The Ugly Twi’lek
“Cool your jets, kid, oh gods,” muttered the Ryn, rubbing at his face. He reeked of cigarette smoke, whiskey, beer, and other scents he couldn’t quite place. On top of that he felt as if his head was as heavy as a Bantha, and that an entire family of Ugnaughts had moved into his skull and started working on things. His clothes, trousers and a long sleeved shirt with an extremely colorful vest that he couldn’t recall ever putting on were grimy and…sodden. With a shaking outstretched hand he took the datapad the child was offering, groaning as the backlit display stabbed into his brain, contrasting sharply with the dim lighting of the bar.
“Oh you can’t be serious, Uji,” he sighed, slowly pushing himself to his feet. “Find me some…what’s that stuff called? It’s clear, don’t taste so great.”
“Ya need it to survive, ummm…”
“W…water?” she asked, staring at him in disbelief. Everything about the girl’s body language screamed she was ready to run. Kord sighed, if she did that he’d get an earful from Uji, for certain.
“Yeah, dat’s the stuff lass,” he said, scrolling through what the information attached to the mission summary. Safehouses, security lockers…one of those safehouses wasn’t far, he noted on the small map of Ol’val. “Ah, thanks kid…wish I had some meds, this headache ain’t goin’ away in a hurry.”
Swigging some water into his mouth, he swished it about and spat it out on the floor, before drinking the whole glass down. With little care he tossed the cup away, listening to the plastic container clatter it’s way across the filthy barroom floor as he began to pace.
“Alright, kid…can’t very well keep callin’ ya that, now can I? Ya got a name?”
“Mister we need to go!”
“Name, kid. We’ll sort out the ‘why’ and the ‘who the kark is chasin’ ya’ later.”
“Liri, my name is Liri. Now can we go!? I’m sure they saw me go this way!”
“Right, Liri. Ya already know I’m Bleu. Cut out the Mister garbage though, makes a bloke feel bloody old. Oi, my head,” he finished with a mumble, grabbing at his temples as he sway and nearly fell down.
“Are you okay?” Liri asked, uncertainty in her voice. Kordath wouldn’t blame the kid if she did bolt at this point.
“Am I okay? Girlie, I get on station to enjoy me couple of days off, eh? Every. Bloody. Time. I do, somebody finds somethin’ for me ta do while I’m here. It’s bleedin’ insane, I’m karkin’ hungover, and not to be mean, lass, but everytime ya speak it feels like somebody is drillin’ into me forebrain. Not yer fault, me own.”
Kordath sighed and took stock, he had…well he had his wallet it seemed, that was good. He also had somebody else’s, he noted peering at it in bewilderment. Patting down the exuberant vest he’d woken in he found a pack of cigarettes and a pack of matches. Sighing again he stowed these things and debated leaving the vest, before thinking better of it.
“Right, kid, let’s blow this joint and get ta one of the safehouses, eh? See if we can’t find some grub and maybe some clean clothes for meself.”
“Umm, o…okay, Mister.”
“Bleu, lass, call me Bleu.”
“Yes, Mister Bleu.”
Kordath let out another long sigh and rubbed at his eyes. This was going to be his whole bloody day. Ushering the small Mirialan towards the exit of the Ugly Twi’lek, Kordath glanced around in confusion.
“I started out in the Ducts last night, swear I did,” he muttered, “How’d I end up in a bar in the Besadii district? Kark me, my head hurts…how much money did I spend last night? Why am I soaked? Why’d I get saddled with a bloody brat?”
“Oh bloody hell, really?”
A trio of Humans were running down the road towards Kordath and Liri, pulling collapsable shock batons from their jackets as they did. While they came running up, Kordath put his brain to work, taking in the information he could gather from them.
Well dressed, well groomed. Nice suits, those shock batons ain’t cheap toys either. Comlink ear pieces in as well, so there’s gonna be more of them about. Grand, bloody grand. So much for not gettin’ spotted with the kid. Long as they dunno I’m Force Sensitive I can at least keep this away from the Clan.
Kordath placed a hand on Liri’s shoulder and pushed her back behind him, stretching the muscles in his neck as he did. Morning workouts while hungover always sucked for the Ryn, but the blood and adrenaline would at least help him burn off some of the alcohol in his system. The MIrialan girl started crying behind him. Bleu sighed, closing his eyes as the men closed in and opened himself up to the Force, reading their movements before they happened.
The first attack came in swift and reckless, thinking the Ryn to be an easy target. Kordath’s eyes popped open as he fell into the pattern of the fight, knocking the thrusted baton aside with the back of his left hand. His right he flattened and lashed out with, knocking the Human in the throat with vicious precision. Bleu stepped slightly to his left, his tail reaching back to gently coax Liri to follow as he watched the next attack go swinging downwards. If he’d not moved the baton would have caught him atop the head, instead the man stumbled forward and found the Ryn’s knee in his midsection.
Bringing his right elbow down sharply on the back of the now winded man’s neck, he sent him tumbling to the ground. That left one, who was stepping back cautiously. Bleu realized the man was biding his time, the comm piece in his ear was likely relaying information about incoming reinforcements.
“Kid, stay put,” growled the Arconan before stepping towards the man, who jerked his shock stick up defensively. Kordath narrowed his eyes at the man as he casually worked a foot under one of the dropped batons before kicking it up at the Human. The well dressed thug knocked it aside with his own weapon, only to widen his eyes in shock as he realized the Ryn had done it to open his defenses. Kordath stepped in towards the man, kicking out at the Human’s knee cap, locking it up and then some. The man screamed and fell to the ground, clutching at his leg, before Kordath gave him a solid kick to the temple.
Bleu knelt and collected the earpiece from the man, stowing it away in his pocket and turning to face LIri. She was standing silently, mouth open and staring with her traveling pack hanging by her fingers.
“Ya alright, lass?”
She nodded silently in reply, still staring.
“Well don’t just stand there like a bloody rock, we gots ta move, don’t we?”
Kordath patted the girl on her head as he walked by, feeling a bit more lively for the morning exercise. Whistling through his fluted nose the Ryn pulled the pack of smokes from his mystery vest, lighting it with a match and taking a long pull from it, he smiled.
“How’d you do that?”
“Wot? LIght a bloody match?”
“No, what? I meant…those men. How did you do that? You moved like you knew what they were going to do before they even did it!”
“Ah…girlie how much ya know about, umm, me, I suppose?”
“Just that the men who rescued me from the lab said that if anything happened to them, I was supposed to find you.”
Kordath started coughing as he nearly swallowed the lit cigarette, pounding at his own chest to try and clear the smoke.
“Wait, what? What men? No, ya know what, we’re almost to the safehouse, we’ll get into it there, eh?”
“Okay, Mister Bleu. Oh, Mister Bleu?”
“Thanks for not letting them take me.”
“No…no problem, kiddo,” mumbled the Ryn, trying to fight all the horrible thoughts developing in his mind.
’…rescued me from the lab.’ Well kark me right in the tail, if this kid’s a science experiment gone wrong…nah, she seems to normal for that. Not getting any weird vibes from her, so…so.
The Ryn was at a loss as they walked, Liri hurrying to keep up.
Kordath scrubbed at his face in the small refresher unit of the safehouse, feeling a bit more civilized as he washed the sleep from his eyes. Not to mention whatever had dried onto his face as he laid face down in the bar last night. He turned to find Liri standing in the doorway, holding up a bundle of cloth.
“I found these in one of the drawers, Mister Bleu!”
Kord shook out the bundle, finding them to be some musty smelling pants and a cleanish shirt.
“Well, thanks kid. Did I see a kettle in that lil’ kitchen? Why don’t ya get some water on, we’ll get us some tea going while I change, eh?”
“Sweet kid,” muttered the Ryn, closing the door and peeling off his filthy clothes. Taking a few minutes to use a towel and the sink, he cleaned up as best he could, though the smell wasn’t going to come out despite his scrubbing. At least he felt cleaner as he got dressed and exited the ‘fresher.
Liri had found a couple of chipped and abused looking cups somewhere, and something that was probably proper tea once long ago. Either way, it tasted better than water, as Kordath sat at the small table in the safehouse kitchen across the Mirialan girl. The Ryn tapped at the table with his offhand, sipping at the tea and wondering where to start.
“So…the men, who…rescued you. Who were they?”
“You mean you don’t know? They gave me the datapad and said to find you in case we got separated.”
“You got seperated, then?” asked the Ryn, sitting up straighter. If they’re still out there, maybe I can just get her back to them and get out of this mess…
“Not exactly…” she started, eyes darkening. “Some of the people looking for me found us. They…umm, they didn’t have shock sticks that time.”
“I see,” growled the Ryn, disliking where this was going. “I’m guessin’ they’re dead?”
She nodded, he sighed.
“Serious lookin’ blokes, dressed casual like and pretty well armed, the men who save ya?”
“Y…yes. They were very business like, not like you. But they weren’t mean either!” she rushed out the last bit, as if trying not to speak ill of the dead.
“It’s alright, lass. Sounds like DIA agents, considerin’ the safehouse map lead us to this place. Which means…what they rescue you from, anyways?”
Liri’s expression went from sad to stone. Kord had never seen a thousand yard stare on a preteen before, but this girl was pulling it off.
“Partheos,” she whispered, the first signs of tears in her eyes. “They saved me from Partheos.”
“Dunno that name, lass. Guessin’ he ain’t a nice guy, though.”
“My father worked for him. My dad was an electronics engineer, he made things that could make other things work better. Make them smaller, use less power, be more stable, that sort of thing.”
This girl sounds bloody serious for a kid, she’s been through some stuff.
“What about yer mum?”
“She…,” Liri bit her lip and stared into her cup of tea, “she died a few years ago, before Partheos found my dad and me. Father was devastated, when Partheos offered him a job he decided to take it because the credits were good enough that he’d be able to take care of me. He wanted to send me to a private school somewhere in the Core so I’d be safe, since he didn’t think he could raise me on his own.”
“Sounds like he wants the best for ya, lass.”
“Wanted. He was always honest with me, even about the stuff that he knew I wouldn’t really understand yet. He loved me, he just didn’t think he’d do a very good of being a dad. Partheos gave him a job, then wouldn’t let him send me away.”
“Kept ya as a hostage,” growled the Ryn, hand clenching on his mug.
Liri nodded, “He made dad work on weapons, that’s what Partheos does. He builds guns, bombs, stuff like that, has scientists that he ‘hires’ make new stuff and sells it. I…I know where some of his labs are, and seen stuff that said where his warehouses are. Dad stood up to him one day, and Partheos…had…”
“I get it, lass, ya don’t–”
“Yes. I do. He killed my father,” she said, tears running down her cheeks, but the girl’s jaw was set. “He killed him and kept me as a slave, having me do work around his home and ship. Keeping me ‘until I got older’ he’d keep saying.”
The cup of tea in Kordath’s hand shattered, blood dripping from the Ryn’s clenched fist. “I see.”
“The…the men who came and got me were looking for my father, said they’d been sent to find him because they heard he was working for Partheos. They said they could get us to safety and that he could work for them if he wanted to, or just give them any information on Partheos we had and they’d get us somewhere safe.”
“What’d they do when they found just you, Liri?” asked the Ryn, quietly, watching the tea pool on the table.
“They took me anyways, I told them I knew where some of Partheos’ places were. I really do, I didn’t just say it so they’d rescue me.”
“I believe you, lass,” the Ryn spoke gently, “They got ya out, I was the backup plan, I guess. Sorry, nobody told me about this goin’ on, but I’ll not let them get ‘hold of ya. The pad says the plan was to keep ya safe till we get the call that a ship has come to get ya. You’ll be safe after ya get off Ol’val, I’m sure of that. Not gonna let nothin’ happen to ya while you’re still here, neither, girl.”
“Thank you, Mister Bleu,” she whispered, sniffling.
“Dinna mention it, kid. You’ve had a rough day, there’s a bed in the corner, get yerself some sleep, I’ll be up. Get some rest.”
“Okay,” she said, wiping her face with her sleeve.
Kordath watched as the girl curled up and pulled a blanket over herself, hugging the travel pack to her boy. He felt a surprising amount of anger welling up inside as he went over what she’d told him in his head. It was no secret that the Ryn wasn’t a fan of slavery in general, and abuse of kids particularly got him riled. This though, this was almost somehow worse. This Partheos had been ‘holding on to her’ until she got older. That meant one of two things, either he was gonna sell her, or…or…
The Ryn restrained himself from punching the table as he glanced at the sleeping girl in the corner. Best not to wake her, he decided. Instead he pulled the comm piece he’d picked off one of the thugs from earlier and keyed it on, placing it in his ear.
”…lost them somewhere towards the Plaza. She had a Ryn with her, colorful vest on. He beat the poodoo out of us, sir, it was unreal.”
”Really? A Ryn? That shouldn’t be too hard to find, start asking questions of the locals, say he stole something, that’s believable enough.”
”Copy that, sir. Had to call for a medivac for Jensen, he wouldn’t wake up.”
”Blast, I’ve got backup on it’s way already, just find that girl!”
“Guess that’s the one I kicked in in the skull, must not have realized I took his comm yet. That’s good,” murmured the Ryn to himself with a little smirk. Getting to his feet he started scrounging about the small apartment, finding a few canned food items and some dry rations. Definitely a DIA safehouse, he decided, as he started putting together the beginnings of a meal. Kordath didn’t consider himself a proper cook, though he’d done the job here and there in his travels, but he could scrape something together with this. If he and Liri had to make a quick exit, he preferred they’d had something in their bellies first.
A yawn, followed by a low rumble caused Kordath to glance over at the corner, to see Liri sitting up in the bed wide eyed and holding a hand over her stomach. He gestured at the table, where a pot and ladle sat.
“Get some food into ya, girl, sounds like you need it anyways. We might be movin’ soon.”
“What about you?”
“I ate while you slept, just…get some food into ya, gonna step out for a moment.”
“Calm yerself, lass. Just steppin’ out into tha hall to get a look at things. We was in a bit of a hurry when we got here, gotta get a better lay o’ the land.”
“Oh, you didn’t do that while I slept?”
“Liri…you woke up and I was gone, how bad would it have been?”
“I see your point, okay, I’ll…I’ll be okay.”
“Good on ya, lass, just eat and Bleu’ll be back in a minute.”
Kordath stepped into the hall of the apartment building, closing the door behind him gently. No reason to make too much noise, paranoid tenants looking around and seeing a Ryn, while guys were asking questions about him would be…bad. They were on the third floor of the building, which was only a block away from Jerem Plaza. He wandered down the hall till he found the stairwell that ran up the side of the building, with windows set at each landing. Glancing out he watched the streetway below, watching a group of Mal Company security guards and FOTW droids patrolling.
Guess Partheos doesn’t have enough pull to have them looking for us, doesn’t look like they’re questioning folk. That’s good, hate to tangle with Mal Co, I like being able to come to this bloody station for R&R.
Taking a last look, he felt a tingle in the back of his brain, the Force whispering to him about threats. Along the other side of the street was one of the hotels that housed visitors to Ol’val, it’s roof standing about one story above where Kordath was presently. The tingle intensified, and the whispers became shouts that caused the Ryn to flatten himself against the wall next to the window as a slug came speeding through the glass. Poking his head around, he spotted a man with a rifle atop the hotel, and cursed. It’d been silent, suggesting the man had a silencer. Another glance down showed the security forces continuing their patrol.
Reaching out with his Senses, enhanced by the Force he could feel and hear booted feet below, on the ground floor. Cursing, the Ryn spun and ran away from the stairwell, hearing more glass shatter as another shot tried to take him down. Huffing as he pounded his way down the hall, no longer caring if the locals could hear him, he got to the apartment door and flung it open. Liri screamed and dropped her spoon in surprise, before realizing it was Kordath.
“Mister Bleu! You scared me!”
“Grab yer bag, girlie, we gotta go!” he shouted as he began to search through drawers, seeing if he could find a proper knife or anything else the DIA might have left as supplies.
“They found us?” she asked, quietly.
“Yer bloody well right they did, now get yer bag!”
“Maybe…maybe you should just go, Mister Bleu. They’re only after me.”
Kord stopped his frantic search as the softly spoken words sunk in, turning and kneeling next to the sitting Mirialan girl.
“Liri. Girl. I’m not lettin’ that Sleemo Partheos get his hands on ya. Not his thugs, not him. Gonna be honest, I know a lot of them DIA folks, some of ‘em are mates. Good chance one of ‘em was helpin’ get you out. Even if they hadn’t killed somebody I counted as a friend, I don’t like lil’ girls gettin’ hurt. Not bloody happenin’ while I can bloody well walk, so get yer bag.”
The girl looked at him, tears welling up again before nodding and wiping her face. Kord smiled and patted her on the head, “Good on ya, lass. Be brave, we just gotta give ‘em the slip, and I’m good at that sort of thing. Just follow me lead, do what I do.”
“Okay, Mister Bleu.”
Kordath moved to the back of the apartment, kneeling and looking out. Another building was up against the one they were in, a single story structure that was below them. Sighing at the cliche of it all, he started stripping the sheets from the bed in the corner and began tying it together.
“I know I know, it’s like a bad holodrama but we aint’ got a whole lotta options here, kid. You’re goin’ first, get down and stay low, don’t see nobody on the other roofs, but we dinna wanna chance anythin’, eh?”
Liri sighed as she swung herself out of the window, clutching the bedding that Kordath was holding on to. She slid down quickly, trying not to cry the whole way down. Bleu heard boots pounding down the hall outside and grimaced. He felt the weight of the bedding rope suddenly relieve itself and nearly panicked before looking out the window, seeing Liri on the roof below in one piece. He tossed the rope down and turned to push the table up against the apartment door. Moments later he heard someone try and kick it open, shaking the table and door. With a deep breath Kordath climbed out of the window. Hanging by his fingertips he closed his eyes and focused, letting go of his grip and falling.
He was surprised Liri didn’t scream again, and felt oddly proud of her. Using the Force he pushed away from the roof as he came down, slowing his descent enough that when he hit it at a roll it didn’t do any serious harm. He’d be sore for days, he knew, but nothing broke at least. A quick check showed Liri hiding behind an air conditioner unit not to far away.
“Ya alright, lass?”
“Y…yes, how did you do that!?”
“Dinnae worry about it right now, we gotta keep goin’. Ya got the datapad still?”
“Uh huh, here.”
“Grand, another safe house…looks to be in the Ducts, that’s good. Blooding womprat warren, be harder for them to track us, and folk there don’t like answerin’ questions to much when they’re bein’ asked by blokes as well dressed as these guys. Now let’s get off this roof before…” he was cut off as blaster fire suddenly rained down towards them, gouging several smoking holes in the rooftop and causing Liri to huddle up against Kordath, shaking.
Kark me, she’s gonna go into shock on me if this keeps up.
Gathering the Mirialan up he sprinted across the rooftop, trusting in instinct and the Force to keep them alive. As he came to the edge of the roof he spotted a speeder truck parked on the street below, delivering something to the shop they were atop. With a grunt the Ryn hopped from the roof to the top of the truck, scurrying across it to the cab, and jumping down to the road below. Panting a little, Kordath kept going, heading towards the Plaza, stopping as they rounded a corner. He kneeled and put Liri down, catching his breath.
“Ya gotta walk, kiddo, else the security folks will be wonderin’ what’s going on.”
“Can’t we ask them for help?”
“Not a grand idea, lass, if Partheos has any pull on Ol’val he might have some of them in his pocket. Not to mention we get put into ‘protective custody’ we’ll be real easy to find. Just act casual, we’ll be fine with people around.” He put his hand out as he stood, Liri took it and they began walking.
When they hit the Plaza the Ryn winked at her, and they joined the flow of people walking. He could feel frustration and anger from the direction of the apartment building, and in Jerem Plaza itself as people searched for them. Kordath was very glad he’d ditched the vest back at the safehouse, he’d have stood out in this crowd even. Still, he was almost certain they were closing in on them, it was hard to be unnoticed when you were the only one of your Species running about on a space station, even one the size of Ol’val. Traveling with the current of pedestrians, they made their way towards one of the entrances of the Ducts.
“Now when we get into the Ducts, lass,” he spoke quietly towards his charge, “you stick close, alright? Easy to get lost in there, which is what I’m countin’ on, eh? We shake ‘em in there, we’ll be able to hole up until they send somebody to pick ya up.”
Liri nodded, clutching his hand harder as they walked. Kord realized he’d not heard a peep out of his scavenged comm this whole time, from the start of the attempted assault till now.
Musta figured out that bloke I kicked didn’t still have his comlink, bugger. Ah well, just get to this hidey hole and keep our heads down.
They entered the caverns that made up the Ducts, and the Ryn began taking them through random turns, relying on his memory of the place and the map on the datapad. Slowly the sense of being chased faded, and he felt a calmness through the Force that suggested they were as safe as they could be in such a place. Breathing easier he smiled down at the girl, who gave him a nervous one in return, causing the Ryn to chuckle.
“Is alright, we shook ‘em, lass. Let’s go find this hideout, eh?”
“Good on ya, lass.”
DIA Safehouse, Ducts
Kordath sighed to himself, back against the wall as he kept an eye on the small door to the ‘safehouse’. He hadn’t gathered from the map that it was little more than a utility closet, barely five feet deep and three feet wide. Cramped was a word, claustrophobic was one as well. He’d managed to get the door controls to seal up properly, so there was that at least. Periodically he pulled on the Force to keep himself going, his hangover had faded to the point where he was just fatigued and wanting to sleep. As it was he couldn’t get up and move around to much to stay away, so he focused his thoughts and tried to keep his Senses sharp.
The Mirialan wasn’t helping with the staying awake bit, the tight quarters of the closet meant she was using him more or less as a bed. Curled up in his lap with her head against his chest, Liri was quietly snoring, the running and terror of the day had taken their toll on the girl. She shifted every now and then, letting out a little whimper until Bleu absently reached up to stroke her hair until she quieted and calmed down again. Occasionally he brought up the datapad to see if he’d received an update, but so far it’d been quiet.
There was no way the girl’s pursuers hadn’t at least tracked them to the Ducts, it was a logical escape point and somebody would have noticed a Ryn and a little green skinned girl walking together. Still, it was a big place, and it was confusing. With a sigh he put the datapad down and rubbed at his eyes, willing himself to stay awake. The day had been long, and pretty soon he’d have to take at least a nap, but he loathed the idea of sleeping. It felt to much like leaving the kid alone at this point, and that just felt…unacceptable.
A chirping sound drew his attention, and he noticed a small light on the corner of the datapad blinking. With trepidation he picked it up, keying the device on and seeing a short message.
Prepare for emergency extraction.
Kordath checked the chrono on the pad, 1720 hours it stated. Checking the map, he figured it’d take about ten minutes to get them there, if they rushed it. Sooner would be better, but…
Do I want to have us sittin’ out in the open for twenty bleeding minutes if we wander that way now? Nah. We’ll leave when we have ta.
With a sigh, the Ryn lightly knocked the back of his head against the wall a few time. This ordeal was almost over, which was good. Still, he found himself growing attached to the kid, she listened, she was quick, she didn’t talk back. That already put her in higher esteem than half the crew of the Nighthawk in his eyes. Another chirp broke his reverie, causing him to check the pad again.
Exfiltration will be at 1730 hours.
Multiple enemy personnel reported in Docks area.
Weapons free operation authorized.
“Oh kark,” said the Ryn.
“Hmm?” Liri blinked, looking up at him, “Oh, sorry, Mister Bleu.”
“It’s alright, lass, but we gotta get goin’, yer ride is on it’s way.”
“Aye, you are, dunno about me yet. Might be volunteering to help out whoever is goin’ after Partheos’ stuff, eh?”
“Mmmhmm, I’m awake, okay.”
“Right, kiddo, let’s get the hells out of here.”
“Where the hells is the ship!?”
“Mister Bleu? I think I hear people coming down the hall!”
“Ah bloody ‘ell, get over behind them crates, Liri.”
“No buts, girlie, get over there and don’t make a bloody sound, hopefully the ship’ll get here in time, eh?”
Liri looked conflicted, but did as she was told, running over to a pile of cargo containers and hiding. Kord debated doing the same, right up until a blaster bolt went blazing past his head. Instead he hit the deck and rolled sideways towards a cargo loader.
“Give us the girl, Ryn! Unless you want to die like the others did,” came a voice down the hall. Kordath glanced down, spotting half a dozen men with blasters arrayed around the blast doors.
“Can I nae think on it a moment, gents?” he shouted back.
Another volley of blaster fire sent sparks flying everywhere.
“That’s a no, then?”
“We’ve got no problem ridding the Galaxy of one of your kind, rodent! Give her up!”
“Bloody racists,” muttered the Ryn, hearing a roaring sound behind him.
“Calm yerself, lass, that’s friendly that is!” shouted back the Ryn, smiling broadly as he watched the assault transport settle and it’s side door slid open. A mass of heavily armed troopers spilled out, pouring fire towards the entry way. Kordath watched with amusement, which turned to surprise as he noted the markings on the commando’s armor.
“Oh bloody hell, hahaha!”
“Captain! We’ve got a clear exit for the ship already, just need to get you and the asset on board!” Shouted one of the Talon commandos over the sound of blaster fire.
“Kark me, it’s good to see you lot, Lieutenant…umm,” Kordath trailed off in embarrassment, realizing he’d never learned the names of the officers of the special forces unit attached to his ship.
“Kieran, Sir. Thought we were picking up a DIA field team?”
“I was plan two, Kieran,” replied the Ryn as he watched the firefight.
“I see, Sir. The asset?”
“Asset? Oh, cripes you mean Liri. She’s over there,” said Kordath, gesturing towards the pile of crates that the Mirialan was hiding behind. “Best let me get her on the shuttle, though, she’s had a rough time.”
“Sir! Alright, team, cover fire for the Captain while we get the asset on board!”
Kordath shook his head at the ‘asset’ talk and scrambled under the barrage of blaster bolts to get to Liri. The girl had her hands over her ears and was shaking and crying. He gently touched her shoulder, causing her to jump and open her eyes, he tried to give her a reassuring smile.
“Come on, lass, we’re getting on the shuttle there, eh? Now I know, it’s scary, all the shootin’ and whatnot, but I’ll be right there with ya, and nobody is gonna do nothin’ to ya, yeah?”
She nodded slowly, grabbing his hand, the Ryn pulled her up into a carry and turned to sprint to the shuttle. A loud report of a slug thrower could be heard down the corridor leading up to the blast doors, reminding Kordath of the sniper back at the apartment. The Ryn let out a scream of surprise as he got a foot onto the edge of the shuttle door as a round ripped through his shoulder and spun him over. Blood sprayed from the wound across the inside of the assault craft as he found himself halfway in on his back, Liri clinging to him still.
“Get…in…the…shuttle…girl,” he managed to gasp out, using his good arm to coax her into moving. She got off of him and into the shuttle and out of the open, before realizing what had happened.
“Mister Bleu!” she screamed, over the sounds of fighting as the Talons moved back in a tactical withdrawal. One armored hand grabbed the Ryn by the back of his shirt and pulled him the rest of the way in as the squad got on board, shutting the door. The girl tried to push past the troopers, one of his which pushed her back into a seat and strapping her in despite her protests. “He’s hurt! Mister Bleu!”
“Young lady!” shouted the trooper strapping her in, “We’ve got a medic in the squad, they’re looking at the Captain. I need you to calm down! He’s in good hands.”
“But he got hurt helping me! Let me see him!”
“Girl, we need you to calm down! The Captain will be okay. I swear, it looked like a flesh wound, he’s gonna bleed a lot but it’s not going to kill him, not with the medic helping him.”
Liri tugged at her restraints once more before collapsing back into the crash seat, sobbing. She could see blood spattered across the inner bulkhead of the shuttle, and could see the thrashing leg of the Ryn on the deck.
“Please don’t die, Mister Bleu,” she whispered.