The Sidori Gambit

The Shoe, Part 2
In Which Zeva Shares Her Discovery.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof, with Ellanutella

After Kaylani had a bit too much to drink at the cantina, Zeva and Kes helped her to bed. The captain excused herself for one last look around the ship, and Zeva lay on her bunk, staring at the ceiling. The one drink Kay had talked her into having had dragged her down more strongly than she’d let on… yet the buzzing in her brain refused to let her sleep.

As Kay’s breathing slowed and deepened, Zeva turned on her side, propping her head up to get a better look at her. Damn it, she was pretty. Beautiful, even. Zeva found it oddly fascinating that it had taken her so long to notice… that such an odd chain of events had led to that realization.

Does it really matter? she thought. I’m a Jedi, and she’s… I can’t. I won’t. That should have been the end of it, but Zeva’s thoughts suddenly turned to someone else who could. A vision of Kay in another woman’s arms filled her with a cold, sickly feeling that seemed to burst into flame… Is this jealousy? Is that what I’m feeling, here?

“Go to sleep, Padawan,” she whispered, trying to capture Master Tulu’s inflection. “This isn’t helping anyone.”

She turned to her other side to face the wall; as she did so, something dug into her side – the little shoe, still crammed into her jacket’s pocket. Oh, no, she thought. I should give this back now.

The Shoe, Part 1
In Which Zeva Makes a Discovery.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof, with jillyfae

After scouring Silent Destiny’s outer hull in search of homing beacons, listening devices, or any other Imperial surprises, Zeva and Kaylani started searching inside the ship. Zeva knew that she couldn’t afford to say “Jedi” aloud even once until they’d made certain it was safe to do so. Her brief time as an outlaw among outlaws had sharpened her fear into something useful… something that might help to keep her alive.

She now felt familiar with the cockpit, lounge, and crew quarters – familiar enough to be sure that those area contained nothing out of the ordinary, especially with Kay aiding the search – but had yet to explore the rest of the ship. Finding nothing amiss in the stifling confines of engineering, or in either boarding ramp, Kay led Zeva by the hand to the main cargo hold. The double doors squeaked open when Kay pressed the button, and the lights flickered to life, illuminating the cold, dusty bay.

As they searched every centimeter of the cargo hold, a queer sensation gradually came over Zeva. A knot formed in her stomach, and she began to perspire in spite of the chill. She managed a smile every time Kay looked in her direction (which seemed to happen pretty frequently), but she wanted nothing more than to finish this room, to move on to the forward airlock and the secondary hold. Then she could lie down, wait for this feeling to pass…

Zeva tilted a large cargo container toward the light and spotted something wedged inside. Unable to identify it in the dim light, she reached into the container and, with some effort, pulled free a lump of fabric and rubber. She peered at it in the dim light until she recognized it as a tiny shoe… What a strange cargo, she thought.

This isn’t cargo. Look how scuffed it is… this belonged to someone. Someone who died… Can’t you feel it? That’s why you want to get out of here.

I’ve felt loss before, though. There’s something else…

Session 8a: A Vacation By Any Other Name
Our heroes embark upon a secret mission for Captain Hayes

by The_Flax

Kes, Kay and Zeva have now been recuperating from their ordeal on Velcor’s Cross for a full day. As they leave the medbay, they are informed by one of the imperial physicians that Captain Hayes would like to see them.

“Course she does. Why we’re here, yes?” Kay quips.

“Oh boy. Authority. Ain’t it grand. I was hoping they’d just let us scuttle along on our merry way.” Her Captain concurs.

Zeva stretches out her back. “I’m not ready for scuttling yet.”

The three are guided through the eerily similar corridors of the Star Destroyer and up a turbolift before arriving at a small conference room, with a large viewing area overlooking Velcor’s Cross.

Kes raises her eyebrows at the other girls.

Zeva mutters, “I can’t tell if these are nothing like the Star Destroyers I remember… or if it’s me that’s changed.”

“Shh!” Kay strokes Zeva’s shoulder gently. “Not something we should be talking about, neh?”

“Sorry. I’m trying to be quiet…” Zeva apologizes.

After a few minutes, the door swishes open again and Captain Irene Hayes enters, parts of her face still covered in bandages.

Kes hesitantly, but almost instinctively, moves to salute.

Zeva’s attention swerves to the floor.

Kaylani snorts and collapses into a chair. “So, what’s the story for us, Captain Hayes?”

Session 7: Ambush and Recovery
Our heroes face off another attack, before finally catching a break.

by The_Flax

The conversation is interrupted by what sounds like blaster fire and shattering glass. It takes only a few moments to hear screams of terror and panic.

The Imperial captain bounces to her feet immediately at the sound of blaster fire. She shakes her right arm slightly and a small hold out blaster appears in her palm. “I don’t suppose any of you have hidden weapons? This sounds serious and I only have four shots.”

“Not me. Be right back.” Zeva heads west into the kitchen and looks around for a mop or other suitable hittin’ stick.

Kay mutters. “Knew I shoulda bought her a damn sword.” She then turns to Hayes. “Not particularly hidden-like.” She draws her blaster.

Kes yanks out her blaster. It’s not her rifle, sadly, but hey. She offers a shrug to Kay. “I was expecting angry Imps, not… whatever this is. Sorry.”

Kai runs into the kitchen to look for some cutlery, preferably something one could throw.

More blaster shots are heard in rapid succession accompanied by more screams. Captain Hayes moves to the door of the private room leading to a dining room, her small blaster at the ready. “I’ll draw their fire; you try to flank them and get out if you can.”

Zeva finds a cleaning implement of suitable length. She grips it tightly and returns just as Hayes finishes her speech, nodding once.

Session 6: Meeting Captain Hayes
In which our heroes meet Captain Hayes and find employment

by The_Flax

While waiting for Captain Hayes and the Victory to arrive, Kaylani and Zeva go shopping on the station for cleaning supplies and a legal blaster pistol, among other things. At the same time, Kes and Kai begin summary repairs on the Silent Destiny.

During their second day on Velcor’s Cross’ largest orbital station, Kes, Kai, Kaylani and Zeva are asked to be present at Hangar 15 in one hour, where the personal shuttle of Captain Hayes will be landing.

As the four attire themselves for this meeting, Kay slips on a new shirt and some black leather pants. “Captain, can I bring my highly illegal hold-out blaster hiding under my vest? Pretty please?”

“No,” Kes replies seriously, dressed in her regular clothes but only sporting legal weaponry. “I won’t save you if you do.”

Kay sighs.

“Not sure I could either,” Zeva adds, leaving her lightsaber on the ship, while Kay straps on her new legal blaster pistol and sighs again.

Zeva wears a new spacer’s outfit, but still has the electrical tape-mended black jacket on top, while Kai dresses in his cleanest flight suit, leaving his knife behind.

Kay looks at the group and giggles. “Oh, we’re so pretty.”

Kes shakes her head at them. “She’s lying.”

“Artistic license, Captain. Lying is such an ugly word,” the younger woman tells her Captain.

“Not everything can be pretty. Let’s go, we’re not getting any younger,” Kes replies.

“It’s the ‘not getting any older after today’ part I’m worried about,” Kay edges in to get the last word.

The four make their way through various crowded levels of the station before finally arriving at Hangar 15, where a Lambda-class shuttle is sitting idly. There are no other ships or personnel in the very clean hangar.

Kay fidgets nervously and starts whispering to the others: “It’s too quiet like.”

Interlude: The Red Dress

by DarthKrzysztof

Zeva allowed Kaylani to lead the way – the Jedi had never gone ‘shopping’ before, but the pilot seemed to know exactly where to go on the crowded orbital station.

They purchased some supplies to clean the ship, and some functional second-hand outfits. Zeva wanted a new jacket -hers had already been shabby when the Council gave it to her, and she’d mended the blaster-burned right shoulder with electrical tape – but she couldn’t find anything she could afford. It was just as well, really; shiny new clothes might attract more attention.

The two women stopped to look at weapons. Zeva kept an eye on their surroundings while Kay looked in the display cases. To her relief, no one paid any attention to them; there was simply too much going on.

Still, the Imperial presence was oppressive. Squads of stormtroopers stood at nearly every corner, and tiny security droids flitted above, monitoring the crowds. Zeva found some comfort in Kay’s calm, and used that as the foundation for her own peace of mind.

“Could I see this one, please?” Kay asked the droid behind the counter, which took a flimsy-looking blaster pistol out of the case and placed it in her hand. Kay held it up and drew aim on the back wall, frowning.

“You don’t like it, do you?” asked Zeva.

Kay sighed. “I’ve been stung by bugs that’d hurt more, but I ain’t going into that meeting unarmed.” Earlier, Captain Varn had made it clear that bringing illegal weapons to sit-downs with Very Imperial Persons was unacceptable. She tried a different gun. “This is about as good as I’m gonna find, though. Did you want one, too?”

Session 5: Interrogation And Factionalism
Our heroes are interrogated about Erawlon's destruction and discover that the Empire is not as united as it appears.

by The_Flax

The Silent Destiny and Vainglory dock at Velcor station, orbiting Velcor’s Cross, without any incident and more surprising, no questions about the battle damage. As the crew of both ships disembark, they finally understand why, as they are met with a squad of stormtroopers and an Imperial lieutenant in crisp uniform.

Kaylani suddenly feels very glad she actually remembered to leave the knife and hold-out blaster in her cabin.

Zeva asks Kay, quietly, “Is this normal?”

“No,” Kay whispers back.

In an officious tone, the Lieutenant speaks up. “Crew of the Silent Destiny and Vainglory, you are wanted for questioning. Please follow me peacefully. Any resistance will be met with deadly force.”

“Fantastic,” Caster says under his breath.

Kes sighs. “What for?”

Zeva waits for the captains to call the shots and does her best to act like she belongs here, while Kay barely resists the urge to ask a smart-ass question.

“That is not under my purview,” the Lieutenant answers Kes and then motions the stormtroopers to take the weapons of every crewmember.

Interlude: Erawlon Destroyed
In which Imperial Captain Irene Hayes surveys the destruction wrough on Erawlon

by The_Flax

The devastated world of Erawlon grew in size as a Lambda Shuttle from the Victory descended towards the surface. Captain Hayes looked at the apparent destruction from orbit and shuddered. Only four hours before, Erawlon has been a calm planet, now its surface was filled with storms and volcanic eruptions. Memories flooded back of the Clone Wars when the shuttle finally flew over the ruined city of Ur-Talok, its spaceport standing defiantly amongst collapsed buildings and debris.

Outside, searing winds blistered her worn skin, as her second, Commander Maximilian Dreen, joined her at the bottom of the shuttle ramp. Scores of refugees huddled at the center of the heavily damaged spaceport, under the watchful eye of a few Stormtroopers.

“How’s the evacuation going Max?” She asked him, already knowing the answer.

“We’re doing all we can, but two shuttles isn’t enough…” He started and the Captain nodded, interrupting him. They began walking in silence through the wrecked spaceport.

“How many?” Hayes finally asked him after the long pause. “How many were killed?”

A Place to Hide, Part 2

Posted by Darth Krzysztof, from a conversation with Ellanutella

Zeva made her way around the ring corridor to Silent Destiny’s crew quarters and knocked on the door. “Captain Varn?” she called. “It’s me, Zeva.” Had she even given her name back on Erawlon? The whole episode had been such a blur… when no answer came, she knocked again.

She heard the captain say “Why are you kno… oh, right. Come in, Jedi.”

Zeva opened the door to find Kes sitting on her bed, to the left of the door. The Zabrak had removed her shirt to examine the holes in it, and seemed at ease in her undershirt. The room itself was a tiny mess. A bed stood against each of the three walls away from the door; clothes and other possessions lay strewn about. Zeva wondered if the bulkheads were full, to have so many things unstowed. She also wondered, if she was to stay with this ship, where she would sleep.

“Thank you,” Zeva said, and began looking around for somewhere to sit. “Am I interrupting?”

Kes shook her head and gestured to the bed on the right. Once Zeva cleared a spot, it seemed terribly inviting. She sat, rather than lay, upon it. “Can you sew?” Kes asked suddenly.

“Some. Let me see it.” Kes tossed the shirt to Zeva, and pointed at the sewing kit at the foot of the bed, balanced precariously on the footlocker there. “Yes, I can mend this.”


“Sure.” Zeva got to work, counting her blessings. Master Tulu insisted that I learn this, since one never knows when it’ll be useful. My eyes and hands are finally cooperating. Oh, and I’m alive. Mustn’t overlook that.

“Zeeva, right?” She felt the captain’s eyes on her. “I’m bad with names.”

ZAY-va. Yes. Though I might be better off with an alias now. Kaylani told me about what happened to the Jedi… about the Empire.”

She glanced up to see Kes frowning. “Sorry, kid. Are you… okay? Can you see enough to sew?”

“I feel better… physically, anyway. I’m not sure I’d call myself okay, though. I mean, everything I was… that I ever wanted to be… has been outlawed. And everyone I ever cared about is gone.” She moved on to the next rip in the shirt, fighting to keep her hands from shaking. “I keep hoping I’ll wake up. Or sense the dark side spirit that’s testing me. But this… this is real, isn’t it?”

A Place to Hide, Part 1

Posted by DarthKrzysztof, from a conversation with jillyfae

Zeva finally let go of her seat’s armrests once it became clear that Silent Destiny wasn’t about to be destroyed – not yet, anyway.

Kaylani Seren sat next to her in the pilot’s seat, talking to the ship in a low, soothing tone. “Aww, my poor girl. Knew you could do it. Don’t worry, Captain and I’ll get you all better soon, I promise.” Leaning back with a sigh, she added, “That was so not the fun times. You all right over there?”

Kaylani caught Zeva staring – and not just because she’d been talking to her ship. The Jedi had seen spacers doing that all her life. No, Kaylani was the first thing she’d been able to see at all since she’d been freed from the carbonite. And she was a welcome sight, a bit smaller than Zeva, with long black hair and rich golden skin. Captain Fann would have found her pretty… But not me, Zeva told herself. I’m just glad to see anything.

But she was still staring. Zeva broke it off and turned her attention to the shining blue tunnel of hyperspace outside the ship. “I think so, yes. That was… impressive flying back there. The last ship I was on couldn’t get away from three fighters.”

“Thanks. We try not to go boom. One of our big goals in life. Cause, otherwise, you know, no life. Usually the Captain’s a bit more help with that goal than she was today. Hope she’s all right…”

“I’m fine, Kay,” Captain Varn announced over the headset communicators. “Sort of. I’m gonna go and clean up.”

“Okay, Captain, " Kaylani said. “You feel better. New bandages. Happy drugs.” Kaylani slid her headset off and turned her attention back to Zeva, who was doing the same. “Speaking of, do you need anything? I mean, we did just wake you up from carbonite and all…”

Zeva’s brow wrinkled as she shrugged her right shoulder, where the Twi’lek pirate had shot her. “I should see to this at some point.”

“You got shot too?” Kaylani leaned forward, apparently seeing the wound for the first time. “Oh, dear. Oh, boy. I am so not good with the patching up of people. Let me grab something or other…” As Zeva drew breath to object, Kaylani stood up and started to root around the cockpit. “Not that I’m that good at the patching up of anything, really; I just tell the tech people what my girl says…” She paused to pat a bulkhead absent-mindedly. “Ah, here we go.” She pulled a medikit out and turned back to Zeva. “Let’s see what we can figure out here…”

The Jedi started to slide her jacket off, wincing, but Kay stopped her. “Wait. Let me do that; you’re gonna make it worse. Bad as the Captain, you are.” Zeva stopped struggling, but wasn’t happy about it. “Get you patched up, make you and the Captain some soup, tuck you both into bed…” Kaylani paused once she’d eased Zeva out of the jacket, eyes widening as she studied the scars on Zeva’s arm. The Jedi saw a hint of blushing on her golden skin.

“A reminder,” Zeva said, a little embarrassed herself, “of the last time a ship got shot out from under me.”

“Wow,” Kay said. “You’ve had that happen more than once? No wonder you were surprised when we didn’t go boom.” Now she was the one staring.


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