Episode 2: The Dark Emperor's Crystal

 

Airenn and her droid, L1-FT landed on the rocky surface near the pounding waves of the ocean on the moon Kef Bir. Her ship coughed and sputtered a final time before she powered it off and lowered the cargo ramp.

“Be careful, L1” she said as the top-heavy droid headed down the ramp, but before she could follow he stopped mid roll. She knew the droid wouldn’t do that for no reason, she had yelled at him enough about his brakes scraping her ramp.

Before she could register anyone else was there, she heard the familiar grunt of a Tognath she knew far too well.

She looked up and saw him standing in the way of her droid.

“Prill, what are you doing here already?” Airenn asked, staring intently at the figure in front of her. The Tognath’s tubes shone in the dim moonlight. Prill stood in a battle stance, hand hovering over a blaster attached to his hip.

“I don’t know what you’re“ she called out, before Prill raised the blaster.

Airenn didn’t act quick enough, but L1 did. The droid pushed forward down the ramp at the moment the blaster raised. Airenn had a moment to contemplate how it seemed the droid acted first, before throwing herself off the ramp, tumbling more than jumping on to the rocky surface below. The blaster bolt ripped through her robe as she fell, but somehow didn’t hit her.

She heard the droid lifting it’s hydraulic head, and blaster bolts going off among Prill shouting curse words she did not understand.

Airenn reached for her saber, igniting it with one swipe, hopefully making her look far more dangerous than she was with it. The crystal ignited the saber a deep and menacing color of purple. She stood her ground and soon Prill had joined her on the rocky surface.

“Prill, I don’t think you want to do this.”

In response, Prill patted a bag strapped to his shoulder and Airenn suddenly understood. Prill had already found the hidden stash of kybers she was seeking. He had been to the Crafted Cores briefing and had jumped the deal.

Prill fired again, and Airenn winced, raising the sabers blade and blocking the bolt. She moved left, remembering her footwork training from years ago, and blocked the next bolt as well.

Before he could fire again, an explosion rocked her ship, distracting Prill. In that moment, Airenn jumped forward and swiped wildly at the blaster.

The blade hummed as it cut cleanly through Prills shoulder, cutting the entire arm, and the bag, off the Tognath’s back.

He reared back in pain, and Airenn thought she saw him try to raise the now discarded blaster before realizing that the entire arm that was holding it was on the ground.

Airenn pushed forward threateningly.

“Run” she said.

Prill turned and ran.

A few moments later she met up with L1 atop the ramp, with Prill’s blaster and bag in one hand. The droid beeped to ask if he had done well in setting the charges off.

She patted L1 and assured him he did. It was a trick they had practiced many times, but had never used in person.

“You did great L1! But I think the icing on the cake…” she began, opening up the bag to a shining cache of crystals. “… is this.”

She picked one of the shining kybers up, unsure if what she was seeing was real. A sense of dread crept up through her stomach to her chest. She turned the crystal in her fingers, looking at the face of the most feared force user the galaxy had ever known. Each crystal in the bag was shaped in this way, twisted to represent the face of The Emperor. The crystal seemed to stare at her, and almost.. whisper. Calling gently to her. She slammed the bag closed to escape the voice.

She peered up to the ocean, and focused past the waves, looking to the large section of the Death Star that the crystals had been hidden deep inside. She suspected Prill was not the only one responsible for this double cross and decided it was time to leave.

A few minutes later her ship lifted from Kef Bir, and Airenn hoped she would never return.


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