hitsugayas-time-off

The repulsors cycled down, signifying that the Hidden Sun’s docking procedures were complete. Hitsugaya stood at the top of the exit ramp as it sprang to life. The hot, dry air of the fourth moon of Lannik rushed up the ramp, swirling the short white hair that poked out from under the hood of his Jedi robe.

The last several weeks of research and hard work were coming to a head for the young padawan. Hitsugaya had a promise to keep. He made a promise to Corell, the slave turned bartender that helped him complete his last mission to this camp, that he would one day return to free him. Weeks of researching the chest implant used to keep Corell from leaving the camp had finally turned up some promising news. While the device encased within him was set to explode should the slave travel more than a set distance from his master’s residence, portable hand-held units existed to allow the master to transport his stock without messy consequences. Hitsugaya was able to acquire the plans for the device from the manufacturer’s main frame, and with some help from his team, built a functioning unit. The fact the transmitter was untested and cobbled together from the spare parts on hand wasn’t going to stop Hitsugaya from completing his task and getting Corell off this moon.

Descending the ramp, the padawan checked his gear and ran through a Jedi Meditation technique meant to focus his mind and calm his nerves. The landing area appeared deserted. A lucky break, considering his last visit almost ended at this very spot, when security droids descended on him from seemingly all directions. A quick glance at his chronolog confirmed Hitsugaya had just three hours before the Hidden Sun would be departing.

Hitsugaya headed off in the direction of the cantina. Moving through the collection of small tents and houses that served as both the local market and residences, a small sense of relief washed over him as he realized that nothing had changed since his last visit. The camp was abuzz with activity, yet no one seemed to take notice of him. And after a few short minutes of navigating the camp, Hitsugaya once again stood in front of Debin Karre’s Cantina.

Entering the cantina, Hitsugaya found the small room alive with off-worlders waiting for their ships to be off loaded. The air was thick with smoke and the stench of a dozen half-drunk privateers. Hitsugaya noted the same three Gamorrean Guards he had met on his previous visit. One guard stood by the entrance while the remaining two guarded the door to Karre’s office. Standing behind the bar was Corell. Apparently nothing had changed in the six months since his last visit. Sitting down at the bar, Hitsugaya arranged the peanuts from a nearby bowl into the familiar arrow shape that signaled to Corell they needed to meet outside. With a sweep of his hand Corell cleared the signal and sat down a mug of some unidentified steaming blue liquid in its place. A sharp look at the entrance guard was Corell’s response to the request.

Looking around the bar, the padawan spied a bar maiden with a full tray of drinks serving a table of Twi’leks. Hitsugaya calmed his mind and reached out with the Force. Seizing the tray, he dumped the contents over the largest of the smugglers. Immediately, the Twi’lek jumped to his feet, swung his head tentacles over his shoulder and began to berate the server for her clumsiness. Catching Corell’s gaze, Hitsugaya nodded at the door. The Gamorrean guarding the exit, noticing the commotion, lumbered across the room to calm the Twi’lek with a good sharp blow to the head. With all eyes turned to the excitement, Hitsugaya and Corell slipped out the front entrance and into the street.

As the two moved around behind the bar and toward the woods surrounding the camp, Corell found his voice. “So Jedi, what do you need my help with this time? I take it I’ll be paid with more of your lies?” he spat angrily. The words bit deep. Hitsugaya’s guilt over leaving Corell at their last meeting had been fueling his late night research for some time.
Removing the transmitter from a fold in his cloak, the padawan responded, “Corell, I’m sorry I left you behind. But this time I have the means to help you. Keep this in your pocket. As long as you have this, you can travel from this camp. I’m taking you to see the Prophet. She promised to remove your implant.”

“What is this piece of shit? It looks like something you picked up from the scrap bin at a Gungan droid factory,” Corell exclaimed.

Moving deeper into the woods, Hitsugaya spotted a small clearing ahead. A single guard riding a 74-Z hovered in the middle of the clearing, looking through a pair of binoculars; scanning the woods in the opposite direction of the camp. The speeder bike was exactly what he’d been looking for. With a hushed whisper, Hitsugaya responded to Corell, “That piece of shit will keep your chest from exploding. I think. Regardless, we don’t have time to argue. Debin will notice you’ve left the bar any minute and his guard will start combing the parameter. It’s now or never.”

“These are not comforting words, Jedi. But lead on,” Corell snapped. Reaching out with the Force once more, Hitsugaya touched the guard’s mind. The sound of a broken twig cracked out from the guards left rear flank. Dismounting from the bike, the guard caught sight of a bounty hunter moving toward the camp.

“Halt! Who goes there?” called the guard. The phantom bounty hunter slid behind a tree. The sound of his movement quickened in pace.

The guard clicked on his com as he moved after the intruder. “Intruder in Section N15 moving toward the camp. In pursuit!” he shouted into the unit. As the guard disappeared into the thick brush, Hitsugaya and Corell made a beeline for the speeder bike and within moments they were well out of sight.

After several minutes of travel, Corell leaned closer to the padawan. The roar of the air rushing by was deafening. Shouting into Hitsugaya’s ear, he said, “We’re going to find out in a few seconds if your toy works. And given our proximity, if it doesn’t, it’s mostly likely making a mess of both of us.”

Long seconds passed, as both men held their breath. “I told you it would work,” Hitsugaya bragged loudly, once he was certain they were out of range.

“If your toy is so great, why didn’t we head straight for the space dock?” Corell asked. The young man’s reply left Corell speechless. “The battery is only good for 20 minutes,” he shrugged.
Following the course readouts on his data pad, Hitsugaya piloted the speeder bike directly to Valara Sear. Valara, locally known as The Prophet, was a Force user who helped Hitsugaya during his last trip to the second moon of Lennik. She had healed his entire team and offered to help Corell if he could be delivered to her door. They found Valara waiting for them outside her small hut when they arrived. “I see you’ve managed to sneak him out of camp in one piece,” she said in way of greeting.

“Of course. However, we only have about 10 minutes until that changes. The battery is completely under powered for the transmitter’s requirements,” Hitsugaya said quickly. Corell held up the make-shift transmitter in way of explanation.

Valara sighed and looked toward the heavens for strength. “Get inside and let’s get started, then,” she said as she moved toward the hut and opened the door. Once inside, Corell laid on the hard floor and Valara knelt beside him. Tapping into her emotions, Valara filled her heart with love. She felt the warm embrace of the Force wash over her. Moving her hand over Corell’s chest, the image of the slave restraint implanted in his chest floated in front of her eyes. The device slowly spun as its inner workings floated out from the middle and spun like satellites orbiting a central planet. Valara’s sharp eyes studied the device until she found the power coupler. Focusing her feelings, Valara disabled the coupler and the device powered down. Rousing from her trance, Valara stood up and looked down at Corell. “You’re done,” she stated calmly.

“Wait, what?” he exclaimed. “You said she’d remove the device,” he said, glaring at Hitsugaya.

While not being directly addressed, Valara replied to the angry man. “You can’t remove the device without a surgical droid. I’ve disabled the device. It’s the next best thing,” she explained carefully.

For the next hour and twenty minutes, Valara, Hitsugaya and Corell shared a simple meal while the Prophet tried to calm Corell and answer all of his questions. As the conversation started to circle back to removing the device for the third time, Hitsugaya interrupted. “Corell, if we’re going to make it back to the ship and leave this moon, we need to head back to camp now,” he declared.

With a begrudging grunt, Corell and Hitsugaya said their goodbyes and headed back to camp on the speeder bike. Circling around the camp, Hitsugaya directed the bike to the far side of the space port. Abandoning the bike in the brush, the two exited the woods. As they stepped from within the cover of the trees, Hitsugaya felt a disturbance in the Force. Grabbing Corell and stepping back into the woods for cover, he saw Debin Karre and his Gamorrean guards patrolling the space port. The four of them stood between the freedom of the Hidden Sun’s boarding ramp and the woods. Calming his thoughts, Hitsugaya performed the Jedi trance that would sharpen his fighting acumen. Igniting his blade, Hitsugaya said to Corell, “Stay behind me and keep moving toward the ship.”

The air around them exploded in a hail of blaster fire. The guards fired as furiously as they could. Hitsugaya swung his lightsaber in quick furious arcs, deflecting the blaster fire in all directions. The two advanced in a straight line toward the guards. A slight change in the attack angle of the glowing blade redirected a blast back into the face on the middle guard. The Gammorean squealed in pain and dropped to the tarmac.

Hitsugaya shifted Corell closer to his left flank and adjusted his advance toward the leftmost guard. Circling around his outside, Hitsugaya swung the blade in a downward-sweeping arch and cleaved the Gammorean’s blaster in two. Without breaking pace, the two continued to advance on the ramp, leaving the slower moving guards behind.

Crossing the empty spaceport, Hitsugaya focused his attention on Debin, who was standing in front of the Hidden Sun’s waiting ramp. Debin drew his blaster, leveling it at the fleeing men. “The Hutt will never let his slave go. You might leave this planet, but you’ll be hunted. Corell, return to the bar and we can forget this little event every happened,” he stated coldly.

“Never!” Corell screamed.

Debin’s first shot struck Hitsugaya directly in the shoulder. “Don’t stop! Get onto the ship,” Hitsugaya commanded, his teeth clenched tightly. Advancing on Debin, Hitsugaya managed to drive the Hutt’s lackey back with a strong volley of wide, arching blows. Sensing his opening, Corell sprinted directly into the ship, leaving the padawan and the slave master to sort things out.
Before Debin could catch his breath and recover his balance, Hitsugaya moved closer. “Last time we met, you only survived because of the detonator in your hand. This time your luck changes,” the padawan said definitively. Stretching out his hand, Hitsugaya focused the Force in the palm of his hand and released a single wave of energy that struck Debin and sent him sailing backwards a minimum of 15 meters. Lying on his back, Debin raised his head and saw the Jedi extinguish his lightsaber just as the dark spots at the edge of his vision coalesced into a single patch of blackness. Debin’s head struck the tarmac a second time as the thug passed out. Turning away, Hitsugaya approached the ship, stepping inside; the door sliding shut behind him.

Sitting at a table in front of a small porthole, Hitsugaya and Corell watched the stars stream by. Speaking over his cup of steaming tea, Hitsugaya glanced at his companion. “So, what will you do now?” he asked quietly.

Setting down his mug of ale, the ex-slave pondered the question for a moment. “Do you know anyone who needs a bartender?” he asked, smiling broadly.

hitsugayas-time-off

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