Sunday, December 18, 2005

In Search of a Doctor

It turns out that Grif’s doctor friend was in a bit of trouble, so we now had two reasons to find the doctor. Tassik has been getting his strength back, physically, at least. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking and how he’s doing. It is obvious that he misses his Master terribly, and he seems to be resigned to his fate as a prematurely aged soul. I want to help him, I just don’t know how. The Captain is very supportive of him, which I appreciate.

The crew seems mostly comprised of Alderanians, and, as far as I’ve seen, completely human. Considering the mission and the short amount of time to put the mission together, this isn’t a surprise. There are four Marines who act as the security and muscle on the crew. The ship’s mechanic is a man named B’nar, he was the one who helped me into the ship. I’d already met the pharmacy tech, Liliog, she seems very caring and very competent. The Captain has given us each our own quarters. I like being here, it feels safe, and I’m very happy to be heading towards help for Tassik.

The plan, I’ve been told, is to go to Kintan, which I believe is within the domain of the Hutts, but I’m not positive. The doctor we are to meet is/was pretty good friends with the Captain. He gets a look on his face when he talks about her, but I don’t feel I know him well enough to pry. Tassik is convinced that Grif is or was a Jedi. I trust Tassik’s opinions and assessment, though if Grif is a Jedi, he’s taken the whole ‘change your identity’ thing very close to heart. He dresses more like a spacer, no Jedi robes or garb, and unless I’m very mistaken, he carried no lightsaber. But that would explain his presence and bearing.

While I like our new captain, I’m not very excited about his first mate. I will admit, I know very little about her, but my gut senses trouble whenever she’s around, old handmaiden instinct, I suppose. She is not particularly distinct in any way, human, about 5’6”, 5’7”, average frame, short spiky blonde hair. She carries herself with an attitude, and I suspect she knows her way around the seedier parts of the galaxy. Her eyes just never seem to be completely sincere, which is quite a contrast to the Captain, whose eyes are the most sincere earnest part of his being, as far as I can tell. Why Jay is the first mate, I may never know.

I broke protocol some while on our trip. I didn’t activate ARBE, though I did remove any and all tracking components from him and from my deck. And I accessed some imperial files, and then snooped through them. I needed to learn the status of Tassik and myself. His name was on a list of missing Jedi. The list was painfully short, especially compared to the list of Jedi killed. I checked the lists for Grif’s name, but he wasn’t on it. Continuing on, I checked the duty roster, I was MIA, but not presumed dead. The idea of changing my status did occur to me, but I wouldn’t have been able to change Tassik’s, someone would have noticed, that list was so short. My name wouldn’t have been noticed, being a cast of thousands, but it felt cowardly to change mine and not his. So I left it as it was, downloaded the missing Jedi list, and hoped that we might be able to help some of them.

I shared what I had found with Tassik, and then the Captain. It needed to be done, but I wished I didn’t have to be the one to show them the list. I can only imagine the pain it caused them. With the exception of Master Kenobi, all of the Jedi that I would have called friend were dead. Master Windu’s death took the longest to sink in, to become real. My estimation of the man had always led me to believe it would have to be a great force to take him from this life before age did, to take such a warrior to his grave. I’m not sure how long we’ll have to help those who are missing.

We landed on Kintan fairly uneventfully. Jay’s value to the crew became apparent. She’s a smuggler, or at least someone very familiar with that world. She and I went into to town to make a deal with a contact she had on the planet to pick up a cargo. In theory, our ship is supposed to be self supporting. Our contact met us in a sketchy bar in an even sketchier part of town. I tried to stay out of Jay’s business as much as possible. After some chatting, an interested party was found to do business with. It wasn’t the type of business I’m comfortable with, possibly slave trade. On this planet of Nikto, not all Nikto are created equal, or at least there is no solidarity amongst members of the same species. The red Nikto were capturing and selling the white Nikto as slaves. This was probably as much an act of greed as it was an act of self preservation, I would guess. The Hutt’s wanted slaves, and they didn’t and still don’t care about color, red, white, green, or blue, a slave is a slave, and a slave meant money. Unfortunately, at least in his own mind, our contact was having problems with a group of white Nikto forming a resistance on a small island, and even worse, they were encouraging others to do the same. Our job would be to remove the group of Nikto off the planet.

There was something else, something our contact wasn’t telling us. Either Jay didn’t notice, or didn’t want to notice. I pushed him for more information, wanting to see if we could discover what it was. Didn’t take much, turns out the holdout’s little rebellion had angered the Hutts. In 3-4 days, a large number of bounty hunters and mercenaries were to be sent to the island to resolve the planet. So we had a time limit, nothing we couldn’t handle.

We returned to the ship. Jay updated the captain on the plan and location. He hadn’t located the doctor yet, but when told of the resistance, he assumed that would be where we would find her. I wasn’t privy to what Jay told the Captain, but assumed that she would be completely truthful and relate the experience in its totality. I was excited by the possibility of getting Tassik helped. Maybe I could fix my droid some while we were there, the idea of hanging out on the beach was a nice thought.

When the ship landed, the place was deserted. The location was an island, and the space port was in shape, there was just no one there to run things. We were a bit perplexed, so the Captain and Jay put their heads together to figure things out. The island was beautiful. The space port was right up near the beach. Once you walked out of the facility, white sand cascaded down to deep blue water that leisurely lapped at the shore. The sun was shining, and a slight breeze moved the air enough to prevent any of the traditional sea creature smells from accumulating, but allowed smell of salt to remain. I took my deck and ARBE out from the ship, 20 meters away. I sat down and prepared to have a nice time fiddling with my droid. Then it all went black.

I woke to the smell of hairy something and that I was being carried under the arm of something rather large. And then I was being asked my name and the intent of my crew, but not out loud, it was all in my head. And I had to answer truthfully, I had no control over it. Moments like this make me think that perhaps I should investigate going back on to some of the medications I was on with the Republic, it was very surreal. I was set down and my blindfold removed. I was standing in a small clearing, surrounded by jungle-like growth. A large Wookie stood next to an older Nikto man, watching me. I tried to get away, but thought better of it, once I realized that it involved one very pissed off Wookie. I was taken off to their compound in the mountain. A little later, the rest of my immediate crew joined us, though they got to walk, no manhandling by a big hairy creature. My answering the old Nikto man’s questions apparently put their minds at ease about us. Always happy to help.

From what I could gather, the doctor had been told to round up as many of the people as was possible so we could talk to them. Our immediate crew had gathered around her, along with many of the Nikto. Curious as to how the Malessa and Grif had met, Tassik asked her about her and Grif’s history. She was happy to oblige. We were all a bit surprised (ok, really surprised) when she told us that she was the Captain’s wife, or had been. Poor Tassik was a bit confused and at a loss for words. Jay, however, was not, “I thought the Captain was a Jedi,” she said. I don’t care what conclusions Jay had come up with on her own time, in her own mind, but I would prefer that she keep them to herself. That type of statement was hardly appropriate at the time, it still is. To say it in front of strangers was highly inappropriate. So when Malessa replied in the positive, I was stunned, her completely honest reply would have had my jaw on the floor if I hadn’t had years of training to suppress just such reactions. “Oh yes, Grif was a Jedi, but he left the Order to marry me.”

Grif, with remarkable timing, came striding through the crowd at about that moment. As he approached, his demeanor went from rainbows and happiness to some ugly storm clouds. It seems that he didn’t approve of his wife’s liberal sharing of his past. I don’t blame him; there are some secrets we should keep, for our own safety as well as the safety of others. I’d never thought of the Captain as a physically intimidating man until that point. The doctor is a good 10cm taller than I am, and when he stood himself in front of her, he dwarfed her. And he meant to, he was obviously angry and wanted to scare her with his physical presence. She looked right back up at him with no trace of fear, and quite a bit of defiance. Then the yelling began. From the way it all happened, I think this may be routine for them. I don’t remember the details of the argument, but it did cover the propriety of the information she’d just shared, their sex life, clashing personalities, and ended with her in tears. Yes, it certainly seems that the Captain has a gentle touch when it comes to the fairer sex.


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