “Shrangeen ai?”
The driver growled, then wrenched the yoke so that the vehicle swapped ends, and was heading back, not only to where he had picked up the Fantom, but perhaps a kilometer aft of that location.
Some Gotervandreg local named Vergan is trying to make time with my daughter!” The Devaronian almost roared.
“What's Gotervandreg mean?” Bastila piped up.
“Later!” Kvar screamed. “Listen, can't you-”
“It's closer to home than the garage!” Corlos replied reasonably. The truck drove, then slammed to a stop. Kavar's eyes widened as the driver popped the glove box, and pulled out a blaster. Then he was down, and headed toward an apartment where someone was standing in front of a door. Kavar gulped as the driver opened fire as if he wasn't running at full speed, and trying to be accurate at the same time which meant he wouldn't hit anything he aimed at. Worse yet, the figure, also a Devaronian male had drawn his own blaster, and was firing back. Kavar flinched as a bolt blew through the driver's door and out of the cab, missing him by millimeters. Another blasted through the windscreen of the car being towed.
“Get out! Move, Move, Move!” The younglings reacted with excellent discipline, diving from the truck to ground as the gun battle continued. There were several flashing lights in the sky now as constabulary units were inbound!
“Kavar!” Marai pointed ahead of the parked truck, at what looked like a Megatech limo. He nodded, then began shoving the others as they followed Marai. The girl opened the rear door, and began shoving the children into the car. Kavar reached it, and both he and Marai dived into the passenger compartment.
They all gasped, and the two eldest breathed a sigh of relief. “We're out of the line of fire, and the constabulary won't think we're part of it.” Kavar sighed.
“Kavar, there is a problem.”
“What problem?” He asked.
“If only one of us had carried a lightsaber, we wouldn't be hiding right now.”
“You know why I said we couldn't-”
“It's a given, but if one of us had, we wouldn't be hiding from Devaronians, Constables or Security-”
“Oh my.” Revan said, then wilted as the two older Jedi wannabes glared at her.
“If we had been carrying a light saber, they would have reported-”
“Yeah! But we could have told the constabulary it was Jedi business-”
“Jedi business? With all of us too young to be Knights! What kind of Shlackt are you shoveling?”
“What's shlackt?” Bastila piped up.
The pair turned, and in unison shouted, “Shut Up!”
“Listen, could you keep it down?” A voice asked reasonably. The two oldest Jedi paused, then looked at who was in the limo. Malak, Revan, Marai, Bastila, Kavar... But that had not been any of them. Like characters in a horror movie they turned toward the driver's compartment. There was nothing there, but then a foot rose up. They moved closer, looking over the seat at the man beneath the dashboard. He pulled out, and his fingers brought the car to life. “Shlackt is animal dung, so they mean what type of dung are you shoveling.” The man commented. “Any other... fun words you need explained?”
“Lots!” Bastila replied.
“Then you sit up front. The rest of you, kick back.” Then the limo roared into the night sky.
Last edited by machievelli; 08-26-2012 at 10:43 PM.