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Writing Right Back At It [PG-13]


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[color=deeppink]Justin and I decided that we (mostly myself :p) couldn't handle being away from writing a story for too long. Thus, we're Right Back At It. Enjoy ;)


[i]Anahli Jem didn?t forget. Not people, not places, and especially not events. Most importantly, she didn?t forget those who had hurt her. There were minor incidents that she allowed herself to forget, and shelved the less important of the major ones in the back of her memory, but the most important of the set were sharp and clear and thirsty for vengeance?[/i]

[u][b]Some time shortly before the rise of the Empire:[/u][/b]

?Ana!? She cursed when her head jerked against her fighter in response to the male voice.

?What.? Pulling off her maintenance gloves and rubbing the developing sore spot on her head, Ana gave Greyg a sour face.

?Hey, don?t give me that look. I came here to see if you needed any help.? He gave her a charming mock-pout.

?Well save your assistance for someone else ?cause it?s not needed here.? Ana turned back around to face her ship. [i]Her[/i] ship.

She nearly smiled. Two weeks ago her parents had revealed the HG77 Farban Starfighter to her on the morning of her 18th birthday. It had been love at first sight.

?At least let me make myself useful, An.? Greyg crossed his arms and leaned up against the fighter?s nose.

This earned him, not surprisingly, a hard punch in the arm, ?Lay off the ship, Mack.?

?Ow!? He narrowed his eyes at his gorgeous friend and ubbed his arm, ?I thought you got over those rough punching days long ago.? Though it wasn?t spoken sans sarcasm.

?I?ll never get over them, Greyg.? She raised her eyebrows and nodded at his arm, ?I?m a born-fighter.?

?So I see.? Greyg?s teeth appeared as he flashed a grin.

?Now will you please go away so I can finish these modifications?? Ana rummaged through a tool box and pulled out a Whitton-Drill.

To get a rise out of her, Greyg ran his fingers over her ship?s hull, ?And if I refuse??

?Then I?ll bash you over the head with this drill and you?ll be sorry that you ever stopped by.? Ana raised the Whitton in warning and swatted his hand away from the fighter.

?Then I?ll be on my way. I don?t think anyone lives to tell the story of an Ana-attack.?

Ana scowled, but more out of affection than anger, ?Out.?

?Going, going.? Greyg smiled once more, shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and sauntered out the doorway.


?Honey, can you come here for a second?? Helin Jem wiped her hands on her galley robe and peered around the doorway.
Jorge?s reply floated through the house, ?Hold on Helin, I?ll be right there,? and Helin judged that he was probably in his office frowning away over those bank ordeals of his.

Humming a soft tune that had lulled her to sleep years ago, Helin turned her attention to the window to see her daughter?s speeder nearing the house. When she stepped out of the speeder, the site of Ana was enough to make any good mother cringe. The filthy grease that covered Ana?s gold-brown hair, hands, and work coveralls only left Helin imagining what sort of things Ana did to that fighter of hers. [i]That[/i] present had been Jorge?s idea, not hers.

?Ana,? Helin sweetly sang out when she heard the door swish open, ?go and wash up, dear. Evening supper will be ready soon.?

?Alright.? Ana replied with some degree of weariness, not exactly in the mood for her father?s typical table grumblings and her mother?s attempt at family conversations. Not that she minded family conversations, but they did fine without her mother?s help.

In fact, Ana loved her family more than anything she had ever known. She trusted them like no one else?truthfully, they were the only ones she trusted?and their unconditional commitment to her was the only thing she held true. Everything else in the universe, Ana knew, was only temporary.

Upstairs, in the ?fresher station connected to Ana?s room, she began to think. Her thoughts wandered from Greyg, to the Academy, and, with a suddenly immense amount of pain her mind jolted to the memory of Blaire Regal. Emotions started to flow like the water that struggled to remove the grease from her hair. Feeling her muscles tighten when retrospection flooded back, Ana increased the grip on her hair and scrubbed harder. [i]Four years ago, merely four years ago?[/i]

Then it hit. The dark mental void that seemed to swallow her up in its giant belly and refuse to let her go. The harder she pounded and the louder she yelled, the more the beast seemed to consume her. And no matter how hard she tried, she was never able to escape it by herself.

She came out of the the painful memory sobbing, as Helin wrapped a towel around her daughter and pulled her to her chest, ?Ana,? she murmured, stroking her sopping hair, ?my sweet Ana.?

?Mother, I?m sorry.? Ana pulled away, ashamed as she realized what had happened. It was happening all too frequently now. And always, always, when her body was exposed. Still there were other times, and for no real reason at all.

?Ana, what in Copal?s name are you apologizing for? I could hear you yelling all the way from downstairs and you feel the need to apologize?? Helin struggled out the last word, her throat tightening and clamping off words that she needed to say.

?Mama,? Ana?s voice softened as she used an affectionate term for her mother, wrapping the towel tight around her body and putting a hand on her mother?s arm. She couldn?t bear to see the way tears glistened in her matriarch?s eyes, ?I?m sorry for making you worry. It pains me like nothing else in the universe.?

As much as it pained Helin herself, she drew away from her daughter?s touch, ?Ana, there is something you must understand. At the moment, I know that something horrible is happening to you, because it?s not you, Ana, it?s not you.? She shook her head and Ana could smell the faint scent of yalma flowers that her mother wore.

?It isn?t me, mother. I can?t control it, it just comes over me and it hurts me so much to hurt those that I love. I can?t stand to see it anymore.? Ana?s own cheeks started to become damp with tears.

?Neither can I, Ana. Please tell me what I can do to help, anything.? The last word escaped dangerously close to a plea.

?Mother, it?s not for others to know. Not even you, the one I love with all my heart.?

?So you will fight all of your battles without those you love, will you?? An air of anger started to simmer around Helin, and Ana almost let a sob break free from the mere taste of it.

But the one way Ana knew how to combat a verbal assault, no matter how caring it was intended, was with her own retaliation, ?Sometimes even the weakest of us do. In this case, I think it best for me to wage my own war. Though people can give me advice and all the doctors in the world could try and guess what is wrong with me, it?s ultimately me who can decide who wins or loses!?

Helin?s eyes turned dark with hurt, ?And the advice isn?t enough, Ana??

?In most cases it is, mama, but not now it isn?t.?

?Ana, I wish I knew what to say. Maybe in this case it is best for you to be on your own.? Though Ana knew that her mother spoke out of anger and hurt. She wished she didn?t have to hurt her, ?Your father is pacing the hall, worried sick. Go tell him you are ok, and then we can leave you alone.?

?Mama,? Ana reached out for her mother?s shoulder, but she merely pulled away and exited the room. Not knowing whether to collapse and cry or to store up the overwhelming sadness that washed over her, Ana, who had always been strong, chose the latter.

In all people, there is a breaking point. One point in their life that determines how the rest of their life will be served.
But for Ana, this was her second.


?Anahli Jem??

As roll was called, Greyg frowned at Ana?s absence. ?She?s not here today.? Someone else in class commented.

?Greyg Jenson??

?Here.? Greyg absently waved a brief hand and then rubbed it over his face. Ana had said nothing about being gone today. He had seen her just yesterday. She wasn?t sick. She never missed class for unexcused reasons.

Overanalyzing again, Mack? Greyg pursed his lips and answered his own question, Yes, you idiot!

?Mr. Jenson.? His name was tightly drawn out by the Instructor who was trying to get his attention.

Greyg smiled despite the way he felt inside, ?My apologies, sir.?

?Now that I have your attention, Greyg, will you please show us the main, may I stress main considering that there are several, standard feature that comes in every Briion-line long-nose from models 8xi to 8zi??

?That I can.? Quite unlike his nature, Greyg merely gave his professor a cool grin and proceeded towards the Briion.

[i]Oh how I wish I was yours, Greyg Jenson[/i], thought pretty Lali Fantsha as she watched him explain the hydro-flux hyperspace coordinators of the Briion-line ships.

[i]Mmm hmm, Jenson, you are one fiiine looking boy, let-me-tell-you![/i] Thought fiery Saapu Vern as she watched him return from his explanation. She threw him a sideways glance and a raised eyebrow smile.

Greyg smiled back out of mere courtesy. Saapu was a very nice girl, just a little too, hmm, wild for Greyg?s taste. Though, he admitted offhandedly, that was the exact trait that made her such a damn good pilot.

When the class finally came to a close, Greyg hurried towards the Academy?s main hangar, avoiding talking to any of his friends for fear of getting tied up. He may have been overreacting, but it was unlike Ana to not attend her afternoon classes.

When he keyed in his personal access code to the hangar, which was only allowed for second-level students (such as himself), Instructors, and primary school students with an Instructor,
Greyg was greeted by a girl he didn?t know.

In all of his sixteen schooling years at the Academy, he had never seen a girl looking quite so distressed. She nearly ran into him, her short frame only brought her head up to his shoulder, and Greyg reached out a hand to steady her.

?Oh I?m sorry. Things are hectic around here lately. Wasn?t watching where I was going. If you?ll excuse me.?

?Hold on,? Greyg caught her arm as she tried to pass him, ?do you need any help?? He leaned down to look into her eyes, ?You look like you could use some.?

She blushed slightly under his gaze, ?No thank you, I?m doing alright.?

?Alright,? he released the soft grip on her arm, ?but if you need anything, feel free to contact me.? He laughed when he realized he hadn?t introduced himself and held out a hand, ?I?m Greyg Jenson.?

?Kaylis. Calé Kaylis.?

He liked the way her name flowed, ?I?m sorry Calé, but I must excuse myself now. I?m a Secondary (the nickname for secondary, or college level students) here, so I pretty much know this whole place inside-out. Ever need help? Look me up.? He winked and got a laugh from Calé, but the wink was so charismatic and genuinely natural that Greyg thought nothing of it.

?I?ll remember that, Jenson. Thank you.? She brushed past him and hurried out the door.

Greyg stopped at the clearance station, ?Has Commander Jem reported in today Seeso?? The hangar?s main personnel droid, 5 C-So, plugged into the computer log.

?No sir, she reported in yesterday evening and said she wouldn?t be returning for a while. She didn?t report how long.?

A durasteel ball seemed to form in Greyg?s stomach. Ana had always wanted to get off-world, but now? Why?

Maybe he would stop by the Jem household and talk to her parents, for he was certain that they would know.


?Greyg, I?m sorry. She left. There is nothing else that I can tell you or explain to you, for I don?t know about it myself.? Helin Jem sat with one arm protectively over her chest, and her hand was absent-mindedly tracing worried circles over her throat.

Seeing the ghastly look of sadness in her eyes, Greyg crossed to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, ?Helin, I?m sorry. I hope I haven?t been too much trouble in asking.?

?No, no.? Helin smiled through her tears and turned to look up at him, ?I know you love her as much as we do. I know you mean the best.?

The woman who had always been his second mother had also always known how to warm his heart, ?Helin, listen, Ana can do immaculately well wherever she goes. She?s an excellent pilot, rumored, of course, to be one of the best the Academy has ever seen. She knows how to be deceptive when needed, and she?s one hell of a fighter.?

?Oh Greyg, what have I done?? Helin?s stability cracked and her tears leaked through.

?Shh.? Greyg gathered the elder in his arms and held her as she wept.

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Kylju sat at the booth in the farthest corner of the cantina. He absolutely hated these cantinas. They were filthy, sum-ridden, sand-covered, and always filled with the most [i]wonderful[/i] people.

Kylju decided that he had waited here long enough. He really didn't want to take this one alive anyway. He made his way across the cantina to a pair of Duros.

"Gentles." He greeted the first one with a hard thump to the back of the head. [i]Just enough...[/i]

"Hey! What do you think you arrre doing?" the Duros asked in outrage.

"Oh, you mean...this?" He suggested as he thumped the other Duros.

"Bantha fodder!" The second on stood.

The first one drew his blaster, but both were fried before they anyone could react. [i]And my eye-patch camera caught it all.[/i] Kylju thought with glee. [i]Now, to Jabba's.[/i]

"Hey! You come back here and clean this mess!" The bartender barked.

"Clean it yourself." Kylju waved his hand at the man.

"I will clean it myself.." the man said absently.

"Bah...I hate Tatooine!" Kylju muttered through clenched teeth against the blinding sandstorm he walked into. This was a small one, and many of the more adjusted pedestrians were still going about their business.

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[color=purple]Assistant Magistrate Verny Lanthrop watched from a distance as [i]Thiera?s Reprisal[/i] settled smoothly onto its landing frame. In Deck 10 of the Reegres District Starport, Lanthrop had managed to finagle a docking area for Anahli Jem?s ship, and it had been bloody work at that. But Ana was an old family friend, and he would do almost anything for a comrade.

Lanthrop approached the sleek, almost femininely attractive fighter as it switched into powerdown mode. He almost reached out to run his fingers over the invitingly shiny silver hull, but regressed when he knew Ana would likely cut off his hand for it.

The hatch hissed open and Lanthrop angled his head upward, ?Anahli Jem, it has been too long since I have seen you.? It was said with all affection and Ana was forced to give him a thin-lipped smile, ?Anything I can do to help unload??

?No thanks, Verny. I?m not staying long.? A port attendant attached a divergence stair to the cockpit of the fighter, allowing Ana to climb down.

When she reached the bottom, Lanthrop was tempted to seize her in a hug, as was an instinctive nature for him, but again held himself back when he thought of how she hated to be touched unexpectedly. Instead, he gestured with a sweeping motion of his left arm, and feigned an authoritative voice, ?Welcome back to Nearis V. What can we do for you today my dear friend??

?Well Verny, in all truths I need to use the library here on Nearis. Preferably the one housed in the Atlan District.? Ana carried a small pack on her back filled with a few files and other personal items, but it was the weight of the blaster on her hip that brought reassurance.

?Ah yes, the Atlan Library is one of the best this side of the galaxy. Has all the information you could want and more.?
They cleared customs rather quickly, and Ana guessed it was ultimately because of Verny?s political position in the district. Verny?s unfaltering happy confidence made Ana relax and nearly feel at home.

She had visited Nearis V countless times while growing up, and it was a place that she always held close to her heart. It was a planet much like her own with the lush forests and green mountains, but unlike Bismin, it went through four seasons instead of two. Luckily for Ana, who had grown up with a tropical semi-year-round climate, the Reegres District was currently hosting its warmest season.

?That is why I chose to come here. Thiera?s library may be large, but the Circle has actually restricted a lot of information from being readily available. It would take too long for me to find out what I want to know.?

Lanthrop turned to Ana as they stepped out into the Reegres? waning sunlight, ?Somehow I doubt that, Ana. Why didn?t you just slice a bunch of s[i][/i]hit and get on with it??

Ana narrowed her eyes and glanced up at the man whose tall frame seemed to dwarf her own, ?The penalty for slicing material made illegal by the authoritative Circle is not something I want pending on my family.?

?Illegal?? Lanthrop gave her a lopsided smile, ?That hasn?t stopped you before.?

Ana nearly laughed, ?No, it hasn?t. But, this is totally different. That has to do with punishment brought down upon not only the offender but on the family as well.?

?Seriously?? Lanthrop frowned, ?That?s a rather harsh punishment for a small crime.?

Ana sighed and glanced at the watercraft dock, ?The Circle has gotten much, as you say, harsher, lately.?

?And how is that?? Lanthrop guided her towards his watercraft, an upscale Punin 57 open-air deck hovercraft.

?My father says that a total social upheavel could be in short order. Sure as hell not something I want to be around for.?

?Has it gotten that bad? The Circle always made life in Thiera seem luxurious.?

?Luxurious or not, the Circle has failed to learn from history and is starting to wage an inner war.?

Lanthrop started the engine as soon as Ana was settled and careened out into the maze of a lake, ?And the Republic is doing nothing about it??

Ana snorted a laugh, ?The Republic? They?re falling apart as it is.?

Lanthrop merely nodded in agreement and let their conversation fall to silence.[/color]
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Kylju's speeder charged over the shifting Tatooine sands. Jaba's Palace wasn't that difficult too find, in spite of how much the Hutt bosted about security.

His under-developed Force senses picked up on a powerful presence in the Force. A dark one, at that. No doubt, that it was the mysterious "Darth Vader" he been hearing about. The slayer of Anakin Skywalker."So much for that damned prophecy." Kylju managed a smirk. Jabba's Palace now loomed in the distance. If he had been walking, he probably would be swallowed by the sand on a day like today.[i]Ah well...end's meet is end's meet.[/i] He thought.

He hopped briskly out of the speeder and walked up to the door. He knocked, and was greeted by the usual Guardian Eye security droid. He spoke the password given to him by Jabba on a visit several years ago, and was allowed in. He strode through the palace as though it were his home. He dismissed the Twi' lek escort, Bib Fortuna, and walked directly up to a cat-napping Jabba the Hutt.

"Hey, you old fat worm." Klyju woke Jabba. Jabba replied with a few startled curses, then he calm down.

"Yes, I've come to claim a bounty. The two Duros. Plug this to your holo projector, and see for yourself." He handed one of Jabba's assistants a small black device. Jabba watched it closely, and made a comment to Bib Fortuna. The Twi' lek retreated into another room.

A moment later, Fortuna returned with the reward for the assasination of the Duros. Five thousand non-Republic credits. They could essentially be used anywhere along the Outer Rim, so long as the planet wasn't Republic-friendly. Another smirk crossed Kylju's face. "Now it's time to get my stuff and get out of the **** hole." He said as he exited.

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[color=deeppink]Wha? I have no Justin to talk to tonight! :crying:

[color=purple]Ana absently traced a finger over the plush Corellian leather deck chair and let the wind of the speeding craft whip her hair around her face. The lake of the Reegres District was a famed tourist attraction, and it was Kholinaught Island within the lake that Lanthrop called home.

Though Lac des Étoiles (meaning [i]lake of the stars[/i], derived from an ancient language) appeared limited in water space, it was in fact quite large. It merely was the twenty-three islands that were situated in the lake that caused the lack of room. They ranged from very small islands, to rather large, such as Kholinaught itself.

The islands created a haven for those who wanted to shelter themselves from every-day life. Most rose as small rocky mountains, covered with foliage and wildlife. Others were more level to the horizon. Still, the islands of Lac des Étoiles were prestigious, and most had made some degree of fame around the galaxy.

Lanthrop angled his head towards the back of the craft where Ana sat, taking his eyes momentarily off the path ahead, ?So does it look as you remember it??

?What?? Ana squinted against the orange setting sun and strained her ears against the wind.

Lanthrop raised his voice that was drowned out by the noise, ?Does it look as you remember it??

?Oh, hmm,? Ana studied Kholinaught Island and looked for any sign of change that could have occurred in the past five years since she had last visited. After a moment of study, she replied, ?It does. Has anything changed? It looks virtually?un-different.? She joined him at the miniature control station.

Lanthrop gave a low chuckle to her rendition of the word ?un-different?, ?Is that how they teach you to talk on Bismin, Ana??
She scowled from the little jab at her pride, ?Shut up.?

He grinned, ?Nope, it remains unchanged. The wealthy Seerdon family that has lived on this island for as long as anyone can remember just about bought out the whole landmass for themselves. They?re preventing any further development.?

?So what about your estate?? Ana searched for the familiar transparisteel-lined mansion that rested contentedly atop a bluff.

?Oh, it remains with Aggie and myself,? he reassured her, referring to his wife, ?we made an agreement with them.?
Ana raised an eyebrow at him, ?Oh??

Lanthrop gave another one of his appreciative chuckles, ?Yes, we agreed to not rat them out for that little party they threw a few years back. If the authorities found out about that one, the Seerdon family would be as good as a nerf trapped in a leather factory.?

?So they?re letting you keep your home. Didn?t they offer you money or anything?? Ana stepped out of the Punin and into the ?receiving dock?, as it was nicknamed, and fashioned, after the posh Relai Spaceport?s ship departure decks.

?No, they offered us money all right. Fifteen billion creds, to be exact. But of course, you know Aggie. She?s so attached to this house.? He waved up at it with his hand.

?You refused fifteen billion credits?? But Ana posed it as more of a challenge than a question.

?Ana, you know me better than that. I?m not easily swayed by money. My happiness, and the happiness of my wife, is much more important.?

?Yeah,? Ana furrowed her eyebrows, ?yeah.? She repeated.

?Besides,? Lanthrop said joyfully, stepping off the auto-stairway that had carried them up the bluff and stretching his arms out wide, ?I?m getting old, Ana. I need to start thinking about retirement!?

?Old?? Ana snorted, ?You?re a blazing twenty-seven years old!?

This caused Lanthrop to clap Ana on the shoulder in laughter, but when she jerked under his touch and shied away, his face grew serious, ?I?m sorry.? He offered a smile, ?I got carried away in your humor.?

Ana took a breath and cursed herself, why did she let him see her like this? ?That?s all right.? Even though it wasn?t, ?How is Aggina doing anyway??

Lanthrop unlocked the rear door and allowed Ana to enter first, ?She?s good as always. Gone on business at the moment, actually.?

Ana turned abruptly to face Lanthrop when memories of the house flooded back, ?Thank you.?

?For what??


?Oh shut up, you?re welcome,? he said with a wide grin, ?you can take the main guest foyer, you remember where it is.?

?No Verny, really.?

Lanthrop stopped and looked at Ana, really looked. Her brilliant green eyes had faded, he noted, they seemed to blaze with something but he wasn?t sure with what. Her hair was still long, and the golden streaks shimmered brightly against the intermixed brunette. But she looked worn out, and withdrawn, ?You?re welcome Ana. It?s really no trouble at all. This old house gets lonely with only one person in it.?

She nodded and wondered if he really knew how thankful she was. He knew that she was in disagreement with her parents at the moment, but he hadn?t questioned, had merely cleared his schedule to accommodate for her. She knew few true friends in the galaxy, but Verny might actually be one of them.

?I have an early day tomorrow, so I?m going to get myself to bed. Make yourself at home if you don?t feel like sleeping. You could even use my info computer if you like, but I?ll have Druw fly you over to the Atlan Library in the morning. I assume you?ll be leaving after you find what you need, so if I don?t see you, goodbye for now my friend.? Lanthrop simply smiled and again resisted the urge to offer a hug.

?Goodnight Verny. And thanks again, I?m sure that landing spot was hard to get during peak tourist season.?

He nodded, ?All in a day?s work, Ana. Goodnight.?

With that, Verny exited to the master foyer, and said a quick prayer for his dear, dear friend. He had the feeling that she would be needing all the luck she could get.[/color]
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"R5, prepare for hyperspace." Kylju coul feel himself being pressed against the seat of his old Z-95 as the g's of sublight acceleration builded. It settled when he entered hyperspace.

Bounty hunting was a profitable business in this galaxy, if you knew what you were doing. Kylju had claim over 70 bounties since he got into this business 6 years ago, and he considered himself to be one of the greats. He would enjoy this vacation to Nearis V.

He had wanted to take a vacation from dealing with fodder like Jabba for a long time now. However, he's just not got the money to do it. There was also word of a family who's paying a rancor of a bounty for some guy's head. A property dispute, or something.

[i]Ah well.[/i] He thought.

A few hours later he blasted out of hyperspace, and recieved landing clearance. He parked his Z-95 next to the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life. A HG77 Farban Starfighter, fully loaded, and clean as if a Hutt had spit-shined it. He hopped out of his fighter and gawked at the thing.

After snooping around, he got a feel for the security system. [i]Heh...baby, you are as good as mine.[/i] He thought as he stroked the shiny hull with his bare fingertips. Then, he bounded off to get a hotel.

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[color=purple]The next morning, Ana woke up to the sun glaring across her face. Groaning, she jumped out of bed in a huff, dressing quickly and making her way to the house's main foyer. Mr. Lanthrop had already left, Druw told her, but he?d be more than happy to fly her over to the Atlan Library himself. Ana reluctantly agreed.

She followed the aging butler to Verny?s personal escort craft, a modified Seinar cruiser. Ana had always marveled at its elegance. After situating herself into a comfortable passenger seat, Druw started up the repulsorlifts and they were off.

[I]The lake always looks so much more beautiful when you are actually in it[/I], Ana thought as she watched the water whiz by below her. From above you couldn?t feel the magnitude of the green hills or the stone cliffs, you couldn?t feel the misty water or breathe it into your lungs, and you couldn?t see the sun shining brilliantly off endless transparisteel windows.

[I]And yet,[/I] Ana mused, [I]up above is where I feel the most powerful. It is where I feel the most secure. While flying, there?s nothing that can come between my life and me?it?s all in my hands?just the way things should be.[/I]

Ana scowled at the obvious realization that she couldn?t control [I]everything[/I] that happened in the universe. Reaching into her small pack, Ana searched for the datapads she was sure she had brought with her?when they weren?t anywhere to be found she muttered a few curses under her breath and made her way up to the cockpit.

?Druw, if you wouldn?t mind, I need to stop back at my ship at the Reegres spaceport. I?ve left something behind.?

The corners of his wrinkled mouth turned upward into a courteous smile, ?Not a problem, Ms. Anahli.?


Ana left her pack on the cruiser and started off toward the docking bay Verny had secured for her. It was just as well that she check on her ship anyway. Flashing her access pass at port security, Ana froze when she entered her designated bay. She could [I]sense[/I] the threat before she saw it?

Ana?s eyes darted from the shadows to [I]Thiera?s Grace[/I], wondering just how she?d sneak up on the silhouette lurking around her ship. Her plan of attack automatically formulated in her head, and she slid quietly to one side of the [I]Grace[/I].

He ?[I]at least I think it?s a he[/I]? was human or humanoid, which, she wasn?t sure, of generous height and build?and trying to re-wire her ship, [I]her[/I] ship. The sudden rage, she knew, always gave her courage.

He was too preoccupied on the underside of the [I]Grace[/I], fiddling with wires that would easily override the security system, to notice her come up silently behind him. When a blaster was pushed firmly against his lower back, he too froze. The voice that followed was quiet, female, and genuinely icy, ?What the hell are you doing to my ship, sir?? [/color]
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Hey, woo hoo!! It's Jenna's REAL ship...well...err...sorta...O_o
Kylju tried messing around in her head, but her mind was a duracrete wall to his under-developed Force talents."I'm...uh..." Kylju couldn't see his opponent, but he knew he was in no position to beat her in a fight. He was stuck under the ship until she let him out, and if he moved he feared she would kill him."I must have the wrong ship." Kylju gulped, hard.

"Get out from under my ship, first of all, bantha fodder." Ana rammed the nose of the blaster into his back.

"Arg! All right, all right!" Kylju backed out from underneath the ship, and turned to face the girl.

He was a full head taller than she, but she didn't care. She nudged him in the torso with the blaster."Start walking."

Justin was outraged by her actions, but his danger sense said that she wasn't kidding. He backed until he tripped over something, and realized she had backed him into a closet of some kind. She closed the door behind him, and he was plunged into darkness.

"That bastard!" Ana called as she began re-arranging the wires he had screwed around with. She could hear him pounding on the closet door."Shut the hell up!" She screamed at him.

She picked up her comlink, "Druw, can you try to secure me a different docking bay. The guy who was cleared to land next to me decided he liked my fighter better than his piece of ****.

"[i]Yes, ma'am. I will get back to you shortly.[/i]" Druw answered.

"Thanks." She switched off her comlink. Then she found a rag, and started wiping down her ship. Especially where he had touched it.

Suddenly, she heard the snap-hiss that was distictive to a Jedi Knight's lightsaber. She had seen one or two before, and no she saw another one. It was a nearly black blade, and it was searing through the closet door."Oh, Hutt-slime." The man who had just been trying to hijack her ship stepped through the whole, and shielded his eyes from the light of the small docking bay.

"Hello, again." he said, "Step away from the ship."

"Over my dead body." Ana gritted her teeth. She found that her fear fueled her rage.

"Your choice." Kylju lept over the back of the ship and landed a feet meters in front of her. She shot a few, poorly aimed shots, one glancing off her ship."You'll pay for that!"

"You did it." Kylju switched off his lightsaber, and rolled around behind his own ship.

Ana scanned the bay with her eyes and ears, waiting for any sign of the man.

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[color=purple]Kylju grabbed his blaster out of its holster, feeling more comfortable with it than the ancient lightsaber. [i]That blasted girl?does she think she is a worthy opponent?[/i]

Ana could see his shadow on the wall, so she was sure that hers betrayed her as well. More than likely, if he knew how to hijack a ship then he had a whole arsenal of skills up his sleeve?it came with the business. Yet ten years of attendance at the Flight Academy hadn?t exactly left her clueless on combat?aerial dogfights or otherwise.

Ana flicked the ?stun? trigger on the blaster with her thumb; the stun rays would be too wide for him to dodge in such a small space. Listening carefully, Ana was frustrated to find that she couldn?t detect any trace of noise other than the hum of machines and the sound of her own breathing. [I]Dammit, where is he?[/I]

Kylju could easily sense her whereabouts now that his full concentration was focused on it. He silently rounded his ship, which was 10 meters adjacent to the girl?s, and nearly though about not using his blaster on her. The shot [I]could[/I] miss, he admitted, which would scorch that abso****inglutely gorgeous hull of hers?[I]Ah well, a scorch mark is a small price to pay after I kill her.[/I] Keeping his thoughts trained to the girl, Kylju found her stationary and waiting for him to make a move. He smiled darkly, [I]foolish[/I].

Ana heard him move. She knew that he was approaching her from the left, so she turned sideways and rested her back against her ship to make her body a smaller target. When the nose of his blaster flashed in her peripheral vision, she realized too late that she had miscalculated his approach. She spun clumsily out of the way as he got two shots off, one of them grazing her stomach.

While the pain wasn?t all that brutal, Ana doubled over and feinted it to be. She didn?t know if he?d fall for that or not, but it was worth a shot. As his boots, no longer silent, clicked across the metal flooring towards her, Ana knew that he?d try to toe her onto her back. As she had predicted, as soon as her body was moved from stomach to back, she let the motion cover up the blaster rising toward his chest.

Kylju, thinking that the girl was as good as dead, realized too late that the blaster in her hand was moving dangerously close to his body. Expecting a blaster shot to the stomach, Kylju dodged to the right, but was instead hit by the edge of blue stun rings. Blackness overtook him.

Wincing, Ana watched the man fall to the ground, his blaster skidding noisily across the floor. She pushed herself off of the ground and touched the tender burn on her stomach, surprised at how little it actually hurt. She stood over the man after collecting both his blaster and lightsaber (Copal only knew what ELSE he was carrying) and studied his face. His short brown hair was dark and shining, nearly covering a scar that ran above his eyes. Since his eyes were closed she couldn?t get their color, but judging from his muscular build, she knew he?d be too heavy for her to drag anywhere herself.

Pulling on her comlink and switching it to port security frequency, Ana asked if someone could come help her move her, uh, [I]boyfriend[/I]. ?He had too much to drink.? She explained when two security men arrived, ?Tripped over himself and passed out.?

She helped them lift the unconscious man into the backseat, cargo area of her fighter. She thanked the two men and stared at the slumped body in her fighter. What the hell was she supposed to do with him now?[/color]
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"Druw, nevermind the new docking bay. I'm going off-planet." Ana said.

"But you've just arrived, miss." He protested.

"I know, but I'm going again. Tell Lanthrop 'goodbye' for me." She clicked off her comlink.

Once she had entered hyperspace, she moved back into the "backseat," or as much of it as she could get to. [i]I have know idea where I'm going to take you.[/i] She thought. "Maybe I'll just drop you off into space." She said aloud.

"That certainly wouldn't be nice." Kylju came out of his sleep.

"Wha--" She was cut off by his hand wrapped tightly around her throat.

"I don't know where you [i]were[/i] planning to take me, darling; but I'm not going there now." He said through a maniacal smile.

Ana could feel her breath leaving her. She had to do something--[i]fast[/i]. She gave him a [i]swift[/i] kick to the groin, and he turn her loose and fell on his knees. She backed away and caught her breath, then came back and kicked him in the face,"You bastard!" She now noticed that she had knocked him out again. This time, she tied him down to the seat in the "backseat."

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[color=purple]This time, erring on the side of caution, Ana did a weapons search of his entire body. She found a smaller hold out blaster, a rather ugly looking vibroblade, and a few things that [i]looked[/i] harmful, even though she wasn't too sure about them. She placed them all neatly in a hidden cargo space beside his blaster and lightsaber.

Once she was in hyperspace en route to Coruscant (she decided it was worth the risk), Ana unstrapped her restraints and swiveled the pilot chair to face the man. She smiled at the red imprint that had formed where she had kicked him.

When Kylju came-to again, he found her staring at him, arms crossed and a smirk smothered on her pretty little face, "Stupid b[i][/i]itch," he snarled at the fact she had tied him up, "I [i]will[/i] kill you."

Ana creased her eyebrows and snorted a laugh, "Shut up."

Klyju kicked his tied-up legs...or tried to anyway, "Who are you."

"Who are you?"

Her retort made him even madder.

"Listen," Ana laced her fingers together and rested her elbows on her knees, "I don't really give a sh[i][/i]it who you are, but I'm going to get rid of you as soon as I can."

"And how do you plan on doing that?" His voice was thick with sarcasm.

"I'm on my way to Coruscant. I'm sure that scum like you will find [i]some[/i] place to fit in." She spun back around to face the control panel.

Klyju clenched his teeth, "But my damn ship is back on Nearis 5."

Ana didn't bother turning around, "Oh boo hoo."

"Can it, woman?"

She unholstered her blaster and waved it in the air next to her, "Must I remind you that I'm the one with the fire power here?"

Kylju rolled his eyes and thought for a second, "Ok, I'll cut you a deal."

"No deals."

"Is there anyone you want dead?" He smiled when her movements froze for a second, "I'm assuming that's a yes."


He shook his head, "You're a bad liar."

"And you're a stupid man. I'm dumping you on Coruscant and that's the last I ever want to see of you."[/color]
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"Heh...it won't be. Unless you let me go, I'll hunt you down and--"

"We'll see who kills who." She said definitivly.

Kylju smirked. [i]This little wench has no scope of what she's dealing with.[/i] He thought. "Whatever you say, lady. I saw the way you acted when i offered you a deal. C'mon, babe, tell me who it is you want dead, and they're as good as dead. I give you my word."

Ana froze again,"How good is that word?"

"I always keep my word." He said, in his defense.

"And why should I believe a ship thief?"

"You shouldn't. But I'm not just any ship thief. I'm Kylju Belgrath, a bounty hunter." He said.

"Almost as bad." She turned her attention back to flowing hyperspace.

"C'mon, lady. Give me a shot." Kylju pleaded.

"I did. I shot you with a stun blast. You'd like another?" She turned around and shot him him with the stun setting from his own blaster."Now, shut up."

When Kylju awoke they we still in hyperspace. [i]Ha...I guess she should've used her own blaster.[/i] He thought. He noticed that Ana had slipped into nonchalant state. She sat side-ways in her chair, staring off at the wall."Whatcha starin' at, darlin'?" He asked it just to be annoying.

"Awake again? What are you?" She lined up the blaster sites with his face.

"Wait! At least tell me someone...anyone. I promise, if you take me back to my ship, or at least have it sent to Coruscant, I will kill them for you."

Ana considered it for a moment,"How about this: I'll let you have your ship, IF I hear that he's dead."

"Ah, so it's not some rival for a boy's affection." Kylju laughed.

"Shut up. Nevermind..."

"Wait a second. Tell who he is, an ex?" Kylju suggested.

"No." She turned back around.

"A family thing?"

"No, damn it! He's Blaire Regal!" She sank down into the chair.

"Hmph...he hired me once. He was an *******." Kylju made a small attempt to console her, "Eh...what'd he do to you?"

"It's none of you damn business." Her tone was low this time.

"Well...umm...I'll do the best that I can. But it'll be hard without a ship." He tried to plea for a better bargain again.

"Heh...you never give up, do you?" Her laugh was a mock one. Just in order to make herself seem better than she was.

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[color=purple]"Wait...no." Ana turned to look at Kylju.


"Let me offer YOU a deal. You track him down, [i]I[/i] kill him."

He considered..."All right. That works...but only if you get me my ship."

"No. Stop asking."

Kylju cocked an eyebrow, "Well, I COULD just use [i]your[/i] ship...."

"Ugh, fine...fine." Ana nodded with resignation, "But if I get you your ship, then I'm NOT leaving your side until the job is done."

He made a face of disgust, "But?"

"I don't exactly want to be cooped up with you either, mack."

"The name's Kylju if you don't mind."

Her temper flared, "I know I [i]know[/i]...bah!" She threw her hands up in disgust and then brought them to her forehead. She had enough to worry about with trying to track down the man she loathed more than anything else...and dealing with another idiotic male was the last thing she needed.

"Quite a temper you have." Kylju mused.

Ana shot him a poisonous glare, "Yes. And it's not exactly something you want to set off."

He laughed, amused, "Let me guess...you think [i]you[/i] could take [i]me[/i]."

Ana rolled her eyes at his saracasm, "More or less."

Thuroughly amused, Kylju chuckled quietly.

The hyperspace sensors beeped, signaling the arrival to Coruscant, "Praise Copal we're here." Ana muttered under her breath.[/color]
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"Heh...and now we have to turn around and go get my ship!" Kylju beamed.

"Ugh! Can't you just steal something?" Ana yelled with disgust.

"Aw, c'mon, baby. I'm not that bad, am I?" Kylju eased onto the edge of her seat.

"How the hell did you get untied?!" Ana jumped out the seat and moved away.

"I've been untied the entire time." Justin gloated.

Ana raised her blaster,"Well...go sit back there! And don't you dare try anything like that again!"

"Like what?" Klyju feined shock.

"You know what I mean! Go sit back down!" Ana screamed.

"All right, baby. What ever you say." Kylju strutted back to the seat.

"Stop calling me that..that's what he called me!" Ana sat down in her chair and tuned Kylju out.

After a few more vein attempts to get on her nerves he finally stopped. [i]*****...a pretty one, but a ***** nonetheless.[/i] He thought to himself. Any of the people he usually hung out would've either shot this girl, or done something else by now. Kylju was surprised he hadn't shot her, but she kind of sparked his interest. [i]Maybe I will let her live...for now.[/i]

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[color=purple]"So how do you plan on getting me my ship?"

Ana had calmed down a bit, had allowed the few minutes of silence smooth her nerves, "I think I'll have my friend send it here."

"Wait a second, nobody else is going to fly [i]my[/i] ship..."

"If you want [i]your[/i] ship, then I suggest you let me talk to him. I'm not flying our asses back to Nearis 5 just to get your stupid Headhunter."

"You seem to know your ships."

Ana didn't respond sarcastically this time, but rather with a small, lopsided grin, "That's what years of training at a flight academy do to you."

She flipped her comm frequency over to Verny's personal channel but got Druw instead, "Is he never around anymore?" But the question was rhetorical, "Ok, fine, well tell Verny that I really need to talk to him and have him contact me. Yes...I suppose you could kind of call it an emergency."

When her eyes turned his on 'kind of call it an emergency', Klyju gave her a fake, mocking grin which had her shaking her head in disgust. But that name, [i]Verny[/i]..."Lanthrop a friend of yours?" Kylju had freed himself of the restraints and was lounging casually in the backseat area, left ankle resting on his right knee.

"How'd you know...?" [i]Pointles question.[/i] "Yes."

"He has a price on his head." Kylju smiled at the startled look on her face. He figured that if he wasn't going to collect the bounty right away, then he'd have her relay the info to Lanthrop that he was worth a very large sum of credits. That way, Lanthrop could haul his *** offplanet, away from other bounty hunters, and Kylju could use Ana as a way to track him. [i]Perfect.[/i]

"What for?"

"Eh," he shrugged, "I don't know. I just hunt them down."

Her shocked trance faltered, "That's ridiculous. You're lying about this..."

He shook his head and grinned.

"Blast." Ana rubbed her face with her hands.

"Speaking of blast...can I have my blaster?"

"What? You were pushing it with the ship thing, mack?"


"...whatever. But there's no way in hell I'm going to give you back your weapons?" Ana's sentence was cut off as he swiftly pressed her own blaster against her throat.

"Your fancy academy may have taught you a lot of things, lady, but until you get some experience then I suggest you put your money where your mouth is."

Ana narrowed her gaze, staring hard into his cool green eyes, nearly the same color as her own, "Get the hell off me."

He pulled away, noted that her bronzed cheeks had become a few shades paler, and started searching for his own weapons.[/color]
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As he picked up his lightsaber, he noted a swift shockwave in the Force. [i]It takes something major for me to sense it...[/i]

Ana noticed his distanced look, and made her move. She snatched her blaster back and put it to his head. He gave a brief grunt in the place of a laugh, ducked under Ana's arm, and wrapped his arms under her from behind.

"Not smart, lady." He said.

"Let me go!" She kicked out at him, but he held himself so that her legs couldn't touch him. Then, he through her across the cramped backseat into her pilot's chair and pointed his blaster at her.

"Do [i]not[/i] try to surprise me. You [i]will[/i] wind up dead."

His deadly green gaze cut off any protest she might have before she could even form the words in her mind.

Suddenly, her comlink started beeping.

"Good, good. Our work here is finished." The gray headed officer said.

"You do realize, Tarkan, that the Jedi will have sensed this?" The taller, older man next to him said.

"Of course, Lord Tyrannous. I would think that is part of the point." Tarkan gave the Sith Lord an evil grin.

Lord Tyrannous turned his gaze out over the ruined section of city that this...[i]test model[/i]...of the Death Star super weapon had created. [i]Thousands dead in an instant. And this is not even to scale of my Lord desires...[/i]
Her words shaky, Ana answered the comlink,"Y--yes?"

"Ana, are you all right." Lanthrop's voice came over.

"I'm ok." She answered, keeping her eyes on Kylju who now paced in thought.

"What do you need?" Lanthrop asked.

"You know the docking bay my fighter was in?"


"Well, the fighter next to where mine was...the Headhunter...I need it." She said, trying to think of what she would do about Kylju.

"Is it yours?"

"Not exactly, but I have the owner here with me. He'll tell you how to get it here." She handed Kylju the comlink.

"Just tell the astromech that 'Kylu said so' and he'll open everything up for you." Kylju said. He tossed the comlink back to Ana.

"Did you get that, Verny?" Ana asked.

"Yeah...are you sure you're ok?" Lanthrop asked again.

"Yes. Yes, I'm fine. And the sooner you bring that fighter, the better I'll be. We're at Coruscant. Contact me when you arrive, and I'll tell you where to meet us. Out."

"O...k...Out." Ana clicked the com off and relaxed back into her chair.

"Stressed?" Kylju turned a grin on her.

"Shut up." She wasn't angry at him, oddly. His reaction was the same she would've had, so how could she be mad? He wasn't a raging ball of fire now, at least.

"Ooookay...but if I shut up, you might forget I'm back here and leave me in this beautiful ship all by my lonesome self." Kylju's voice was as close to child-like as he could manage.

"Shut your Sarlaac pit." She said as she whirled her chair around.

"Fiesty. I like 'em like that." Klyju laughed at his annoyingness.

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[color=purple]Resigned, Ana fell silent. After a few minutes, he thoughts veered to Blaire, "What did Regal hire you for?"

She turned to find Klyju polishing his blaster, and soon she was in the blaster's sites, "Well," he saw the momentary flick of annoyance cross her face as he pointed the blaster at her, "He couldn't have been older than 18 at the time."

"Two years ago...that's about the time he left Bismin. He just...vanished."

Kylju laughed and brought his blaster to his lap, "Probably so that no one found out who commissioned the death of the person he...hired me for."

"He's such a bastard." Ana muttered angrily, there was only one person who had died two years ago that would make Blaire flee the planet...a Leader of the Royal Seven, Mantu Win.

"It was a rather easy job. And it payed [i]extremely well[/i]."

"Blaire always thought that money was the root of all...good things. He thought he could pay his way through life."

"Once an *******, always an *******."

Ana's lips slowly curved upward, "That's the most intelligent thing I've heard you say this entire time."

Kylju merely shrugged.

"So you're probably aware that you caused total social upheaval on our planet, and that our government damn near fell to pieces after Win's death?"

"Who said it was Win I killed?"

"Oh please," Ana raised an eyebrow at him, "who else would Blaire have wanted dead. Win was the good guy, the pacifist, the peacemaker. Blaire didn't like people like that."

Klyju could feel her disposition towards him start to warm, and part of the huge duracreet wall she had built was starting to falter, "I don't like people like that, either."

Ana smiled, "Obviously." [i]Wait, was she actually having a [b]nice[/b] conversation with this guy?![/i]

"Ana." He changed subjects quickly, trying to place her name.

She tensed at the sound of it, "How'd?oh, Verny..."

He ignored her, "Ana...aren't there stories about you on Bismin?"

She tensed even more, "Such as?"

"Pilot stories."

She blew out a sigh of relief, "Yes, I suppose,"

"They say you were one of the best pilots to go through the academy there in a long, long time."

Indifferent to the rumors, Ana shrugged, "I just like flying." [i]Which Blaire had resented...[/i] "Let's get out of here for a little while. I'm starving."

"I'll stay?"

Ana cut him off, "No you won't. You're staying with me."

"Fine, fine." Kylju put his hands up in resignation and climbed out the hatch behind her.[/color]
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"Ah..where should we eat?" Kylju noticed an unusual pep in his voice. He was happy to be walking the streets of a [i]civilized[/i] planet.

"You sound...happy?" Ana pryed.

"Well, I'm glad to be on a planet with buildings that aren't made of dirt. I was on Tatooine before I found you."

"You mean before [i]I[/i] found [i]you[/i]." Ana corrected.

"Yeah, whatever."

"Let's eat at that place right over there." Ana pointed over at a diner called the 'Green Leaf.'

"Sounds great to me." Kylju grabbed Ana's hand on moved through the pedestrian traffic until they reached the front of the Green Leaf.

Ana jerked her hand away from him, "Don't touch me like that." She growled.

"Uh...ok." Kylju open the door, "Meanies first." He mocked.

"Shut up." She let a small smie of entertainment creep across her face as she walked past.
"Druw, this is Lanthrop. I'll be at Coruscant in two hours." Verny said into his comm unit.

"All right, sir."

"I'll contact you before I head back. Out." Verny clicked the unit off, and settled back into his pilot's couch for a nap.

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[color=purple]"Well before I came here I was planning on using Atlan's library archives to search for info on Regal." Ana took an appreciative drink out of a slim glass that had been set before her. Asking for the 'local favorite' (almost always alcoholic beverages) was, at times, risky, but so far the Mali rum had been rather satisfying.

Kylju absently waved his fork in the air beside his head, "There are better ways...easier ways."

"Maybe for someone who makes a [i]living[/i] out of it, yes, which I so obviously don't."

Klyju grinned, "That's why I'm in the picture."

Ana clasped her hands together in mock-delight, "All praise Copal."

"I don't want to admit it but you actually amuse me."

"Tough luck...you just admitted it."

"But I didn't say if you amuse me in a good or bad way." Kylju took an appreciative gulp of his own drink. [i]Business[/i] he reminded himself, "Do you have any slicing skills?"

Ana nodded, "I know a thing or two."

Kylju frowned, "A thing or two as in 'I can work my way around simple security systems' or as in 'I can bring entire companies crashing to the ground'?"

Ana's eyes hinted at smugness, "The latter."

"Ok, well I won't be needing your help in that area but it's always good to know who can slice sh[i][/i]it and who can't."

Ana opened her mouth to protest but thought better of it, "So how do you plan on tracking down Regal, anyway?"

Kylju leaned across the table toward Ana, lowering his voice, "Nobody's that hard to track down, lady."

"Don't call me 'lady'..."

"I'll get Regal tracked down, you pay me, you kill him, yadda yadda, ya' know...the rest is just details."


Blaire Regal rolled over in bed, pulled on his clothes and never gave a second thought to the woman he had just spent his afternoon with. At least she was still sleeping, he wouldn't have to deal with her that way.

As Blaire made his way toward his craft deck, past ceiling to floor windows revealing stunning scenes of a tropical green water, he threw out orders to his servent, someone whose name he couldn't remember, "Have the woman out of here soon, wake her if necessary. Just make sure she's gone when Gina gets home."

"Yes sir." Was the customary response as Blaire jetted off toward the city.[/color]
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"Wait a nano," Ana stopped him before he could go any further, "I never said anythinga bout paying you. I was just going to give you your ship and not leave you stranded on Coruscant."

"Good girl." Kylju shot her a wry smile.

She made a face of revolt at the test(or ploy) he had just run her through, but she admitted to herself, she didn't feel that way. She was actually entertained by it, but she manged to keep her face negative.

"What? Can you blame a guy for trying to make a little cash?" Kylju put his hands up in mock-surrender.


"Ouch." Kylju rubbed his face as though she'd slapped him, "That almost hurt."

Ana concealed her smile with a sip of her rum.

"Well, looky there." Kylju said in a low voice, "I wonder what they're working on over there." He gestured to a distant, half-completed skyscraper in the distance.

"I have no idea. I've never seen it before." Ana said, as she absently ate her food.

"I thought that was, like, sacred ground or something. Because of that battle all those years ago." Kylju scratched his head.

"Nothing is sacred on Coruscant." Ana concluded.

"True..." Kylju said, keeping his eyes on the distant construction site.

"So, how are you planning on finding Regal?" Ana asked.

"Well, I have a million contacts who might know him. I have access to the libraries and certain levels of the research center in the Jedi Temple. I also have access to the civilian index in the Senate, so finding a trail shouldn't be hard, if he's ever lived anywhere in Republic space." Kylju spit a piece of too-tough meat onto his plate.

"Great..." Ana said, as she looked down at the chewed up lump on his plate.

"You want it?" Kylju asked.

"Hell no! That's nasty." She said.

"Then what are you staring at?" Kylju took of the edge to his comment with a smile.

Ana looked at him for a moment, "Oh, shut up."

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[color=purple][i]Verny Lanthrop...true to his holo, a bit shorter than I had imagined, charasmatic...dominating.[/i] Klyju held back and sized Lanthrop up as Ana greeted him. He memorized the image; the weapons, the body language, the voice, the build. His demeanor suggested that Lanthrop meant business.

"Thanks again, Verny. I'm going to end up owing you a lot of favors."

Lanthrop laughed, "No Ana, anything for a friend."

She nodded and glanced over her shoulder. Klyju took his cue and stepped into Coruscant's waning daylight, "Verny Lanthrop," he reached out to shake the shorter man's hand, "my apologies for the inconvenience, and my thanks for flying this here." He gestured toward his Headhunter.

Ana glanced sidelong at Klyju as his voice became slicked over with, what sounded to her, like resentment. Did he not like other people touching his things? Apparently not.

Not missing a beat, Lanthrop's tone turned formal and wary, "It wasn't a problem." His smile still looked genuine.

"If you'll excuse me." Kylju slipped away from Ana and Lanthrop, slowly encircling his ship and checking for damages.

"Verny," Ana lowered her voice and turned away from the Headhunter, "you need to get off of Nearis."

His outer defense sheild dropped and he touched her arm lightly, "Why, Ana? What's wrong?"

"It doesn't have to do with me, but with you. There's a bounty on your head."

She watched as his expression froze, his body tensed, "I see."

"Verny, just get off of that planet. Take your wife and get out of there. Just make sure to keep in touch. I want to know where you are and if you're safe."

If her face hadn't looked so panicked, Verny would have resisted from hugging her. But the emotion in her eyes had him wrapping his arms around her, and she reluctantly ?stiffly? accepted the embrace.

"Thanks, Ana."

She lifted her chin and managed a small smile, "Anything...for a friend."

Klyju, on the opposite side of his Headhunter, had heard it all. [i]She's far too predictable, I knew she'd tell him.[/i] He smiled, [i]and that means I'm one step closer to everything going as planned.[/i][/color]
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"So, I guess you'll be headed back to Nearis V?" Kylju said casually as he walked back around the Headhunter.

"Yeah. I [i]was[/i] planning on catching a regular transport back, but something's just come up, and I think I'll catch a refugee transport instead." Lanthrop took a sidelong glance at Kylju, who was now leaning with his back against his ship, lighting a t'bacc stick.

"G'luck. Not many refugee transports go out to Nearis V." Kylju said.

"Yeah. Well, I'm sure I'll catch one..." Lanthrop threw a glance at Ana, but Ana was staring at Kylju. "Well, I'll be going on. I need to get back as soon as possible." Lanthrop looked down at Ana expecting another hug...or something.

"All right. Take care, Verny." Ana offered him a friendly smile.

"You too. Nice meeting you, Kylju." Lanthrop offered a hand to Kylju.

"Pleasure was all mine." Kylju clasped Lanthrop's hand, and a deadly grin creeped across his face."Goodbye, for now."

Lanthrop turned back towards the street, and called down a cabbie. He was gone from view in less than five minutes.

"So, I guess our best bet is the Senate." Kylju said, breaking a brief moment of silence.

"Huh? Oh, yeah." Ana said.

"You ok?" Kylju asked with mock concern. He was far to excited by the thought of a hunt to actually show any real emotion, but he could at least pretend.

"Yeah. Let's go." Ana smiled at him and headed over toward the same area Lanthrop had hailed a cabbie from.
"Nothing. Not a damn thing." Kylju, frustrated, turned off the holoscreen that had displayed the names of every possible match to Blaire Regal.

"That's impossible." Ana said.

"I flipped through that list three times. And I broadened the search twice. Either you're not telling me the truth, or someone has done some playing around with the indexes. I'm inclined to think the former." Kylju said as his gaze turned icy.

"I am telling the truth." Ana's own gaze turned cold.

Kylju held her gaze with his for a tense moment, then, "We'll check the research center in the Jedi Temple. If I can't find anything there, I'll place a few calls." [i]And if nothing turns up after that, I'll take Lanthrop and be just as well.[/i] He added.

"What are we waiting for?"

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[color=purple]"Ugh, you can't find [i]anything[/i]?" Frustrated, Ana scrubbed her hands over her face.

"Settle down, I'll find something eventually."

Ana raised her voice, "Don't tell me to settle down!"

"Hey!" Kylju grabbed her arm and she nearly tumbled into his lap, "I told you to stay quiet."

His face was dangerously close to hers, and his grip was far too tight. Ana stared at him for a moment and two pairs of fiery green eyes glared at one another. Kylju's eyes started to soften, and Ana was too distracted to notice his grip begin to loosen and eventually drop her arm, "Let go of me, please."

"I already did." Suddenly incredibly angry with himself, Kylju swiveled back to face the data port.

"Oh...thanks." She rubbed the spot that he had so carelessly grabbed her. She hated how he always took her by surprise.

[i]I don't give a damn if you think she's attractive...she tried to kill you...and she's in the way of your work![/i] Kylju's thoughts pissed him off, "Just shut the hell up for right now."

"Don't?" When he pointed a warning finger in her face, Ana snapped her jaw shut and turned away from him. [i]Typical male![/i]

"Here. Finally. Something." Kylju scrolled down the small screen, " 'Regal Fortress sits in green waters'...what the hell does that mean?"

Next to him, Ana snorted, "So much for useful information."

Turning to face her, Kylju noted the blaze in her eyes, "You want information? You can get it yourself! I'm trying my damn best, I don't need you to sit there and insult everything I do." Because the site of her now unnerved his belly, he looked away.

"I'm not insulting everything you do. I'm merely in a hurry to scratch this four year itch that has become the very bane of my existence!"

Kylju's voice iced over, "I could easily kill you and get you off my case." [i]And get your image out of my mind.[/i]

Ana lifted her chin, "You wouldn't dare."

"Is that a challenge?" The stupid girl sorely underestimated his speed. He wrapped one hand around the back of her neck and dragged her to her feet. He watched panick flicker across her face before she gained control of it again, allowing temper to overshadow fear.

"If I have to tell you to get your damn hands off of me one more time?" Ana's angry words were cut short when Klyju pressed his lips firmly against hers.

Ana nearly cried out when his mouth touched hers...it was all far too familiar! But something stopped her. He wasn't pressed aginst her, he wasn't painfully grabbing her hair, he was hardly forcing anything onto her...and his mouth seemed gentle, in a rough sort of way...

When she pushed him away, Kylju swore. What the hell had he just done? One glace at her wide eyes easily revealed that he had scared her. But it wasn't the normal steely-eyed, surprised look she had whenever he had pinned her before...this time it was something different, "Dammit," Kylju shoved his hands in his pockets, "look, I didn't mean for that to happen."

Her voice betrayed her, "Neither did I." [i]I didn't [b]mean[/b] for that to actually feel right...it was supposed to feel all wrong.[/i] Utterly confused, Ana looked away from Klyju and crossed her arms, "Let's just try to figure out what that means. Then we can get the hell away from each other."[/color]
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Regal stretched out on his slick rancor-leather sofa and look out across the gentle blue-green waters of Borleias' Eastern Ocean. He had no desire to deal with his finances and business issues today. He would have some Corellian whiskey and a new woman in here shortly, so he was trying to get some time to himself before that time came. Sure, he loved sex and alcohol...but he also loved to [i]think[/i] about himself, and all his accomplishments. That was something he could not do while engaged in a sexual romp with some lady he'd never met and would likely never see again.

He flipped back thorugh the memories in his head, thinking of all the women he's had his way with. He's never had a women refuse him, except for one, and he had his way with her anyway. [i]Damn arrogant pilot *****.[/i] Was all that came to his mind when he thought of her.

"Sir. Your esort for the evening is here." The servant's so obviously fake Coruscanti accent broke Blaire's silence.

"Very well. Send her in." Blaire said absently.
"I've sifted through some more bits and pieces, and I think I've come up with a location." Kylju paused.

"Well, where?" Ana asked impatiently.

"The Pyria System."

"What's there?"

"Borleias." Kylju smiled up at her.

"Well, then. I guess we're going to Borleias." Ana turned and headed out of the research center.
Regal didn't even bother to put on his shirt as he was headed straight for his athetic center for some swimming and conditioning.

"Have her gone before I return." He barked at the servant.

"Yes, sir."

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[color=deeppink]'Borleias' always reminds me of 'Borsk Fey'lya' o_O


[color=purple]"Can you slave your ship to mine?" Ana glance back and forth between the two starfighters.

Kylju looked at her in disbelief, "What? It is possible, yes, but I'd never actually slave it to someone else's ship...especially not [i]yours[/i]."

"Well how do I know that you won't run away on me?"

He grinned, "You'll just have to trust me. I would offer you a ride in my Headhunter, but there's hardly enough room for me."

Ana sighed, "Fine. But you had better keep your word, if you're not there when I exit hyperspace in Borleias?"

Annoyed, Kylju leaned down and brought his face close to hers, "I will be."


And he [i]was[/i] there. Ana came out of hyperspace a few minutes behind Kylju but he was waiting for her, "Ok, I secured a large docking bay just outside Larghri that should fit the both of us."

"All right." The trip from Coruscant to Borleias had been short, but Ana was starting to get worn out. She hadn't slept in what must have been at least two Bismini days.

"I'll send you the approach vector. Follow me in."


"So what sort of territory is this now?" Ana had opted to bring her long white cloak with her into Larghri.

Kylju gave her a sideways glance, "What do you mean?"

"Hasn't the Republic lost control of this area?"

"Lady, the Republic isn't even worth mentioning anymore."

Ana scowled at "lady", but decided to let it be. Until they left the spaceport, the two walked in silence.

Kylju kept looking down at Ana. She was short enough?and he was tall enough?to clearly see the top of her head. [i]What an unlikely pair we make[/i], he mused, [i]a dark roguish killer and a fiery young girl whose attitude doesn't match up with her beauty.[/i]

He was first to break the silence, "Do you constantly have that scowl on your face?"

"No," she snapped, "only when I'm frustrated and tired and irritated."

Klyju joked, "If only looks could kill..." Which earned him a hard punch in the arm, "Hey, I didn't deserve that."

Nearly smiling, Ana turned to look up at him, "Do you constantly not see the fault in your ways?[/color]
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