Star Wars: X-Wing:
Lusankya — Chapter Thirteen

Rating: R
Shadow Chaser

Author’s Warning: This fic is rated R for heavy graphic violence, torture, and imprisonment.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Star Wars characters except those of Akiba Muune, Lieutenant Dysune Tayib, and Captain Falco Avin. All other characters belong to Lucasfilm and their respective authors. I am not making a profit out of this story, it is only written for fans to enjoy.

Tycho had managed to get at least three hours of sleep before the booted feet of stormtroopers told him that morning had arrived and they were going to be escorted to the mines for a day’s work.  He got up along with the Mon Cal, still feeling a twinge of pain in his leg and watched as the stormtroopers broke the prisoners into groups and led them out.

Akiba unconsciously grabbed his hand into hers and pulled him close to her as the stormtroopers approached them and unceremoniously shoved them into a group of people before prodding the group along.  He stumbled along with her as they were led out of the pit-cell and struggled to stay to the side so he could watch his surroundings.  The first task of a prisoner was to escape and he wanted to know where he was going and burn the images into his memory.

They walked through various twists and turns of corridors until they came upon and open area that was surrounded by dome where a line had formed.  Tycho realize that this was where they were going to eat and the stormtroopers promptly shoved the people into line.  He was roughly pushed into the line and gave a quick glare to the stormtrooper who shoved him before following Akiba’s lead.

They were given a pasty white organic looking meal with chunks of something in it and sat down at the edge of a table and Akiba began shoveling the food into her mouth, making no sound.  Tycho stared at his food before taking a mouthful in and nearly gagging on its contents.

"Don't spit it out.  You need your strength.  Its protein and other nutrient based meal," the Mon Cal whispered urgently as he forced himself to swallow and take another mouthful.  When he was half way through his "meal" the Mon Cal suddenly dumped the rest of her food into his and he glanced at her.

"You'll need it since it's your first day working," she whispered before glancing around, making sure that no one was interested in their conversation, "the mines are rough.  Stay close to me and grab onto my utility belt so you won't get lost."

"Utility belt?"

"We pick them up before heading into the mines.  The weapons aren't powerful enough to kill any guard, but it's all we got," she replied.  He quickly forced the rest of his breakfast down his throat just as the stormtroopers started to come towards them to move them along.  Some of the prisoners protested as their meals were taken away, but they were roughly hauled into line and the food thrown to the ground.

However, most of the others were silent and almost docile, as if they had expected this life to be their only saving grace.  He realized that the prisoners that were silent had been here the longest and they had resigned themselves to die in the mines ... to die by the Empire's hand.  A slight shudder ran through him as he followed Akiba and the rest of the line out of the eating hall, he most certainly wasn't going to resign himself to dying in the mines of Akrit'tar, no way in hell.

They marched through a series of downward spiraling hallways, the lighting getting dimmer and dimmer.  Broken appliances littered the sides of the halls, remnants of droids, a few skulls and bones, and other appliances.  There were also scorch marks that lined some of the walls and he was curious as to what it was before Akiba grabbed his hand to prevent him from touching the walls for a closer inspection.

"Rebellion about a few weeks ago ... took out one of the major faction leaders here ...   The stormtroopers had all of us watched their execution," she whispered to him as they shuffled along.

"Those blast marks look like grenade work," he commented softly.

"They executed them in various ways ... some with grenades stuck onto them, others the traditional blaster to the head style," she murmured back.

Tycho looked at the walls and saw indeed, one of the black marks on the wall had a light outline of a human body ...

The line abruptly stopped and he nearly crashed into Akiba's back before steadying himself on a rocky outcropping.  It was then that the Mon Cal shoved a worn looking belt with a few tools into his face along with a breather mask and heavy gloves.

"For you ... they're one of the better ones I could get," she said and Tycho fumbled slightly with all of the things in his hands, but managed to strap the belt on, fit the breather mask over his face, and put the rough gloves on.  He was shoved slightly into the wall outcropping as others tried to get the equipment and his leg protested at such sudden movement.

"All right, Group 1, move in," one of the stormtroopers suddenly shouted and the shuffling of feet nearly made Tycho loose Akiba in the crowd.  He barely latched onto her arm before he felt himself swept along with the group going further down the hall.  They stopped in front of heavy looking blast doors before the doors groaned open and he was blasted with a musty smell, cool wind, and a dark oppressive feeling.  There were no lights and the group shuffled forward, the others turning on their head lamps as they headed into the mines.

He shuffled along with them into the mines, turning on his head lamp and breathed the musty and dust filled air.  Immediately he wanted to gag and the watery contents of his meal threatened to spill out of his mouth but he clamped down on his gag reflex.  Instead, he coughed violently, dismayed to feel his whole body shaking as they kept going further down into the mines.

The chill air of the mines puckered his exposed skin in the thin insulate material of the remnants of his flightsuit that he still wore.  He shivered slightly as a few others did too before bunching together for warmth.  The smell of so many bodies near each other wasn't as bad as it was in the pits where people usually laid upon heaps on top of each other if there wasn't any space, but it was still discomforting.

He didn't dare glance back as his flashlight played all over the back of Akiba's head, highlighting the patches of blue-green rubbery-like skin she had, but he thought he had heard a sinister snicker of sorts.  Maybe what the Mon Cal had said was true ... maybe he was a valuable commodity ... and if so, being bunched together like this, with tools that while couldn't exactly kill stormtroopers, it probably could kill the other prisoners here.

Taking one hand off of holding Akiba's belt so that he wouldn't get lost in the shuffle, he reached down to his own utility belt and adjusted it so that all of his tools were in front of him.  No need to give anyone who might either have it against him or against Akiba an advantage.

It seemed like they were walking for forever when suddenly the group came to a halt and the bright white stormtroopers pushed their way through the group, sending a few people scrambling to grab onto outcroppings or rocks.  It was also then that Tycho was truly aware of their surroundings.  He was shoved to his right and grabbed onto a rock face with Akiba and a couple of others joining him.  Flashing his headlight around him, he saw that they were on a narrow path, and the edge of that path was a very, very, deep and dark cavern that seemed to go down for miles.  He peered over the outcropping, making sure that his grip on the jagged rock face was secure ...

"It's endless ... two people died yesterday.  We kept hearing them scream ... for about ten minutes ... then either their screams died away or they actually hit the bottom," the Mon Cal murmured before pulling him away from the edge and towards the opposite side, where he saw many holes, most of them barely big enough to fit bodies through pocketed the rocky wall.  He saw that most of the prisoners had tunneled their way in and were already at work.

"We're over here," she pulled him towards one of the larger holes ... almost big enough to fit two people at the same time.  "Do what I do and the roof won't collapse over us."  He nodded, trusting her.

Akiba got down flat on her stomach and Tycho did the same.  She pulled a few tools from her belt and he fumbled with his, but managed to get them out and watched as she pulled herself into the tunnel.  "Follow me," her light shined into his face, blinding him temporarily but he quickly blinked the spots out of his vision and followed next to her into the man-made tunnel.

It was cramped and the distinctive fish-like smell of her in such close proximity almost made him gag through his breather mask.  He was careful not to scrape the tubes of his mask against the gravel as he crawled his way next to her.  Occasionally, his arms scrapped against the jagged rocks of the ceiling and sides, but he ignored the pain.  After growing up in the wide-open plains of Alderaan and being a pilot for all of his career, being stuck in a hole with barely five inches of ceiling above him and literally no room for him to push his arms outwards, he started to feel claustrophobic.

"Calm down," a rubbery feeling pressed against his arm and he looked up to see one of Akiba's wide-fish eyes staring at him.  A sense of calm washed over him, muting the claustrophobia.  He nodded, not realizing that his breathing had become a bit hyperventilated and hurried.

Forcing himself to stay calm, he watched as she got the tools she had on her belt, ignoring a flare of pain that raked up his right arm as she accidentally scratched him with a drill bit and moved them to start tapping on the walls.  Little flakes of dust rose into the cramped, stale air, and he forced himself to breathe past the dust, noting that the outside of his breather mask was starting to get covered by the dust.

He grabbed his tools, worming his way around the belt, and silently cursing the fact that he had put most of the tools in front of him, which were now digging into his thighs and stomach a bit painfully.

"What are we supposed to dig for?" he asked as he tapped another spot next to Akiba's.

"There are some precious minerals down here, but mostly our own graves," she replied, scratching out a shiny looking object.  She held it towards him and he nodded.

"Then why don't the workers just lounge in the holes?" he asked.

"Try staying still with your hands for a few minutes ... you will know why ... " she replied as she continued to chip away little bits and pieces of rock.

He looked at her, puzzled before he could feel it even after a few seconds.  A numbing feeling of cold that had already crawled into his legs, was working their way up his fingers.  So even it was worthless to dig in the tunnels, it was still a way to keep warm without dying from the freezing cold.

"How do you keep the legs warm?" he asked, trying to move his feet and accidentally kicking Akiba's legs.  "Sorry ... "

"No worries," she replied, before gently kicking him back, "just be careful where you kick.  The rocks in here are highly unstable and any large jolting force can bring them down on you."

"Are there earthquakes here?" he asked.

"Yes, but they are small rumbles ... but they do end up crushing a few people within the tunnels.  This one still hasn't collapsed yet, partially because I think of the rock density," she tapped part of the wall she was working on, "most of the rocks here are soft compounds ... but I found this one a few months ago and have been working on it ever since."

"You dug all of this?" he was surprised given the fact that the tunnel was quite deep in.

"No," she looked away, concentrating on her digging.  "I had help ... "

"I'm ... sorry," he apologized, tapping the part he was working on.  He suspected it was probably someone that Akiba knew that had died while helping her.

"I don't need an apology," her tone was sharp and he blinked, surprised.  Then he squinted his eyes as dust got into them and squeezed them shut to get the dust out.  When he opened them again, they were a bit watery.

He opened his mouth to speak again when she looked at him, the top of her head scraping against the ceiling and he closed his mouth, seeing what wasn't really anger, but more like resentment.  "This tunnel is specifically for me to help people.  And it was dug to help you."  She turned back to her work, digging out a couple more little shiny stones.

Tycho returned to his work, and the only sound that filled the tunnel was the tapping of their tools against the rocks.  He moved his legs slightly, trying to get some warmth and feeling back into them.  After a few minutes, it occurred to him what the Mon Cal had said.

"He helped you, didn't he?" he said in a quiet tone, "that same person you had saved me from ..."

A sideways look at her showed that her bulbous eyes were resolutely staring at the site she was working on, but he knew that he had hit the truth of what was going on.  He sighed quietly before going back to work, feeling a cramp beginning on his left shin.

* * * * *

It felt like forever being in that cramped tunnel, but when Akiba told him that it was time to head back out, getting out of that cramped small tunnel was the hard part.  Tycho was dismayed to feel that almost half of his body had gone numb from little to no movement and it took a few minutes to get his legs and hips working in a semi-coherent fashion again to wriggle back out of the tunnel with Akiba.

When he finally managed to extricate himself, he stood up on unsteady legs and stumbled a bit.  Only with Akiba's firm grip on his arm prevented him from tumbling over the edge and into the deep, long chasm.  He spent the next few minutes doing some squats and shaking his legs out, trying to get the cold feeling away and getting perhaps a sliver of warmth and feeling back into them.

Eventually he noticed that many of the prisoners were also extracting themselves from the tunnels that they had gone into.  The stormtroopers came by and started shoving them back into a group before prodding them to start walking back up.  He kept his hand on Akiba's utility belt once more as they headed back up to the surface.  He felt so exhausted, cold, and hungry, but knew that they weren't going to get any other meal.

When they finally reached the room where they had gotten the equipment, Tycho's legs were already screaming from the pain and cold, especially his right leg.  He took off the belt and dumped it with the others before Akiba's cool hand grabbed onto his arm and dragged him along so he wouldn't get separated from her as they were shuffled back into the pit-cell.

He was so out of it that he almost didn't pay attention when someone bumped roughly into him and Akiba, shoving them to the side before grabbing Akiba's other arm.  Tycho immediately started and looked up and saw a man about a few centimeters taller than he was with rakishly good looks and black hair.  However, his expression marred the good looking part of him as he had a possessive look to his wide eyes and a smile that Tycho did not like one bit.  It was the look of a man who had found his prey and was savoring the moment.

"Akiba ... good to see you again," the man looked dusty from his time in the tunnels, but otherwise, strong and healthy ...

"What do you want Davion?" Akiba shook off the man's arm, but he looped it around again.  Tycho hung in the back, still holding onto the Mon Cal's sleeve, making himself look uninterested and dead to the world, but his ears were sharply paying attention to every word that was said.

"I see you're enjoying your new little pet," the comment was directed at Tycho but he pretended not to hear it and instead kept his gaze lowered to the ground.

"He is a friend and treat him so," Akiba replied sharply, "and let go of me!"

"As you wish, my dear," Davion replied, "just remember ... you owe me."

"I owe you nothing.  Leave me," she shot back.

Davion's sinister laugh echoed from further up the group and Tycho finally looked up to see anger in Akiba's eyes.  One of her finned hands was curled and she was trembling all over.  He looked beyond her to see Davion walking with a group of prisoners, some who were scrawny looking, and others who looked to have a bit more muscle and realized that was a leader of one of the factions in the prison.

"Is he the one?" he asked her quietly.

She nodded once just as they entered the pit-cell before she shook off his grip on her sleeve.  "I need some time alone."

She abruptly headed off into a different part of the cell before Tycho could grab onto her again.  He watched as she disappeared into sea of humans and aliens before shrugging and headed towards the outcropping he had slept in last night.  Perhaps he would talk with this Davion later ...

* * * * *

In a few hours, all the prisoners were settled into sections of the pit, some in factions, others just lying on the ground.  There were a few groans from those who had been injured that day to screams of those either getting raped or having passionate sex farther down the pit.  All in all, a buzz had filled the pit with people talking or betting on fights that were occurring sporadically.

So when Tycho picked his way through the masses of bodies, he was basically ignored until he reached what was the edge of Davion's faction ... which was a lot of people in between him and Davion.  He could see the man sitting in a circle of people, surrounded by a few females, both alien and human who were fawning over him and his bodyguards.  And one of those bodyguards met him with a glare and arms folded over his chest.

"Let me pass.  I want to talk with Davion," he said, staring at the taller and heavily built bodyguard.  He suspected that based on first glance of the people within the man's group, that they had connections to the Imperials here ... which was why a majority of them looked so healthy compared to the others in the pit.

"No one talks to Davion-"

"Let him pass, Ogun," Davion's silky and oily voice startled both of them and the guard hastily moved to the side.  Tycho narrowed his eyes as he saw the man gesture for him to come closer.

He did at the utmost reluctant of paces and those in his circle parted widely to allow him through.  It was almost as if they feared both him and Davion ... or perhaps just Davion.  The man stood up as he approached and a wide smile graced his features ... the same smile that made the hairs on the back of Tycho's neck stand up in warning.

"I am Davion, former squad leader of a part of Red Hand Squadron part of the force on Toprawa to deliver the Death Star plans," he said, sticking out a hand to shake.

Tycho refused to shake the man's hand instead said, "Tycho Celchu, Captain, Republic Space Force, serial number 68970024."

"No need for the POW act, Captain," Davion's smile cracked just a little as he put his hand away, "we're all friends here."

He didn't say anything and instead watched the man carefully.

"Now," Davion clasped his hands behind his back, "surely you want something to come all the way here to see me.  Is Akiba treating you all right?  She did seem terribly rude to you, letting you hold her like a pet."

"I think it's your treatment of Akiba Muune that is in question," Tycho said, "I would ask that you stop, but you aren't going to listen to me, are you?"

Davion smiled thinly, "You are a sharp one Celchu ... perhaps I shouldn't have made that bargain with the Mon Calamari.  You're an Alderaanian, aren't you?"

The sudden change in question threw Tycho off and he looked at him, confused.  He could feel the day's aches and pains starting to creep up on him again, but he willfully ignored it, trying to focus on the conversation.

"Ah yes," Davion nodded mostly to himself, "I would be careful, Captain, in the future.  I have connections, you see, to those that keep us captive.  Such connections ... can be useful ..."

"And ... ?" if there was one thing he learned from Han Solo during their stay on the ice-bound planet of Hoth, it was never to show his hand so early in a game of sabacc ... or for anything in that matter.  He would pretend to be interested in whatever Davion had offered, after all, he was just collecting information.

"I can offer you protection, offer Akiba protection from the Imperials," Davion smiled.

"I don't see the need for such protection," he shrugged, playing up his ignorance.

"Ah, but there will be a time when such protection is needed," the way Davion had said it made Tycho suspect something ... and it was something he didn't like.

"Then I'll consider it for now," he returned a thin smile of his own before turning around and walking away; Ogun, Davion's big bodyguard shoving him along and back out into the masses.  He could feel Davion's eyes boring into him as he walked back across the pit to his resting spot and knew that this was only the beginning of something big that was going to happen in his stay at Akrit'tar.

* * * * *

Author’s Notes: Hmm ... I get the feeling that this fic is going to be one of those long-to-be-updated ones.  As if you haven't noticed.  Anyways, thank you for those who have long stayed with this fic — your reviews are much appreciated.  I will continue this fic, but as you've noticed, it will be a while in between updates as other stories take up my time.  I was originally going to put Tycho's stay on Akrit'tar to be short, but my sister and long-time beta-reader of this fic (she's also the inspiration to write this) told me to expand his stay, hence, the introduction of a new character, Davion.

To Chapter Twelve | To Chapter Fourteen

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