In her memory, Wolf had only been so reckless once before. She and her master, a blue Neimoidian called Korel Tosha, were tasked with tracking down an assassin that fled to the scum world of Nar Shaddaa. Five years of padawan training left Wolf’s head in an instant when the Rodian was unexpectedly picked up by a speeder. Singh dove from the top of a skyscraper in an attempt to catch him, nearly getting crushed by oncoming traffic. Master Tosha used the force to catch her, and the assassin got away. Master Tosha was deeply disappointed, and her trials were postponed as a result. The council never entrusted either of them with a mission so dire again.
Since then, Singh fought hard to keep a center of calm around her at all times. The force had tested her many times, and she had prevailed thus far.
Yet here she was, leaping off the edge of the hanger over a main airway after a man in a jetpack.
Drawing her lightsaber, she ignited it, aiming for the blue and white jetpack. The buzz caught the man’s attention, and he flipped over in the air far quicker than Singh expected, blocking her lightsaber with a vibro-blade. Momentum sent them both spiralling into a nearby rooftop. Sing landed on her shoulders and flipped back to her feet while the battle-armoured assailant stumbled, then rolled, stopping a few meters away from her.
He leapt to his feet and stood, watching the Jedi.
“This is over!” Singh cried. “In the name of the Republic, I place you under arrest!”
“Not happening.” The voice was metallic, clearly altered.
Pressing a button in his bracer, his jetpack ignited, and he leapt backward off the rooftop. Singh charged, gathering the force around her, and leapt after him. She caught him midair, slashing at him with her lightsaber. He deflected it, swiping at her, then rocketed up into the sky. Singh grabbed his foot, dragging her along with him. Turning over in the air, he brought up his other foot and aimed it at her face. She ducked her head, and his heavy boot hit her shoulder instead. The jetpack struggled to carry both of their weights. They were losing altitude, spinning toward the tallest building in the center of Geona.
The polished windows grew closer. The armoured face turned from the building to the Jedi, calculating its next move. Singh felt the jetpack stabilize, yet he tried to hide it. It wasn’t a surprise when he switched directions suddenly, attempting to swing her into the side of the building. Using his momentum, she released his leg, catching herself on the window, then leapt forward, her gauntlet crashing into his helmet.
“Jedi, are you there?” Karen’s voice was loud and clear in her ear, cracking Singh’s focus.
“Not now!” the Jedi cried as the man drew his vibro-blade, slashing her across the face.
Apparently, Karen’s hazmat suit protected against vibro-blades as well as blaster-bolts.
“I thought I might mention this,” Karen continues, “since you’re a hundred feet above our heads right now, but the suit-”
“Forget about me! Karen, get the governor to safety.”
“We’re on our way. But you need to know how to activate-”
A fist collided with the side of Singh’s head. The com crackled, then fizzled out.
Frustration shot through Singh and she grabbed his arm, swinging him around, trying to make him lose altitude. But the armoured figure had a destination now, making a beeline for the outskirts of the city.
She had to finish this quickly.
Up ahead, Singh spied a transmission tower approaching. Using the force, she released him once again and jumped to it, once again using the momentum to summersault back toward him. Only this time, she came out above him, and slashed across his jetpack before he could retaliate. Smoke burst out from it, sparks igniting the grey robe on his back.
For a moment, they were both falling together. Then the man twisted around, kicking her at the same time he ignited his jet-boots. Singh flew back, and the man jettisoned away, far beyond her reach now.
She found herself freefalling through the air, nothing but the buildings below to catch her fall. Igniting her lightsaber again, she waited until she was near the ground, then thrust it into the side of the metal building to slow her fall, landing on her feet in the middle of an alleyway. A trail of smoke in the sky was all that remained of her opponent.
She would not give up so easily. This was her mission, her first mission, and she could not fail. She would not fail the Order, she would not fail these people.
Quickly locating a swoop, she leapt onto it, whizzing off toward the city limits where the trail of smoke was headed. She dodged around the city’s inhabitants, taking the swiftest path she could while staying clear of the more trafficked airways. Within no time, she reached the gate that overpassed the exit to the city, and whizzed out onto a red dirt road. The ground was green with lush grass on both sides of the path, red wildflowers blooming in patches in the endless fields that stretched out into the yellowing azure sky to both sides of the path, and the red canyons in the distance before her. The faint trail of smoke disappeared into the canyons, but was quickly dissipating. Singh urged the speeder on, though she knew it was futile. Rushing into situations without backup was never a good idea, no matter who you are.
Yes, but I almost beat the guy! Without his jetpack, he’ll be nothing against a Jedi.
Yoda’s voice came back from her childhood. “Arrogance, the Jedi way is not.”
True. And I’m fooling myself if I imagine that whoever this is hasn’t been expertly trained.
So she wouldn’t attack. She’d scout. Then she’d call for backup.
The cliffs rose around her now, rock faces with barely scalable surfaces stretching up toward the dusky sky. Wisdom told her it would be foolish to stay out after dark. In the briefing, she recalled reading that there were hungry Willobies, distant relative to the Gundark, lurking in the wilderness after nightfall. Even now, she could sense multiple unintelligent lifeforms nearby.
She would have to return the next day, after she ensured the rest of Geona was prepared for further attacks. And she needed to find a way to contact the council. The situation was much worse than they supposed.
The low hum of some form of transportation approached, louder than the muffled sound of her own swoop. On the path in the distance she could make out a flash of yellow coming in her direction. A shuttle was making its way slowly toward her, bumping alone above the road. Sing guessed there was something wrong with its power-converter. As it grew closer, it slowed, cough and sputtering, to a halt.
Singh covered the distance in a hurry, coming to a stop in front of the ramp. She leapt from her swoop, lightsaber ready.
The ramp began to open, slowly, jerkily.
“Thank goodness!” a masculine voice cried from within. The voice was good-humoured, but the accent had surprisingly sophisticated inflections; the kind you would be more likely to hear in the senate than in the middle of a canyon coming from a broken ship. “Help has arrived!”
Confused and alert, Singh did not reply.
There was a metallic cranking from inside, then the ramp dropped open suddenly. A man tumbled out, falling flat on his back onto the road. He picked himself up with an embarrassed chuckle, dusting himself off.
“I really need to get that fixed,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck.
“More than just the ramp, I take it,” Wolf said, eying him suspiciously.
The man was in his late twenties, with strawberry red hair, pale blue eyes, and a boyish grin that remained permanently on his features. His clothing were a ratty, a dusty brown in colour, and he wore shoulder-guards with the Stewjon crest roughly painted on them.
He seemed to come to himself. “You’re a Jedi!”
“I am,” Signh replied stiffly. “Wolf Singh at your service. And you are?”
“Jaiko,” he said, extending his hand. “Very, very pleased to meet you. We’ve been waiting for so long for assistance, and you’ve finally come! You’ve spoken to Governor Y’sannne, I presume?”
“For but a moment, before my transport was blown up by a man in armour and a jetpack.”
“Blown up?” Jaiko cried, horrified. “Was anyone hurt?”
“Luckily no. But he must be caught before he can do anymore damage. You didn’t happen to see him, did you? He came this way.”
He shakes his head. “Regrettably, no, I saw nothing. Was too busy trying to get this old girl back home in one piece,” he gestures to his dilapidated shuttle. “Y’sanne had me running supplies to the outlying districts since yesterday morning. Although,” he adds this as an afterthought, stroking the beginnings of a beard sprouting on his chin, “I’ve heard that these canyons are filled with caves. If one managed to tame the Willobies, one might live comfortably in one, I’m sure.”
“Perhaps.” It was plausible that there was an encampment somewhere nearby. “Does Stewjon have enemies?”
“We might now,” he says, concerned. “Whatever you need, Jedi, I’m here to help.”
Signh frowned. There was something off-putting about this man. He was too cheerful, too confident. Yet there was something else about him that was even more unsettling. She had grown adept at sensing the dark or light force around every living being over the years, but this Jaiko was unreadable.
“Shall we start looking now?” Jaiko asked, a bit uncertain.
Singh shook her head. “No, we’ll return to Geona and speak things over with Governor Y’sanne. I need answers that only she can give.”
“Alright. But my shuttle isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. May I get a ride back with you?”
The Jedi nodded silently, clipping her lightsaber to her belt. She needed to think, to meditate. Her actions today were too reckless, she could see that now. Deliberation would bring her the answers she was looking for.
“You’re not from Stewjon,” Singh found herself observing aloud.
Jaiko glanced up, mildly surprised. “How did you know?”
“Your accent.” She paused, thinking deeply. “What did you say your surname was?”
He walked up the ramp, pulling a supplies bag from its place near the door and slung it over his shoulder. He turned back, a bit of a smile on his face.
“Kenobi. In other words, not really someone you would’ve heard of.” He gestured to the swoop. “Shall we?”