<u>And shit hit the Fan</u>
The Lady in Black
As you know by now, I love surprises, imagine my face when after the enemies have surrender one girl shows up, dressed mostly in black with red, claiming to have been waiting to the right time to help us and get into our good side. Trap! Of course I thought it's a trap, but there was something weird around her, maybe that's the part when somebody says the will of the force, or just cut it with kindred spirits bullshit. I don't know, but even if I didn't lowered my defenses I heard her.
Katrina claimed to be from afar, from almost the heart of the Sith Empire, but not part of it, she even give us her title as part of the "most loyals" from the Zardoc, the ruler of her system, and apparently a system that could imbalance the Sith Empire if any of the other 3 factions would ever take control of it. Her missions is to be sure that none of the Sith factions ever gets the Pink Panther, or the Heart of the Guardian as the Jedi think it could be or the Heart of the Emperor, apparently that's how is called in the Empire.
And then my mind fly back to Rakata Prime again, that stupid big space station that spits weapons and spaces ships, that was supposed to be some Sith thing that Darth Malak was using to destroy the galaxy, like he did to Taris, a broken Empire that is united was a nightmare. I couldn't let that happen, not that my plan was giving the gem to the highest bidder anyway, but her words ringed true in my ears, even if I couldn't trust her, we will be losing more if she was telling the truth instead of lying. So the conundrum is, do you believe in a Spy? What are the chances that Banthas actually can fly?
She leaves us with more questions than answers and a proposal of alliance, and alliance that in that moment I didn't know how I feel about. But we did have more pressing matters at hand, I would give it thought while at ease. But before she leaves, I asked her about the earing I found at the museum, she claimed as her own and that she left it to so I would find it, strange.
The past always comes back
The 'verse has always some kind of irony with dealing with fellows like me, fellows that have run from the past so much that sometimes they think they forgot about it. And yes I'm well aware that somebody in some planet will say, "it's the will of the force", well the force has one hell of sense of irony. A quick recap, we were just talking to an Spy from the uncharted part of the universe, with around 30 heavily armed and probably very well trained that surrender to us, and no plan. So what we do? Well try to un-burn the bridges.
So that's the plan, while my fellows try to extract some information from this mercenaries I would make a call to Garibaldi, he seemed to not dislike me, weird right? Well he is a veteran too, and I think he is the kind of guy you gotta be upfront and he will respect you, so it's likely that my earlier phone call was actually a good first step in not get totally in his bad side. I called and I got patch through, I heard that little noise that the coms do when you do a relay outside your own building. Well he informed me he was in the Cloud City Med, with his two men, I respect that a leader that doesn't rule from the Ivory tower, and he really take it personally the wound of his men. To bussiness, I told him that we were attacked and that we were going to give them those men to him so he could interrogate them for the recent incidents, he seemed surprised of our capabilities, I was surprised too, but I was not going to say that.
While I was talking to him, I remember a veteran I once met, he was scarred from head to toes on his right side, burn scars, pretty nasty, the kind of scars you get a surgeon to repair, so I asked, and he told me he was saved by a Jedi, that that young Jedi took the flames out, the burn under his skin and it was like he took the injuries as his own, and the way he had to honor that sacrifice was to display his scars. Back from daydreaming I was midway asking Ixiel if he could do something to the men that were in Cloud City Med.
He mumbled something that we where more alike that I would admit, and that's the second time that kid tells me that I'm a softy like him, well, I cannot let some kid giving me the reputation of a softy could I? I said so, truly, he reminds me of my past self, the one that enlisted in the army to save some folks, but I was better looking, and less pampered in my upbringing.
We tried to depart to Cloud City Med but we were surprised by Winguard men that were supposed to take all of us in custody, that seems odd, maybe my call to Garibaldi wasn't as effective as I thought, but Ixiel talked to the officer at charge and they took us at Cloud City Med instead. An to Garibaldi, he was just outside of the ICU, from the durasteel doors I could see the doctos trying to save a couple of soldiers, they were in pretty bad shape. The rest is a haze, we talked Garibaldi barked some orders, next thing I knew I'm in the ICU beside both men, and one of them is a face I remember, somebody I thought I'll never saw again, I owe him a life debt, the last person I wanted to see actually, he did good for me, I don't want him entangled with my drama again.
Back to Corellia
This is going to be a short chapter, I don't usually go as far as my training in Corellia in this journey logs, but this time it's needed, it was my 4th year on Corellia, I did have some friends, some not as friendly acquittances but I liked to prowl in the campus, I was always a social animal, even if that sometimes gets me in trouble. That's how I met, let's call him Nolan, since is his name now, he was a sophomore there, from Corellia, a farm boy actually, it would be so easy call him farm boy, but I actually respect farms, they bring food to your table, so don't disrepect farms. Haircut, I called him that, sometimes, well maybe a little more, but he had some really disastrous haircut, I think I still have some photos lying around. He was a big nerd, but not the kind of fake nerds, he was stupid brilliant and with a way of thinking outside the box that surpasses even my wit to improvise. Of course I took notice of him, he wasn't exactly liked by some jocks, but pilots were on the top of that food chain, so I keep him from getting bullied too much, from afar, I wasn't a big softy there nor now. But when the war games exercises came in my last year, I drafted him onto my team, it was for my surprise easy, the engineer spot from most of my competitors were taken from others 5th years students, I took him.
We got a blast, we got even points for style in that competition even if we didn't get the first prize, I guess it was my farewell gift, since after not flunking that exercise I would leave the academy to the front, and having a good impression in that exercise would make his life easier. We got like 1 month to actually be friends, he promised me to visit his farm, and told me things about his life, man I would loved to be raised like he was, but I wouldn't have take this path.
Then we fast forward to my days on Havoc, we were running an easy mission, infiltrate and exfiltrate some SIS folks from behind the lines of some warlord in Balmorra, intel was solid, we didn't have any kind of backup because we weren't expecting confrontation. First, it wasn't some folks from SIS, it was Nolan, he made it out of the academy to "the company" that nerdy guy was an spy now! We have a couple of hours to have a briefing and depart so we rekindle that friendship there. But man, that intel was not solid, moments before taking to atmo we got hunted down by interceptors, took some serious maneuvering landing and walking after it, now stranded behind enemy lines, and being hunted, in a mission that will get us both disavowed if captured, so friday right?
We survived a week before reaching an enemy camp, his guts and shenanigans with mechanic things get us alive, while navigating the jungle and fighting of some really nasty looking creatures that were quite afraid of the light so he made some big damn lantern to keep them away. Well after reaching camp, that was mostly my doing, preparing a distraction, stealing a ship and getting away with it, after successfully downloading the data that the brass wanted.
Next time I ever see him was during the trial, the tide had turned, I was mostly getting "slave labor until you die in a mining asteroid" kind of human sentence that the republic gives to traitors, because the proof of my claims got caught in a disappearance act and nobody would ever vouch for me, cue to Nolan, to actually came forward speaking about my character and somehow the proof I needed started to appear. He was pulled from Coruscant by the SIS before I even had the chance to say thanks, even if the trial went pear shaped, it could have been really worse.
Now back to the present days.
Back to the Present
En el presente Ixiel, Yves and Adar were doing what they could to bring back Nolan, I could see the toll that thing was taking into them, I wished I could help, but the only thing I could do was held Nolan's hand and ordering him back to shape, and making him remember that he still owes me that visit to his farm, whatever I could say to make him listen to fight back. I've always thought that my words could make me get away with everything, but bringing someone from the brink of death? That is a new low for my narcissism, not that I wouldn't try.
I felt helpless a lot of times, but like this? I would say never, maybe it was the strenght of my conviction, or even some kind of higher power, or if you are inclined to say so, the force, but I felt connected to their efforts, not in a way that I was doing the same, but that my words actually mattered that somehow I made some difference, that we didn't travel all this years all this light years to be so close and just for him to die, it didn't feel like it was supposed to be. And it was not, the medical equipment surronding Nolan started to sound 'right' and his organs started to take a right color. Yes, we were actually seeing his innards with no need of equipment he was that bad.
Next thing I now, they start they effort to save the other one, this one took whatever was left of their energy, they felt I was able to catch Ixiel, while Adar took comfort in a wall, and Sinah took care of Yves.
I remember a little foggy what happened next, I was so full of adrenaline that I think I could have run the 500 miles of Bespin right in that moment, Sinah asked me about Nolan, I think I said I owe him my life. Garibaldi was so glad, not only for his men to live, but there was something going on, here at Cloud City that would be worse if they die. He talked to me in private about how the Baron Administrator and Himself were grateful and why they kept this under wraps, that was ok for me, it wasn't my idea to get recognition, saving two would have been enough.
After the Life day Miracle
Took them a while to return to their senses, actually Nolan was up faster, he was cleared before they wake up, it was time for a catch-up-chat, he told me he goes by the name of Nolan then, and that he is dead for the company, took his word as gospel, that little fella knows a lot, but he doesn't know how to lie to me, he actually tried with something, I don't remember why, but he wasn't exactly lying he tried to not be straight, well I can give him that, he learned when not to tell things. But for once I just was glad to have him in the realm of the living, I was not in the mood for conducting an interrogatory, he was helping out his kinda mentor Garibaldi. That cleared one thing, Garibaldi was SIS at least once.
Then I remember talking to Adar and asking about if he was instructed not to drink alcohol, and of course he wasn't, so Doctor Reynolds prescribed a beer, I got a little side tracked in my quest for booze. I have my fame of skirt chaser and even if there wasn't an actual skirt I had to chase. Missus "Gunner for the old team of Mandalorian motors", I was actually a little surprised, but she wasn't taking any of my nonsense at the moment and was fleeing the scene, suspicious, but well I'll be damned, I tried to be nice, so let's try a little bit sleazy, I might or not, but if you know me you know I did, talk her that I will be expecting her at the finishing line, and then proceed to leave. And then visited Koldo that was just in the same corridor that our little miss gunner, well that missus is actually his daughter, and he didn't like my attitude about her, and my skirt chaser tendencies, I was not in the mood to get scolded of my not-father-in-law so I offer him booze instead.
In a couple of minutes the room was filled with the rest of the crew, eating some cathari stew and drinking booze, while the news show us that a couple of bounty hunters well apprehended in the case related to the market. And the 500 miles of Bespin was going to be delayed because the city was moving because there was an incoming storm.
I thought it was Garibaldi's doing, and a familiar voice told me I was wrong, Russell was in the Cloud City Med, to check on us, he came clean with somethings like having previous plans to steal the gem, having already a ship in a hiding spot, and giving us a new hangar. He was a little bit cautious about talking with Koldo and Nolan around but I said that they were with me. We could actually use Nolan's craftmanship and Koldo was already suspecting, no harm in actually being honest with them, took my chances with being second guessed by the rest, but that didn't happen.
I was worried about things on the old hangar so I took Nolan with me to do a security check, more time alone to talk, and be sure he was ready to help us with what we are doing, whatever it is at this moment. Meanwhile the others figured to get Katrina's attention and figure it what kind of alliance she was proposing, Ixiel was the one with her number, bold move kiddo, I think I didn't say it back then, but for your, well that's one step closer to leave the temple and actually travel the universe.
I got pinged, and asked about what I think about a full partnership, I thought the call was more a let me now they've already decided, but I played along, we went democratic and I was outvoted, my position was more a stance on being opposite to check if they actually thought it through than being opposite with conviction, I couldn't figure it out yet if Banthas could fly.
So we met again in the Hangar this time with Katrina, she took a bug from my clothes, I felt like a fool at the time, but I couldn't be angry with her, it was more a flaw from my part that I searched for bugs everywhere except on myself than her fault. And then the lady in black is with us, full thrust, full transparency. She even said that she was trained to resist some of the things that the force users could do, so she wasn't exactly at ease with Yves or Ixiel.
I found that interesting because it make me puzzle some things together, there is a chance that my lost time and headaches are related to that. There is something that Nolan is not telling me that railgun bullet we found, he seemed to know way much that Adar about that, and Katrina seemed to know that back home that kind of bullets are used. But now, as in the begining I'm left with more questions than answers.
And that's the end of entry 3, with 100% more Banthas!