Star Wars: Shackled Jedi
"Kriffing Hutt!" The woman cursed loudly as the ramp clanged shut. She turned to Tahiri and bowed, "Greetings from Queen Mother Tenel Ka. I'm Commander Ai'ria, you're safe now." Two of the guards disappeared, while the other two released Tahiri's arms and legs from their bonds.
"What?" Tahiri asked incredulously.
"I was sent to investigate pirate activities in this sector. Schliebak's gang has hit several Hapan trading ships. When I found out that you had been captured, I contacted the Queen and she sent a fleet. We are rendezvousing with it now."
Things were moving too fast for Tahiri. "What about Alema Rar?"
"I'm very sorry, I could only come up with enough credits in time to buy your freedom," she said with a grimace. "I tried to bet on you to get the money for both of you, but that didn't work out," she added.
Sithspit! Tahiri thought. If I'd won that stupid fight we'd both be free. If it wasn't for this stupid frame I'm wearing...
"Hey, get this frakking thing off me!" Tahiri told her when she thought about the horrible ysalamir frame welded on her.
"Sorry. Can't, at least not yet," Ai'ria replied holding up the datacard. "Did you know that that thing has a bomb built into it?"
"Yes," Tahiri replied, disappointed.
"OK. Well, the bomb is wired to a life monitor that is hooked up to the ysalamir. If it dies, the bomb explodes."
"Oh ... I see," Tahiri said, trying to think of something else.
The ship took off and headed for space. "We can get you some clothes to wear though," Ai'ria said as she eyed Tahiri's nude body.
Tahiri blushed with embarrassment. She had been naked so long that she had completely forgotten.
The ship reached the edge of Spraikela's atmosphere. A crew member brought Tahiri some clothes and Ai'ria left for the bridge. Tahiri thanked him and pulled the simple gray spacer jumpsuit on. It was far too big, but it had to cover the ysalamir frame. She declined the boots, preferring to go barefoot.
Instead of the bridge, the crew member took Tahiri to a cargo hold. Apparently, he was the resident ordinance expert, and Ai'ria wanted him to look at the bomb. First he had Tahiri pull down her jumpsuit. Then he had her lie down on a cargo container and he started examining the bomb on her back. Tahiri felt the ship enter hyperspace through the container.
After consulting the datacard and inspecting the device for several minutes, he decided that he did not have the expertise to safely defuse the bomb. He did explain to her and Ai'ria that Tahiri could go to the bridge, as the bomb was very small.
"How small?" Tahiri asked.
"Well, it probably wouldn't even exit through your chest. It's a wide dispersal explosive, and burns very hot. It's basically designed to kill the wearer and no one else."
"What about just disabling the ysalamir life switch thingy?" Tahiri asked. If she could get the Force back, she could live with having a bomb on her back awhile longer.
"Sorry," he replied. "I wouldn't risk it. The fleet has some real experts. Maybe they can help," he said with a shrug.
"Alright, bring Jedi Tahiri to the bridge. We'll rendezvous with the fleet soon," Ai'ria instructed him. By the time they made it to the bridge, the ship was exiting hyperspace.
The flagship of the Hapan fleet was an old Victory-class Star Destroyer. Tahiri was no expert on capital ship design, but the flagship looked to have been substantially modified from the other ones she had seen. Also present were trio of the famous Hapan Battle Dragons, five Nova cruisers, and about half a dozen smaller support ships.
The jumpsuit that they had given Tahiri was several sizes too big so it would fit over the ysalamir frame. She had to roll up the sleeves and legs to make it fit better. Somehow she felt more self-conscious about her exposed collar and cuffs with the jumpsuit than when she was naked.
Ai'ria contacted the flagship and gave the Admiral an update. The three Battle Dragons and one of the Nova cruisers disappeared into hyperspace. Tahiri wondered how she was going to save Alema Rar as she played with the D-ring on her cuff.
* * * * *
Alema Rar shuffled down the hallway towards Nevible the Hutt's ship. One Mandalorian and three guards were escorting her. One of the guards was an ex-soldier of the Galactic Alliance, and had served during the Yuuzhan Vong war. Schliebak had hired quite a few former soldiers as mercenaries. This was great news for Alema Rar. She had made lots of "friends" during the war.
From the ceiling, a 125kg Togorian landed on the Mandalorian. The two guards in front of Alema Rar turned and brought up their blasters. Blue stun bolts from the one behind her washed over the one on the left. Before the other could react, he was stunned by another ex-soldier from behind.
Two more of Alema Rar's allies came up from behind her. Their assistance wasn't necessary. The Togorian was staggering to his feet, the Mandalorian's helmet in his hand.
"Kriffing bucket head! I practically had to rip his head off to get this thing off," he said as he let the helmet clang to the floor. One soldier freed Alema Rar's arms and feet, while the others moved the stunned bodies and dead Mandalorian to a storage room. They took their comlinks, and stun-cuffed the live ones.
"What about Tahiri, my lightsaber, and this thing on my back?" Alema Rar asked the ex-soldier that had been escorting her as they finished hiding the evidence.
"We got a some people working on the lightsaber, Jedi Alema Rar. Raven took Tahiri to her ship and blasted off almost immediately. As for the frame, we are going to take care of that now. If you can take a deep breath for me?"
Alema Rar silently cursed Raven for taking Tahiri out of her grasp so quickly. She knew that she couldn't do anything to help her fellow Jedi now. While she held her breath, he slid a thick durasteel plate between her back and the bomb.
"We don't know for sure if that will save you, but the bomb is small and we think it will keep you alive if it does go off. We got a jammer in place so they can't set it off too easily, but we don't know how long that will work either." He took a breath. "Now we're going to get the guy that designed that little number, and make him disarm it."
"Thanks," Alema Rar replied as she took off the heels, so she could walk easier. "How long till they figure out what were up too?"
"Hard to say. None of them got off a signal, but we don't know how often the Mandos communicate with each other. By the way, I'm Captain Prestiin, formerly of the 53rd Special Ops Group." Alema Rar took the blaster carbine that was handed to her.
"Nice to meet you Captain Prestiin." Alema Rar frowned slightly. "Have we met before? I've met so many soldiers, I sometimes forget." She checked the power level on the carbine.
"Nope," he replied with a smile. "But I defiantly know you by reputation,"
Alema Rar returned the smile and added a wink. They were joined by six more confederates just before they arrived at the bomb maker's workshop. One of the Weequays in the new group told Alema Rar that the Hutt had taken off before they could retrieve her lightsaber.
"Thank you anyway," Alema Rar told her. "Thank you all for this. I'll make it up to all of you."
"Forget about it," one of the Humans said. "If it wasn't for you and the other Jedi, we'd all be scarhead slaves now." Several voiced their consent in his point of view.
They split into two groups and stormed the workshop. The bomb maker, an elderly human, was relaxing on a couch, watching a holomovie. He didn't seem particularly distressed at the blasters pointed at him.
"Ah, the Hutt's mercs are dissatisfied with their employment," he said sarcastically. Then he caught site of Alema Rar's naked form, and the blaster she was carrying.
"Oh, a Jedi rescue party. Even better." He paused the holomovie. "Just so you know, the Hutt keeps this place monitored at all times." He pointed at a couple of holocameras mounted in the corners. "So I don't think I'll be defusing that bomb anytime soon."
That sent a serious hydrospanner into the works. They needed some time to bribe / threaten / torture him into defusing the bomb so they could kill the ysalamir, Alema Rar thought.
Major Prestiin looked up at the holocams, then back at the bomb maker. "Don't you think that we know that? The people monitoring the security cameras for the whole building are with us." He turned back and waved at the holocam.
The bomb maker's smile turned to a frown. "I see," he said slowly. He smiled again. "Well, my fee for diffusing the bomb on the Jedi is transportation out of here. Hutts don't take kindly to betrayal."
Captain Prestiin considered this a moment. "Done," he replied.
The bomb-maker had Alema Rar lie down on a bench, and started working on the bomb. Ten minutes later, he was done. After reminding him that his life was forfeit if she died, Captain Prestiin opened up the protective cage on the frame and ripped the ysalamir out, killing it.
Alema Rar felt the Force return in a rush. It was like a long anticipated orgasm. She felt so alive! For the first time since the trap had been sprung, there was a Jedi on Spraikela.
Someone found an old model laser cutter and started cutting the frame off Alema Rar's back. She was barely paying attention, still basking in her returned Force awareness. Once the ysalamir frame was removed, he carefully started on the harness, which was tight against her blue skin. When the heat from the cutter touched the harness, she yelped in pain. The soldier quickly apologized, and pulled the laser cutter away.
"Forget about it," Alema Rar said to him. "Let's get a ship, and get off this rock."
"You don't want the harness cut off first?" Captain Prestiin asked her.
"Time enough for that later. I'd love to take out Schliebak too, but you guys have done enough for me. I'll get him later."
"Fair enough. What about him?" Captain Prestiin asked, gesturing towards the bomb maker.
"Hey! You said you'd take me with you!" he screamed in outrage.
Captain Prestiin ignored him, and waited for the Jedi's answer.
"I guess he can tag along," Alema Rar replied after a moment. "Find some stun cuffs or something for him, though."
The bomb maker was restrained, and they prepared to go to the port and steal a ship. "You want something to wear?" Captain Prestiin asked her, after he notified his other troops of the revised plans.
"Nah, I'm fine," Alema Rar replied with a smile.
He paused a moment, as if trying to figure out how to say something delicately. "Um, Jedi Alema Rar, you're kinda distracting some of my soldiers. Including me."
Alema Rar hadn't noticed the soldiers eying her. It was a part of life to her. As natural as breathing. A quick search of the workshop turned up nothing in the way of clothing. The group gave up, and headed for the port. With her Jedi skills, Alema Rar took point.
People were running everywhere. At first Alema Rar thought that they were all looking for her, but they all seemed surprised that she was carrying a blaster and was free. Unfortunately, none of them survived to explain what was going on.
Ten more joined the group in a storage warehouse, which was the last building before the port. Across the open landing pads, Schliebak's soldiers had set up a defensive position in the port operations building. A firefight was already in progress.
Captain Prestiin got an update from one of the soldiers that was already there. "There are fifteen of them on the roof, with more inside," he told the Captain.
Alema Rar heard several ships taking off behind the enemy, and all the landing pads she had seen were empty. A new sound erupted, the deafening staccato of an E-Web repeating blaster.
"Sithspit," she muttered. Alema Rar looked at the blaster carbine in her hand, wishing it was her lightsaber. Not that she would sprint across 150 meters with an E-Web shooting at her. She heard more curses from her troops. They felt the same way about charging one.
"Hey, what's in all these?" Alema Rar asked, waving at the stacks of cargo containers around them.
"No weapons, mostly food, clothes, medical supplies, spare parts, and electronics," someone replied.
Alema Rar hadn't really expected to find a container of rocket launchers, but it was worth a try. She peeked back across the landing pad. "Hey, somebody give me a grenade," she shouted.
Someone passed her one, and Alema Rar set down her carbine. She took a deep breath, concentrating on the Force. While 150 meters was an impossible throw for most humanoids, it wasn't all that long a throw for a Jedi. What she was planning was a little more complicated than just throwing it towards her enemies, though.
When Alema Rar was relaxed, she pulled the safety pin on the grenade. As long as she held the clip, nothing would happen. She released her grip and let the clip pop off. Still, she held the grenade. Several soldiers became fidgety.
Alema Rar suddenly popped up and threw the grenade. She was back down in less than a second. The blaster bolts took a little over a second to come through the window. She laid on the floor, eye closed, guiding the grenade with the Force. With the timing that only a Jedi could have, the grenade exploded mid-flight less than a meter from the E-Web gunner, killing him and destroying the repeating blaster.
The moment the grenade exploded Alema Rar was at another window with her blaster in hand. One shot, one kill. Two shots, two kills. Three. Duck and move back to the other window. Hear everyone else start shooting. Four shots, four down. Five down. Every in the ops building was ducking down.
"Cover me!" She yelled and jumped out of the window, running across the open landing pad.
About half way across blaster fire started back up from the ops building. With the Force augmenting her speed, the guards weren't able to track her fast enough. Firing from the hip, Alema Rar shot another guard on the run. With 30 meters to go, she fired several shots into a window.
Alema Rar leapt through the shot-out window and tried to land in a forward roll. That's when she remembered that she was only wearing the durasteel harness, and couldn't bend her torso into a roll. Alema Rar landed in a painful skid, and crashed into a table. A guard was huddling under a window, clutching a blaster rifle. After staring at the naked Jedi for several seconds, he started to bring his blaster to bear on her.
Cursing at her own stupidity, Alema Rar rolled half-way over and shot the guard. She climbed to her feet, and noticed she had a long cut on her left breast and side. Ignoring it, she rushed into the next room, and killed another guard.
Following the Force, Alema Rar found some stairs to the roof. Only four guards were still shooting back from there. She took out three of them before they even knew that she was there. The fourth one turned to try and shoot at her, and was taken out by one of her friends in the warehouse. Alema Rar almost stood and waved to them that the roof was clear, but remembered that most soldiers tend to shoot anything that moves. So instead she went to clear the rest of the building.
After taking out eight more guards downstairs, Alema Rar found a comlink and told Captain Prestiin to come on over. While waiting for him and his men, she went to the opposite side of the building to look for a ship. There were none left.
"Jedi Alema Rar, do you know that there is a battle going on in orbit?" Captain Prestiin asked her when he arrived.
"No," she replied puzzled. Captain Prestiin, her and a couple of soldiers went to the roof to get a better look. One of them brought some macrobinoculars, which he passed to Alema Rar. She looked up, and sure enough, saw the bright lights of capital ship class turbolaser beams. Alema Rar noticed several smaller dots that were rapidly getting bigger. "Sithspit!" She looked at Captain Prestiin. "Dropships," she explained to him.
He ordered the troops into defensive positions. Alema Rar reached out with the Force, trying to figure out who was in the dropships. Instead, she felt danger from the ground. Alema Rar scanned the surrounding buildings, and saw guards taking up position in a building a couple of hundred meters away.
"Friends of yours?" she asked Captain Prestiin. Before he could respond, a blaster bolt hit the wall below them. All four dived for cover and started returning fire.
Captain Prestiin called for more troops to the roof, and told the rest to find positions on the lower floor. Alema Rar guessed that there were about fifty troops attacking her twenty or so. Not only were they out numbered, they didn't have an E-Web to mow down anyone foolish enough to try and charge across the open ground. One advantage that the defenders of the ops building did have this time was a Jedi.
With the Force Alema Rar aimed and fired. Every shot was a hit, although not necessarily a kill.
An enemy soldier was hiding behind a cargo container. He decided to stand and take a few shots. Before he even stood Alema Rar fired, using the Force to aim. Her blaster bolt clipped the top of his helmet, sending it flying. He fell to the ground unhurt. He lost control of his bladder and tried to claw his way into the duracrete.
Still, there were too many shooting back. "Luattir," she heard Captain Prestiin mutter under the blaster fire.
"Where?" Alema Rar asked him.
"To the left, on the roof," he replied while shooting at the group of guards Luattir was in.
With an evil grin Alema Rar sought out the Majordomo. He was tough to kill. For some reason he didn't actually get up and shoot often, but he did keep yelling into a comlink. Alema Rar shot a soldier that ran up to him. Probably a messenger, she thought.
Alema Rar turned to check out the dropships. The last one was landing, with all three on the far side of the ops building from Luattir and his guards. Alema Rar rolled over next to Capitan Prestiin, and left him in charge. Then she crawled to the stairs, and went back down to see who was in the drop ships.
Several hundred troops had already disembarked from the ships, and taken up defensive positions. Her own soldiers were already exchanging blaster fire with the main group. About three dozen from each side moved to flanking positions. Alema Rar held up the macrobinoculars to get a better look.
Instantly, she recognized the uniforms of the Hapan Marines. "Sithspit! Cease fire! Cease Fire!" she yelled. The few troops were close enough to hear her ducked back behind cover. She got on a comlink and told every one else not to fire on the troops from the dropships. "Get me white flag!" The soldiers started looking around for one. "Anything white!"
Someone passed her a white undershirt. Alema Rar found a piece of scrap metal and attached the shirt to it. She waved the cloth in the window until she didn't hear anymore blaster fire. Tentatively, she stuck her head up. A Hapan officer was also holding up a white flag. He waved to her to come across. The naked Jedi stood and climbed out of the window.
They met in the middle. As he approached, Alema Rar saw him checking her out. He introduced himself as Major Ra'xin. "Alema Rar, Jedi Knight," she replied. She could feel his surprise and joy. Before he could respond, she continued. "My troops are in the ops building, in a firefight. We could use some help."
"Sure, Jedi Alema Rar," he replied quickly. He pulled out his comlink, ordered two platoons forward, plus three squads to flank the enemy, and for the fighter cover to standby for coordinates. Alema Rar got on her comlink and informed Captain Prestiin to expect friendlies from the dropships. Less than a minute later, the Hapan Marines entered the ops building to re-enforce Captain Prestiin's troops. Alema Rar declined the safety of the dropships, and returned to the ops building. She was happy to see the Hapans carrying three E-Webs into the ops building.
The increased fire from the ops building, along with the three squads that were sent on the flanking maneuver quickly decimated Luattir's guards. When the Hetrinar assault bombers hit the enemy's position five minutes later, it was over. Once Alema Rar made sure that the Hapan medics were working on her troops as well as the Marines, she went to find Captain Prestiin.
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