Zasati rolled over in the nest of blankets on the floor, yawning as she blinked herself awake. The Hapan reached her hand out to the empty space beside her, noting that it was cool to the touch. Always ahead of me, Zasati thought, grinning. The twisted tattoo on her cheek shifted from white to purple as she stretched. She could feel the gentle humming of the ship beneath her. It was a strange, pleasant comfort of her new home.
The Hapan pushed herself up from the swath of sheets, not bothered by the brisk air against her bare skin. She ascended steps up to the main level of their living space and made her way across to the kitchen to collect a plate of pastries.
Zasati moved through their quarters, obsidian hair tumbling down her bare back and snaking over her chest. The cool metal of the deck was soon replaced by the warmth of soil beneath her toes. She tread gently through their makeshift garden, thankful for the small comfort C’ree had built for them.
The Sephi-hybrid was seated in the center of their oasis retreat, one of Zasati’s shimmershilk shawls spread out before her. C’ree’s lightsaber, Pieces of Home, laid neatly disassembled across the fabric. Suspended in the air around the pink-skinned woman were various tools and parts. Zasati set the plate of pastries down on a nearby table and couldn’t help but smile as the various totems hanging above them began to sway.
“Did you sleep well?” the Hapan asked, kneeling down beside her companion.
“Yes. Home smell like my angel’s cooking. It comforting.”
Zasati smiled and slipped closer, snaking her hand around the Sephi-hybrids waist, “I am glad to hear it.” She watched as C’ree picked a tool from the air and adjusted a piece of her saber. “Are you hungry?”
“No,” C’ree’s said, her concentration unwavering from her work.
The Hapan stifled a laugh, knowing all too well that C’ree was too focused to consider her hunger. “Take a break, hm? For me? I made your favorite,” Zasati whispered, her lips brushing against the woman’s pointed ear. It twitched, the floating tools shaking as Zasati pulled herself closer, grinning deviously.
“Almost done.” The black-fingered witch breathed in deeply. She commanded the pieces of her lightsaber to rise up into the air, systematically sliding back together like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Zasati rested her chin on C’ree’s shoulder, watching the ritual quietly, yet never ceasing in her playful distractions.
“Your shift begins soon, you know."
“I never late,” C’ree said, a hint of pride laced through her words as the saber’s assembly was completed. She spared a sidelong glance at Zasati. “Why you awake? You no sleep well?”
Zasati sank back, taking a moment to consider her words, “I…have to go away for a few days.” She ran her hand over her stomach, feeling the dozens of rough scars that marred the skin there. The Hapan caught herself falling into her old nervous habits and smiled, “Just a few days. Really.”
Violet eyes widened as C’ree quickly wrapped up her tools before turning to face Zasati. “Go? Go where? What happen? I come with, I tell Morgan.” She started to stand up, clearly beginning to run through the list of tasks she would need to take care of.
Zasati’s metallic hand curled around C’ree’s blackened fingers, the woman pulling the Sephi-hybrid back to the floor. “I am going to work at the Blue Monk for the weekend. And I am going to have a wild evening of dancing and love making with strangers to earn credits so we can buy a boat,” she jested, poking her tongue out as her tattoo shifted to a bright green.
C’ree stared blankly for a moment. “What.” She pointed towards the closet where their safe was stowed. “We have credits. What…I no understand."
“Just a little joke, my love,” the black-haired Hapan leaned forward, quickly planting a kiss on her lover’s cheek. She smiled and patted C’ree’s hand, “It is only a meeting. Everything will be fine. I promise.”
“I come with.”
“I…am afraid not this time, dear,” Zasati shook her head.
“Why? You never leave alone before,” C’ree’s dark painted lips pulled into a tight frown.
Zasati sighed, nervously running her hand of flesh over her cybernetic one. “I promised I would come alone. I cannot go back on my word.” She looked down, smiling at the sight of C’ree’s mark on her right wrist.
“You make promise? Why you promise where I no come too?”
“It was not an option,” Zasati’s stern motherly tone slipped through unintentionally. “You know I would choose to have you with me always if I could.”
C’ree narrowed her eyes as she considered the weight of Zasati’s words. The witch sighed and ran her blackened fingers through her hair, “I trust you.”
Zasati leaned over, lifting a pastry from the nearby plate, her tattoo suddenly shifting to purple. “I know, Love.” She offered the danish to C’ree. “Do you know where I stowed my Nabooian dresses?”
With a mouthful of pastry, the Sephi-hybrid pointed towards the closet on the far side of the chamber, mumbling something unintelligible while taking another bite of her breakfast. She watched as Zasati sauntered away, the woman’s scarred ivory skin almost luminescent in the dim lights of the room. Soon, the Hapan was flicking through the back of the closet, taking a few of her nicer dresses and folding them neatly into a small bag. Zasati held a light, flowing dress up to herself and tilted her head, swishing the fabric. She seemed to consider it for a moment before nodding and slipped into the gown.
Why she taking fancy cloth? She no say everything, Carrie. What she doing? Where she going? C’ree’s dark alter whispered in the back of her mind. The pink-skinned woman shrugged away the voice and finished eating.
After dressing, Zasati unclipped her lightsaber from the belt that hung over her vanity chair and examined it. The planet she had agreed to meet Vodo and Zakai on was known for its strict weapons policies and she preferred to avoid showing up to her meetings without sufficient protection. But smuggling any weapon onto such a planet while wearing a dress was no easy task. Zasati smiled and turned the saber over.
It was simple and elegant, designed to fit comfortably in her small hand. The hilt, slightly curved, was made from a black metal that shimmered like oil on water. The pommel was crowned with a polished blue stone from Hapes. She took her seat at the vanity and double checked the saber’s custom safety switch, satisfied that it would remain inactive.
She leaned forward and pushed her long, dark hair behind her shoulders, smoothing it down. Then, with the assistance of the Force, the Hapan skillfully rolled her thick hair around the hilt until it was nestled inside a bun at the nape of her neck. The pommel stone was all that remained exposed, appearing to be nothing more than a decorative hairpiece. Zasati pinned up the chignon, checking to ensure her lightsaber was well disguised.
“That shall simply have to do,” she muttered, quickly swiping a dark rouge across her lips. “I had better get going. Ipsa despises waiting on–” Zasati yelped, surprised by the sudden embrace of her companion. She melted into C’ree, holding her tightly for several heartbeats. “Only a few days,” the Hapan whispered to herself. Only a few.
A while later, Zasati slipped from their quarters, completely disheveled and grinning widely. She shifted the weight of her bag before adjusting her dress and fixing her smudged lipstick. Ipsa is going to kill me, she sighed, wistfully, as she made her way down the winding corridors of the The Ball to the nearest hangar bay.
Meanwhile, C’ree paced across their quarters, flexing her hands as she ran her tongue over the ridge of her teeth.
You no leave her, Carrie. You keep Zasati. Where she going? You need to go. You follow her. You protect our angel!
“I-I protect my angel. I protect her, I follow her. I-I will.”
It had been months since she last saw Vodo or her son and equally as long since she’d been apart from C’ree. Zasati sighed, the thought of separation from her constant companion made her heart ache. Though, admittedly, she could not shake the feeling that the other woman was still with her. Perhaps that was one of the many side effects of love…or insanity.
Zasati willed her mind to be silent. She shifted in the plush seat, having been unable to concentrate for the entire flight. Dark thoughts of Vodo and his ‘teachings’ crept through her mind. They seeped through her like poison, twisting black currents that threatened to strangle her. Zasati nervously tapped her nails against the pearlescent casing of her cybernetic hand. What if Vodo had managed to turn her son against her? There would be no C’ree or Morgan or Rhylance to help her this time. The Hapan woman gritted her teeth and began planning. If nothing else, she was prepared for every eventuality. Vodo was unpredictable and volatile. Would Zakai be as such now too?
Her thoughts dissipated as a group of Riszo’s System Security guards shuffled through the lounge area of the shuttle. Zasati smiled coyly at the four armored guardsmen and nodded to the woman who accompanied them. The woman scowled and made a note on her datapad before waving her men off.
They searched the area, filling two crates with contraband. Zasati remained seated and finished the last sip of her drink before pulling a small metal case from between her breasts. One of the guards watched her from across the way, perplexed by the obsidian haired beauty’s antics. He smiled sheepishly and approached her with a swagger to his step.
“I need to do a pat down, ma’am. Standard procedure, of course,” he grinned.
She did not offer her gaze to the guard. Instead, she flicked open the metal case and drew a thin cigara to her dark painted lips. Zasati sighed dramatically when she realized there were no matches in her case. She lazily pulled the cigara away from her lips and tilted her head back to give the man a pleading look.
“Do you have a light, darling?” she purred, rolling her shoulder back to give him a better view of her assets. “I seem to have forgotten my own.” The guard blinked, dazed, before he snapped to and rummaged around the pouch on his belt, producing a small lighter. Zasati leaned closer to him, allowing him to shakily light her cigara. She smiled and exhaled a twisting ribbon of white smoke in his face. “Thank you, dear,” the Hapan shifted in her seat, causing the slit of her dress to expose the entire length of her leg. Toying with men without ever having to summon the Force had become all too simple. She almost lamented at the ease of it.
“Roe!” the woman holding the datapad marched over, irritation bubbling over with every step. “Have you secured the cargo bay? Ugh,” she rolled her eyes. “Roe. You’ll stay behind and assist with the delivery. We’ll see you back up top when you’re ready to do your actual job.”
“Uh-no…sir. Sorry sir,” the guard spared one last glance at the captivating Hapan woman and scurried off to finish his job.
The woman with the datapad turned to Zasati, jutting out her chin and trying to stand taller to give herself an air of authority. “Ma’am, I respectfully ask that you not distract my men for the duration of their search.”
“Certainly,” Zasati frowned, unimpressed by the other woman’s display. She exhaled another swirl of smoke. How silly, she mused sarcastically to herself, not a single Force user amongst you. I feel terribly secure.
Zasati stepped from the shadows of the shuttle into the sunlight. Thankful for her Hapan blood, the bright daylight hardly bothered her. Instead, she welcomed its warmth on her skin, the salty breeze reminding her of life on Gallinore. She looked out at the glassy ocean, making quick mental notes about the area. Zasati walked to the edge of the landing pad and slipped off her shoes. She stepped into the lush grass and let herself smile.
“Ms. Tryezsh?” a small voice came from behind her. Zasati turned slowly, her blue dress billowing in the sea breeze. She sized up the bellhop waiting with her bag in one hand. “Would you like your things taken to your room or…” the bellhop shifted awkwardly.
“My room,” Zasati began, stepping back into her shoes, “and I would prefer to be called ‘Lady Tryezsh’ in the future, thank you.” The bellhop bowed slightly and extended his hand, expecting a tip. She smirked and pushed the smoldering butt of her cigara into his palm, relishing his wince of pain.
A while later, after stopping by the bar for a quick drink, Zasati made her way to the sandy alcove where her son and Vodo were waiting in the shade. The Warlord was a hard man to miss as seven-foot tall cyborg monsters often were. She smoothed a hand over her hair, ensuring her lightsaber was still tightly secured inside of her bun.
“You’re late… as usual,” Vodo’s voice boomed against the rocks, his face emotionless.
Zasati huffed, shrugging away his words, “Pleasure to see you as well, Vodo.” She stopped a few steps away from the two, turning her attention away from her former lover and to their son. “My, look at you!” Zasati beamed. “You have grown so much. I suppose I cannot call you my little bird any longer,” she reached out to her child, expecting an immediate embrace.
“Hello, m-Zasati,” the small boy murmured, never lifting his blue eyes to meet his mother’s. He remained still, two paces behind his father.
The Hapan woman’s expression instantly soured as she dropped her outstretched hand. Zasati turned her attention to her former Master, willing herself to remain calm. She swore Vodo nearly smirked. “Zakai, go and play, darling,” she waved her son away, never taking her lapis gaze from the man that stood before her. Vodo began to protest, but stopped short as Zasati’s hand snapped against his chest. “Hush,” her brows knitted tightly together, eyes flashing crimson as her tattoo burned brilliant blue. After a moment of consideration, Zakai slipped away towards the water, leaving his parents alone.
“I brought our son into this world and he will call me Mother. That is not up for discussion.” When the Twi’lek did not respond, Zasati continued. "I did not come here to kill you, Vodo,” she smirked, a spark of blue flickering between her thumb and forefinger. “Though…women are often fickle creatures.” She ran the blade of her fingertip down his arm, letting a small electric jolt slip across his swallow skin. She moved closer to him, until they were a mere handbreadth apart and he could smell the perfume in her hair. “Test me once more…” Zasati reached up and caressed his cheek, slipping her hand down to grip his chin between her fingers. Slowly, she turned his head so that he was looking out to the crystal blue ocean, watched their son run alongside the water. “I will make you wish you had killed me months ago.”
Vodo sighed heavily and brushed her away, “Already trying to start a battle and we haven’t even had dinner yet.”
Meanwhile, back on The Ipswich, Roe and a female guard shuffled through the cargo bay, mindlessly scanning in every crate for inventory. The Human caught himself daydreaming about the obsidian haired temptress from earlier. He indulged in the thoughts of her dark lips wrapped around her cigara, a blush spreading across his tan skin. They just don’t make ‘em like they use ta, he thought wistfully.
“Hey, Roe,” the Chiss jabbed him in the side. “Stop doddling. I wanna go to lunch.” She stared at him, her glowing crimson eyes narrowing.
“Yeah, yeah,” Roe grumbled, punching in a code on his datascanner. “Sor–” His words dried up as his gaze fell on an armored, pink-skinned woman sitting amidst the containers. Her violet eyes glinted in the dimness, immediately sending a shudder slipping down his spine. “H-hey! You can’t be down here!”