An Unforgettable Eve

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An Unforgettable Eve

Post by AgentOrangeJuice » Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:33 pm

Livo answered the knock at the door promptly, just as she had been taught. Bright light from Tatooine's twin suns flooded into the dim hovel as the door hissed open, momentarily blinding the purple Rodian woman as her eyes adjusted. She couldn't quite make out her visitor's features. Humanoid. A bit on the petite side. A woman, maybe?

"Hello," Livo said. She bowed her head, turning her large black eyes towards the ground, both to turn her eyes away from the sunlight, and as a sign of respect—the way most people expected an obedient slave like her to act. "I don't think I'm supposed to be talking to you, nor you to me."

"I was sent to talk to you," the visitor said. The voice was indeed female. Young, as far as Livo could tell.

"Oh." Livo's heart sank. "You're here because it's Boonta Eve and Bib Fortuna sent you." It was time for her to renew her vows to her master as was tradition on this important Hutt holiday. She had been doing it every year since she had been brought to Mos Espa, though this year she had been putting it off. It was all just a symbolic exercise anyway; she'd still be a slave whether she renewed her vows or not. She should have known someone would come looking for her.

"Yeah," the other woman said, "but that's not why I'm really here."

Livo lifted her head slightly, a little hesitantly. She could see her visitor clearly now, a slender young human woman with raven hair and deep emerald eyes. Not exactly what she was expecting from one of Fortuna's enforcers. "Then why are you here?"

The dark-haired woman's eyes flickered with defiance mixed with a hint of compassion, and something else Livo couldn't quite put her finger on. Something...darker. Troubled. Regret? "Because no one should be a slave."

"What does that mean?"

"It means that there's a man, a ship, and freedom waiting for you."

Freedom? Livo hardly knew what the word meant. It was rarely spoken around the Slave Quarter, even fleetingly. One could never be too sure who was listening. But this woman spoke the word with confidence and familiarity. She absentmindedly touched the collar around her neck. "You can free me?"

The young woman nodded. "I know some people who can take you far away from this place. And get you out of that thing." She pointed at the collar. "You will need to leave everything behind, though."

Leave what? The heat? The dust? Her dark, smelly little hovel? Livo shook her head. "I have nothing left to lose. This may be my only chance...lead on."

As she cautiously stepped out of the hovel, she began to wonder if she may have reacted too hastily. She's entrusting her freedom and her life to a complete stranger. One who didn't even look like much of a liberator at that. She was armed, sure, but she was so small. So young. Barely old enough to carry the blaster at her hip. This could quickly become a costly mistake for both of them.

The dark-haired woman made a brief scan of her surroundings then gestured for Livo to follow. "Stay close to me, act normal, and we'll get you out of here."

"Why are you doing this?"

"Let's call it penance and leave it at that, okay?"

Livo did her best to act natural, which meant keeping her head down, staying quiet, and following obediently. Seeing slaves being led around Espa was such a common sight during the Boonta Eve "celebrations" that few beings gave her so much as a second thought. The dark-haired woman led her through the bazaar square, passing street vendors before turning into an alley between two rows of buildings.

Suddenly, the young woman froze. Livo glanced up just as two beings stepped into the alley. One was a Gran, the other a Weequay. Both held humming vibroblades. At first Livo feared she might have been tricked, but the expression on the woman's face suggested these two were just as much of a surprise to her as well.

Then a third being appeared—tall, slender, feline features, with short grey fur covering his face. A Zygerrian. "Fortuna's waiting for you in the cantina," he growled, stabbing a clawed finger down the alley. "That's the other way, meat."

"Is it?" the young woman said with the slightest little knowing smirk. "Silly me. Can't trust a ditzy young girl with even a simple task, it seems. I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached."

The Zygerrian sneered, flashing his sharp teeth. "Let's find out if that's true, shall we?"

Her smirk fading, the woman stepped forward, placing herself between the thugs and Livo. "Stay behind me," she whispered.

The Rodian nodded, too frightened to do anything else but watch and hope.

Closing in quickly, the Gran attacked first, swiping with his vibroknife. The woman blocked the attack with her left forearm then threw her right fist straight at the Gran's center eyestalk. Livo cringed as the Gran cried out, clutched at his eye, and toppled backwards to the ground. He wouldn't be getting back up any time soon.

Then the Weequay slashed at the woman's chest, his blade dragging against her armor, carving a deep gouge in the padding and staggering her back a step. He brought his blade back around for a high swipe to the face, but the woman bobbed out of the way and locked her arm around his weapon-bearing arm. His blade immobilized, the Weequay threw a quick left jab.

The woman yelped as the Weequay's punch struck her face. She fell back onto her rump and for a moment seemed like she was beaten. The Weequay pounced, seizing her by the throat, his blade held up high and ready to plunge.

But the woman grabbed a handful of sand and flung it into his face. It surprised him long enough for her to throw him off and regain her footing. They locked into a grapple, the Weequay trying to wrestle her back to the ground. As the much larger being began to overpower her, the woman kicked hard at the inside of his unprotected knee, bending it too far in a direction it wasn't meant to bend. There was a soft, wet pop and a scream followed by the Weequay crumpling into the sand.

The quickness and brutality of the violence was almost too much for Livo to stomach, though a part of her was relieved to learn that she had severely underestimated the young woman.

From the Zygerrian's wide-eyed, slack-jawed expression, it seemed that he may have as well. With his thugs now lying in writhing heaps on the ground, he drew his blaster and squeezed off a hastily-aimed shot that sizzled overhead and struck a nearby wall. The woman slid into cover, drew her own blaster, and returned in kind. Blaster bolts splashed off the walls and ground as a firefight erupted in the alley. Panicked, Livo ducked behind a nearby buttress, curled up, and covered her head.

She didn't notice when the shooting finally stopped. A light tap on her shoulder brought her back into the moment. She started, then uncovered her head and slowly lifted her gaze to the figure in front of her. It was the young woman, covered in dirt and carbon and sporting a rapidly developing black eye. Her nose was bloodied and her bottom lip split.

"You're hurt," Livo said, gently reaching out towards the woman's face.

But the woman just shook her head, seemingly unconcerned with her injuries. "We should hurry."

She led Livo to the outskirts of town and a parked starship. Its boarding ramp was down and a Twi'lek stood at the bottom. He nodded at Livo as she approached, then ran his eyes over the dark-haired woman and frowned. "What happened to you?"

"Ran into this one's jealous ex," she said with a sweep of her hand in Livo's direction.

"Figured it was something like that when I heard the shooting. Subtlety's not really your strong suit, is it?"

"Hey, I tried the dumb kid angle, they didn't go for it. What else was I supposed to do?"

The Twi'lek shook his head and sighed. "Hera's not going to like this," he muttered.

The woman shrugged, then turned to Livo. "This is where we part ways. Good luck in your new life."

"The other slaves still in the city," Livo said. "Can you help them, too?"

"We have other agents working the area," the Twi'lek said. He then fixed the young woman with a hard stare. "Agents who try to not draw attention to themselves."

She rolled her eyes and waved a dismissive hand. "It's an ongoing process," she said. "I'm not going to lie to you and tell you we can help everybody, because we can't. But we can at least give a few people a shot at a better life. You've been given a rare opportunity. Don't squander it."

"I won't." Livo stood still for a long moment. It all seemed surreal. Years of servitude broken by people who seemed to be gaining nothing from it but trouble. How would she adjust to her new life of freedom? Could she? She'd figure that out later. For now, she simply bowed her head and uttered a quiet but sincere, "Thank you."

The woman smiled and slapped Livo on the shoulder before turning to leave.

The Twi'lek ushered Livo towards the boarding ramp. "Let's get you on board and out of sight."

As she stepped onto the ramp, Livo paused and turned back towards the woman. "I never got your name."

"Jenn," she called over her shoulder, then held up two fingers. "With two N's."
"In my defense, I was left unsupervised."

Dramatis Personae:
  • Cpt. Davyn Jassik; Starfighter Pilot, NRSC; Human Male from Ralltiir
  • Jenniveve K'Barrek; Aspiring Troublemaker; Human Female from Thyferra

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