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RocketBoy posted a topic in Factions*Your entry has earned 5 XP* Previous entries in Across the Stars: I - Targonn - Severance Pay II - Targonn - Murder! III - Targonn - Diner Tables and Missed Connections IV - Garel - The Manifest V - Yavin IV - The Temple Job VI - Mustafar - Submission and Death VII - Ossus - The Planet of Ghosts VIII - Dagobah - The Magic Tree IX - Mustafar - The House in the Ash Forest STORY On board the ILC Rigorous, Cell Block 3 Eefo stared at the durasteel wall, her vision dim. She sat on her knees, her dirt-stained Searcher robes a constant reminder of Ossus. The deaths of her mentor and her comrades rang in her mind, killed by Imperial weapons as they sat defeated in the alloy dust. Eefo had been an Imperial spy herself, months ago. She couldn't get this fact out of her head, try as she might. Her past had no effect on what had happened: it hadn't been her fault they had come, and there was nothing she could have done to save Abay and the others. But the constant ache in her gut didn't care. They had kept her drugged since she’d been dragged on board. Truth-serum, administered by a floating black ball of a droid that stuck her in the arm with a needle. Lt. Syfot--a vicious creature, turned mad by the jungle before being given back his uniform--had barked questions at her about Balaam's Heart, but she had no answers: Balaam's writings were safely away with Nathan and Ozz. She knew nothing of their plans or where they were going, and as soon as Syfot realized this she had been left alone. It had now been days since she had seen anyone. Nothing but gray walls at which to stare. The door behind her slid open. A stormtrooper stepped inside. “Get up. Come on,” it demanded. She was groggy from the serums and Syfot's beatings. Another trooper entered, and the two had to drag her to her feet and carry her out into the halls. They left her in a different gray-walled room, but this one had a window that looked out onto the blackness of space. It was at least something new. Eefo sat and contemplated its vastness through the fog in her mind. She felt a dim sense of gratitude to finally see something unmanufactured again. Billions of twinkling stars burning a billion miles away. Life-sustaining, life-ending. When Abay was in his prime, before Ossus drove him mad and Syfot shot him minutes after they got him back, he had a lot to say about stars. He had always had a lot to say about everything. She already missed him. After an unknown period of time, the door slid open again. A single person walked inside and the door closed behind them. Eefo didn’t bother turning to look. “Hey, you're Eefo, right?” a woman said. “My name is Mayla.” Eefo’s words came out bitter and slurred. “Perfection. Are you here to…court martial me for desertion? Pah…the Empire is in shambles. You’re all a—a farce.” A bout of coughing interrupted her tirade. Mayla stepped towards her slowly. Her voice was gentle, her tone careful. “No, Eefo. I’m--” she stopped, looked around warily, and dropped her voice to a whisper. “I’m like you. A spy who's had enough of the Empire. I’m here to get you out.” Finally, Eefo felt her senses return. She turned to look at the girl, eyes wide, but was shushed before she could exclaim. The young woman called Mayla looked serious. Afraid, but confident. Sturdy. Trustworthy. She spoke quickly and quietly. “It’s going to be deadly for us both if you don’t listen to exactly what I say, and follow it to the letter. You understand?” Eefo did. She squinted at the small woman. “Why should I trust you?” “You met Nathan, didn’t you?” “The boy?" scoffed the Rodian. "How do you know the boy?” “Well, that's a long story," she said, suddenly looking self-conscious. "I think I’m why he was on Ossus in the first place. I tried to help him. Well, I tried to make it easier for him to help me.” She shook her head, cutting herself short. “This isn’t important right now. Some things are happening. It’s only a matter of time before Syfot or his ghoul decide I’m a loose end. Those stormtroopers could turn on me any second, so it’s time for me to fly the coop. I thought you would want to join me.” “You were correct,” said Eefo, watching the girl with a new curiosity. She rose to her feet, helped by Mayla as she stumbled, but her head began to clear as she once again felt a sense of purpose. The two former Imperial spies collected themselves, gathering their strength for what they were about to do. Eefo wished she had a weapon, but if it came to it, she knew something of hand-to-hand combat. Van Konn had taught her. Van Konn was dead. She banished the thought. “I will follow you," she said firmly. "What must we do, girl?” “We—“ Mayla was cut off by the swishing of the door. Two troopers emerged, their carbines cradled and ready to shoot. “Stop right there!” one commanded. “You’re subject for execution, for treason against the Empire!” Mayla grimaced. “I did say ‘any second.’” With practiced quickness, she slipped her hold-out blaster from its spot on her thigh and fired twice. The room flashed with red light, the troopers dropped heavily and clattered to the floor. Mayla cried out; she had been hit. She grabbed her arm where the blaster burn smoked. “Your arm!” Eefo scowled. “I’ll be okay,” Mayla insisted through grit teeth. “I’m getting you out of here, don’t worry.” Despite her obvious shock, Eefo scrambled for one of the troopers’ weapons. She turned back to her co-escapee. “Where must we go?” Mayla, hand shaking, pointed with the muzzle of her blaster. “To the hangar, that way.” She looked out into the corridor; a technician was racing down the hall. In moments, the alarm would blare throughout the Rigorous, and a swarm of stormtroopers would come for them. “I know the way,” Eefo told her. “I'll go first, watch behind us. Come on!” ________________________________________________ This is a sort of interlude, but the next full part is coming. Thanks for looking!