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Korriban Nights: Chapter V

Chapter V

Slaine blinked. Had he been asleep? He reached for the stim-spray but it was empty. Things were getting a little hairy now.

He shook his head and readjusted his grip on the ion-cannon — the same one that had vaporized Vansenn and the better part of a storefront. It sat fixed on its tripod, pointing down the hall of Mari’s apartment with a clear shot at the door.

Mari. How long had she been gone?

Slaine remembered seeing her off. She had to go and pick up the forged travel documents and the tickets. She had decided to come with him. Get off this rotten planet once and for all. She had said something about clearing out a few bank accounts as well — perks of being a fixer. Good. Money would help things.

He sighed as he thought back on where it all had gone wrong. In his memory he could still smell the warehouse where those two Sith had eviscerated his partner, S1VR-4RM the assassin droid. Dry. Cold. If only they had paid them. Things could have been so easy.

But the Sith, it seemed, had a “no witness” policy. Scar and Blue Eyes had to be sure that no one who had seen that holovid survived. Korriban Nights.

Slaine felt his eyelids drifting together and his head slumping forward.

Korriban Nights. It was a strange name for a vid. He remembered it — close-ups of flesh, hair, lips, Mari calling his name… No that wasn’t right.

Mari with him in her bed after they ditched the speeder at a run-down housing scheme. Ignition running as a come-on to some unsuspecting joyrider.

He saw Mari’s lips kissing him on the holovid. He saw himself running his hand along her side.

He snapped awake and listened. Nothing.

A stuffed Ewok stared mournfully at him from the couch. It had a bow behind each ear. A girl.

Soon Mari would return with the IDs and tickets. Then they could start new lives. Maybe he could get a job in security somewhere, or advertising. He liked thinking of jingles for things. A few years back Slaine had entered a Galactic Breakfast Bar contest — they were looking for a slogan. He had submitted “When you’re hungrier than a black hole star/ Try our Galactic Breakfast Bars!”

He hadn’t heard back.

He applied a faint pressure to the cannon’s trigger. A glowing red dot appeared on the door at the end of the hall. He played a little with the sight and hummed… “Galactic Breakfast Bars.”

He would get off the planet, and Mari with him. Forget about this whole Korriban Nights thing. Forget about the Sith murderers and contracts on his head. He could start again. He would start again.

The Ewok didn’t seem convinced. Slaine picked it up and turned it to face the cushion.

“Everyone’s a critic.”

Could he trust her? Yes. She had saved him last night, after all. And it was pretty clear she had fallen hard for him. Slaine smiled. Yeah, he could trust her. It would be nice to have someone to talk to for once. Assassin droids made awful company. And there were certainly other advantages.

He remembered how she had looked that morning — leaving the bed in the half-light.

Of course, it would be nice to kill Scar and Blue Eyes, but you can’t have everything. Not immediately. Maybe once he put some distance between himself and the Sith he could start planning. Maybe he could find a way to even up the score. When you’re hungry like a black hole star….

Outside the apartment, in the hall, there came the sound of the turbolift doors opening. Slaine strained his ears — was it one pair of footsteps? Hard to tell. The rhythm was off. Someone was approaching the door.

The display meter on the side of the ion-cannon sprang into action. A series of green bars pulsed and the weapon began to hum.

Slaine listened as someone entered the security codes on the keypad outside. The door slowly opened. The red laser sight bounced on the wall opposite. The hall seemed empty.

Then came the voice, hoarse, almost a whisper. “I’ve got the girl. Put down your weapon. I know you are in there.”

Slaine didn’t breathe.

Outside in the hallway there was a yelp and then, “It’s true, Slaine. He–” She was cut off. Mari.

“We are coming in.”

Scar stepped into the doorway holding Mari as a shield in front of him. The lightsaber threw a red glow across the lower half of her face. The blade hovered a few inches from her throat. The laser sight bobbed slowly over her sternum.

“You see now?” Scar squinted. He must have known he was staring down the barrel of something but he didn’t seem phased.

“Drop the weapon, bounty hunter. I am here to talk. No harm will come to you or the girl if you do as I say.”

The Sith and his hostage stood framed in the light of the doorway.

Slaine could just make out the wetness on Mari’s cheeks. Tears.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Slaine sighed. “Me too, kid.”

And then he pulled the trigger.

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