Above the City
Antar sat back as he awaited arrival. Four small, green fingers gripped the headrest in front of him, followed by two green lekku and then two blue eyes peering over the seat. The Twi’lek child smiled at the man behind her. The Knight taken aback for a moment returned the smile. She stuck her tongue out. The Arconan returned the gesture and the child giggled.
Her mother took the girls hand, “Sit down, little Aola.”
The little girl looked disappointed, but obeyed. “Yes, Misha.”
The civilian transport shuttle’s descent was slowed by the landing thrusters. Antar looked out the starboard side porthole in awe. A golden glow surrounded the city. He knew that it was caused by the light reflecting off the bay, but that knowledge did little to take away from the breath taking view. As the shuttle drew closer to the city the five points took shape and the colorful awnings became visible. Transportation around the city was provided by turbolifts to cut down on air traffic around Ciran, which only added to it’s beauty. There was no wonder that this jewel was a popular vacation destination of the galaxies most wealthy and influential.
Several customer officials stood behind stations set up to inspect the tourist, who had come to visit the Ciran. The Arconan stood in line and patiently waited for his turn to speak with the bribed official. He stepped up to the desk and presented his bag and forged Identicard.
“Welcome to Cirrus, sir,” the officer said. “How was your trip?”
“Long, but relaxing. Virtually no turbulence,” the Knight replied.
“Did you pack your own bag, sir?”
Antar’s stomach knotted. That’s not the correct reply. “Yes,” Antar replied quickly his mind racing.
“Do you have any fruits or vegetables to declare?” The official asked looking at the Knight.
The officer opened the bag. He began digging through the contents and pulled a small recon hovercam. “Why do you need this?”
“I’m a travel reporter. I’m a doing a story on Cirrus,” he answered.
“This will have to be confiscated they aren’t allowed within the city limits of Ciran. It will be returned to you on your departure,” the official informed him. “You can keep the camera though.”
Antar’s bearing became annoyed but he quickly nodded in agreement.
“How long do plan on staying, sir?”
“A day or two.”
“Do you have any weapons?”
The Knight looked to the left and saw the weapon-detector. “A DC-15S.”
“Place it in the box, please,” the official said handing him a ticket. “It will be returned upon your departure.”
Antar was glad he didn’t bring his lightsaber, as he placed the blaster in the provided lockbox.
“Please step this way, sir,” he pointed to the weapon-detector.
The Knight stepped through. Luckily the Czerka 411 in his boot didn’t trigger the device. The officer was waiting on the other side with his bag. “Enjoy your stay in Ciran, sir.”
“Thank you,” Antar nodded taking the bag.
The Arconan walked towards the exit of the port. His arm was suddenly grabbed. The shock caused him to jump as he turned. There stood the Twi’lek child from the transport. She smiled up at him. Her mother ran over and took her daughters hand.
“I’m sorry. She is a handful sometimes,” the Twi’lek woman, who dressed in fine clothing, said.
“It’s fine,” Antar smiled. “She is a beautiful little girl, just like her mother.”
“Thank you,” the mother smiled.
Antar rubbed the girl’s head and pulled a two credit coin from behind her lekku. “Stay out of trouble.”
She giggled and followed her mother, who scolded the child under her breath for talking to strangers. The Knight carried on towards the turbolift that would transport him to his hotel.
Hotel Du Ciran
The Arconan stood on the balcony looking out over the beach. The sun slowly fell behind the horizon. The the slow rotation of planet, made for elongated sunsets that were set against the amazing view of the sandy beach. A blanket of shadows drew over the city, bio-lights began to glow. Antar looked to the south, nestled next to the bay was the Conclave. The bioluminescent lights surrounded the structure fought off the encroaching darkness. The building came into focus through the eye of the camera and the shutter captured several likenesses of the Conclave. The Knight stepped back into his luxurious quarters.
The turbolift silently came to a halt and the door swished open. The ground level was far less crowded than the Arconan expected. He walked through the streets, flanked by extravagant shops on either side. Antar was taken aback when he rounded a corner to find a metallic gate that required a keycard to open.
Suddenly a wave through the Force sent a shiver up the Knight’s spine. He quickly stepped into the shadows of an alley. He closed his eyes and focused. The Force bent the remaining light around him and he faded from sight. A Jedi Peacekeeper came into view followed by two police officers.
The Omwati stopped in front of the alley and looked down it. He squinted. Antar tried to remain focused to stay hidden.
“Ma’am,” one of the officers said.
“I’m not sure, Creel,” the Jedi answered as his eyes probed the alley.
The second officer stepped forward and looked down the alley. “I don’t see anything, Master Ting.”
“I’ve told you,” the Peacekeeper began. “Call me Zar, Kavos.”
“Sorry, Mas…” he caught himself. “Zar.”
The Jedi stepped into the alley. “Someone is here.”
The two police officers pulled their sidearms from their holsters. “I still don’t see anything.”
Antar remained completely motionless. He slowed his breathing. The patrol started making their way down the alley. They drew closer to him. The Knight was lifted off the ground by a wave of energy pushed from the hand of the Jedi. The Arconan slammed against the wall and became visible. The officers trained their blasters on him and Zar’s blue lightsaber blade erupted from the hilt.
“Stay down,” Creel yelled at the downed Knight.
Kavos stepped closer to him and pulled restraints from his belt. The officer rolled Antar onto his stomach on top of his right arm. He pulled his left arm behind him. As the restraint clamped around his left wrist, the Knight pulled his holdout blaster and fired beneath his arm striking Kavos in the throat.
Zar screamed, “Kavos.”
She fell to her knees, tears rolling down her cheeks. The Jedi thought she was prepared for this, but seeing her friend fall tore at her emotions. Antar rolled on to his back and grabbed the falling cop. He fired a second round directly into the man’s chest killing him instantly. Creel fired but the rounds slammed into his partners back. Antar fired over the shoulder of his human shield striking Creel in the head. Zar’s face twisted into a snarl, tears still streaming from her eyes. Her hate took over.
“You’ll pay for that!” She exclaimed.
The Force surged through Antar’s body and he slung the lifeless corpse of Kavos at the Jedi. She raised her hands and guided her comrade’s body to ground. The Knight seized on the opportunity to get to his feet.
Zar darted towards the Arconan. Anger burned in her eyes. She raised her blade. Antar jumped to the side as the blade cut into the alleyway wall. He kicked the Jedi’s knee and aimed the blaster at Zar, but she swatted the weapon from his hands with a wave of the Force. Sparks and smoke spewed from the blaster as it crashed against the wall. The Knight dodged as blue streaks cut through the air around him. He stumbled and moved away. Zar forced her attack. Antar was cornered. She advanced towards him. His eyes darted back and forth looking for an escape.
She reached out and the Force pressed on his throat. The Arconan’s eyes rolled back. She released her grip. He slumped to the ground and struggled to breathe. The Jedi loomed over him and raised her saber. She looked down on the man and realized what she was becoming. The blaster lying next to Creel’s body was pulled into Antar’s extended hand. He fired striking Zar in the shoulder. Her lightsaber deactivated as it hit the ground. She gripped her shoulder and turned to run. The Knight picked up the saber, without hesitation he pressed the hilt to her back and activated it. A look of horror and surprise flashed across her face. The blue blade retreated into the hilt and the Jedi collapsed in a heap.
Pain shot up Antar’s right side, as he bent down to search the Jedi’s corpse. He pushed in on his ribs which made the pain subside a bit. His eyes winced. Broken. He pulled the keycard out of her robe. The Knight tucked the lightsaber into his jacket. He limped out of the alley holding his ribs.
This area of the city wasn’t as exorbitant as the rest of the city. It had a simple beauty. The conclave was visible in the distance. It rose over the surrounding buildings like a palace. Antar put the keycard in his pocket after stepping through the gate. His breathing was taxed as he made his way through the streets.
The telltale sound of footsteps echoed off the wall alerted the Arconan to an approaching patrol. He tried to fade from view, but his broken ribs wouldn’t allow him to concentrate. Antar quickly moved down the walkway, checking doors as he went. One door finally opened and he ducked into the building.
As the door closed, the Knight put his back to the wall and peaked through the window. The two officers advanced down the street. Antar sat against the wall. He had to fix his ribs. Even against the small patrol, he wouldn’t have stood a chance.
After he caught his breath, the Knight got to his feet. He searched the building and chanced upon a medkit. The medical scanner beeped and the display flashed on:
Diagnosis: Third and Fourth Rib Fractures Left Side
Treatment: Clean over the third and fourth ribs with antiseptic wipe. Inject bacta numb between the third and fourth ribs. Attach a bacta patch over the area. Repeat every 24 hours for one week.
Heal Time: 1.5 weeks
*A skeleton appeared on the screen, the third and fourth ribs were highlighted in red.[/i]
Antar could breathe easier almost instantly upon injecting the bacta numb. He returned to the window and checked for patrols. Finding the way clear, he made his way further into the gated community.
Outside Jedi Conclave
Antar scaled the outside wall of the building directly across from the conclave. The windows provided perfect hand holds. From a prone position, the roof gave the Knight an excellent view of the Jedi conclave. The camera silently shuttered capturing the main entrance and the two Jedi Guardians that flanked the entrance armed with staff sabers. He then turned his camera to a patrol of six officers lead by another Jedi.
He crawled away from the edge and stood when he was sure he was out of their line of sight. Taking a running start, Antar lept from rooftop to rooftop under cover of darkness. The Arcona came to a stop and took some pictures of a side entrance. The bay doors could possible be for deliveries, but the Knight thought that it appeared to be a garage that would house mobile units.
He started to climb down the wall. Suddenly, klaxons sounded. Jedi and police poured out of the conclave. They must have discovered the bodies. The sound of boots echoed off the stone street and walls drew closer to the Knight. He darted through the streets checking at each crossroads that the way was clear. The searching patrols were getting closer. Antar ducked down an alley as one of the patrols rounded a corner. He could hear them coming towards the alley. He started backing up looking for a place to hide.
The Arconan almost fell as his foot caught in a grate. Thinking fast he drew the lightsaber from his jacket. With two swipes he cut the bars and jumped down into the sewers. One of the police officers shined a flashlight down the alley. He waved his comrades away having seen nothing.
Sewers beneath Ciran
The rank odor of a hundred different species’ shavit mixing into a stew of hate was a stark contrast to the city’s beauty above. Antar sludged through the knee deep sewage, struggling not to puke. He smiled, thankful he had a light lunch. The labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city was rarely, if ever, seen by the people above. Sewage slushed up on Antar’s thighs as he trudged in the direction of his hotel.
Hotel Du Ciran
A trail of sewer water and an almost visible cloud of rancid gas followed the Knight into the hotel. The front desk clerk looked up and winced as the smell overtook his senses. Antar just nodded as he walked by.He peeled off sewage soaked clothing, upon entering his room. A sonic shower had never felt so good. The dirt and grim literally evaporated away and left the Arconan feeling refreshed and clean.
He knew he didn’t have much time before the Jedi tracked him so it was time to leave. He started gathering his luggage. A banging on his door gave him pause. He grabbed the lightsaber.
“One moment,” he called out picking up his camera.
A voice through the door said. “Open the door, sir.”
Antar took a deep breath. He knew the men on the other side of the door were Jedi and that he didn’t stand a chance against them. “I just got out of the shower. Let me get a towel on.”
“Okay. Okay. I’m coming, but this is going in my article. The hospitality here leaves something to be desired,” the Knight replied from the balcony in his calmest voice.
With one kick the door slung open. Six police officers and two Jedi rushed in, just in time to see the Arconan leap from the balcony.
Antar fell towards the street below. He focused and the Force flowed through his body to absorb his landing. He flipped over and sent out a wave which slightly slowed his descent. To spite this he felt his ankle twist as he hit the ground. He quickly limped away in the direction of the starport.
Antar hobbled through the gate. Security had more than doubled at the port and there was no way he would make it through this time.
Antar spun around to the sound of the voice. He was face to face with a Twi’lek man.
“Did you come in this morning?”
“Yes,” the Knight said expecting to be taken into custody.
The stranger smiled. “You gave my daughter a couple of credits.”
“What?” Antar said with a confused look. He glanced over the man’s shoulder to see the Twi’lek woman and little girl from earlier in the day. “Oh, yes. I suppose I did.”
“You don’t see much kindness like that anymore and I’d like to repay yours.” The man began.
“It’s not necessary,” the Knight said still looking around waiting for security to grab him.
“Well you appear to be leaving. Why don’t you join our family on our private yacht?” the Twi’lek said.
Antar nodded, not believing his luck. “That would be great. Thank you.”
“Come on we will bypass all this security at my private hangar.”
As the yacht took off, Antar breathed a sigh of relief. He gave the little girl’s father the coordinates of the Nighthawk that he was meeting.
The personal yacht detached from the Nighthawk, after Antar said his goodbyes to his saviors. He stepped onto the bridge. Arcia met him at the airlock.
“Nice ride, sure you don’t want to stay with your new friends…”
Antar smiled. “I’m sure.”
“We will be underway in a moment, Commander. I expect you to be back in uniform,” the Captain said with a nod.
Antar walked to the back of the bridge and stood next to the weapons officer, “Target that vessel.”
The officer nodded.
“We can’t take the chance of them giving away our location or even a description of our vessel,” the Knight said. He watched as the target was locked. “This is my mess I’ll clean it up.” He punched in the firing code and watched as the small yacht with all hands was destroyed.