View character profile for: Nim
Posted: Mar 30, 2019, 9:28am
(Originally written on May 13, 2018)
"Buckle up, Lady and Gents, cause we are about to go into hyperspace!" The pilot announced as they put some distance between Hosnian Prime's Atmoshere and their Naboo Starship.
The crew of four, well, five if you included the Astro Droid, braced themselves for hyperspace. Armé Natala felt a smile come to her lips as she sat down and put on her safety strap. She was looking forward to returning home. Hosnian Prime wasn't the worst place in the galaxy, but it lacked the natural beauty of Naboo. Plus, she was eager to catch up with old friends and family, although her boss, Senator Thadlé Berenko had wanted her to complete this trip quickly and hopefully be back before too many people noticed she was gone.
Armé unconsciously fidgeted with the datapad in one of the pockets of her travel cloak. Apparently, information of the the nefarious and enigmatic First Order's military and production capabilities as reported from a First Order defector was encoded inside. Armé didn't really know what to make of the information as she hadn't tried to decode the contents of the datapad yet. Thadlé seemed very concerned about it, however, and the Senator had told Armé that her mission to deliver the tablet to the Queen was of utmost importance and must be kept secret at all cost. Armé thought her boss was being rather paranoid, but she had kept that sentiment to herself.
The jump through hyperspace was blissfully uneventful. Once they emerged back into realspace, Armé undid her safety straps and made her way to the cockpit to admire Naboo from space. One of her guards, Ran Larson joined her.
However, as they arrived, Armé noticed that something was amiss.
"That isn't Naboo," Armé remarked, referring to the dirty brown planet in front of them.
"It certainly doesn't appear to be," the pilot agreed.
"Why isn't it Naboo!? Aren't we supposed to be going to Naboo!?" she demanded.
"Well, yes, but..."
"But that planet isn't Naboo, so we're just going have to deal with it."
"Just deal with it?! What does that even mean!?" Armé yelled in frustration.
"Calm down, lady," the pilot replied, his patience clearly getting strained. "We just need to land on the planet, refuel, I'll verify that I have the correct coordinates this time, and we'll try again."
"You put in the wrong coordinates?" Ran asked with a raised eyebrow.
"That is the only thing I can think of."
"Okay, fine, so we land on the planet and refuel," Armé hissed. "Who's going to pay for that?"
"Well, I guess I can since this is apparently my mistake," the pilot sighed as he increased the thrust and started to go toward the planet. Ran and Armé retreated to their seats as the ship picked up speed.
As Armé fastened her safety belt, her second guard, Jia Gardé, asked, "Okay, so I only caught a glimps of that planet from back here, but that did not look like Naboo."
"Apparently Isul put the wrong coordinates in," Ran replied.
" 'fraid not."
"Damn, we need to fire that guy before the return trip," Jia muttered.
Armé nodded. "Agreed."
After they passed through the atmosphere of the unknown planet and flew toward the nearest settlement, a voice suddenly came through the receiver. "This is Tower Control, and we see you, J-Type Three Two Seven Nubian. Please confirm your destination."
Armé had no idea how to respond, but fortunately the pilot replied, "Tower, this is Naboo Diplomatic Fleet Shuttle Four Six Three Seven. We are just passing through and are stopping here to refuel."
After a few moments, the voice responded, "Very well, please report to Visitor Dock Two Two Three A and prepare to receive inspectors."
Armé could feel the ship slow down as their pilot navigated it over the city. She took a deep breath as she felt herself becoming anxious over what to expect from this unknown world, when the voice suddenly returned. "Fleet Shuttle Four Six Three Seven, do you copy?"
"Copy, Tower, what's up?" the pilot answered.
"Your model is a J-Type Three Two Seven Nubian, correct?"
"That is correct, Tower."
"Can you send us your credentials?"
"Can do... data should be transmitting now."
After a few awkwardly silent moments, the voice returned, "Thank you, Fleet Shuttle Four Six Three Seven. We are changing your destination. Please report to Dock Six Three Six V."
"Copy that, Tower, reporting to Dock Six Three Six V, over."
In hind sight, Armé would realize that this was when she should have suspected that something was up, but at the time she was oblivious of what had transpired.
How the pilot figured out which dock was 636V was beyond Armé, but eventually they landed somewhere that she presumed was where they were supposed to land. As she heard the landing bay open up, she anxiously whispered, "Do you think they will search us?" to Ran.
"Nah, they'll probably just do a quick electronic scan," he whispered back.
"Do you know where we are?" she asked.
"Nope, but whoever we are dealing with seems to take security seriously enough."
Soon enough, a team of people came on board with a cart that had a computer on it. They did a fairly quick look over of the ship and pointed their scanners at a bunch of things as well as the passengers and their droid, then got out in less than fifteen minutes.
"Where are we," Armé asked one of the inspectors before they got off.
"This is Rogue Moon, girl," the inspector growled.
As the inspector continued on his way, Armé leaned toward Ran and whispered, "I hate this place already."
"Try not to let that poor first impression shade your view the whole planet, Armé," he replied patiently. "Sometimes, people just have a bad day, and based on the fact that we got moved before we even landed, I'm guessing that today is a busy day for this port."
"I'll be back, guys," the pilot called back as he left the cockpit and walked toward the exit ramp. "I will purchase some fuel and hypermatter, and we'll be flying to Naboo again in no time!"
"Do you need someone to come with you?" Jia asked.
"Nah, I'll be fine."
With that, Isul was gone.
For awhile, Armé, Ran, Jia, and their Asto Droid just sat or stood about awkwardly inside the ship. Time passed, and none of the passengers saw or heard anything. Eventually Ran asked, "Well, does anyone want to go outside and take a look around?"
"Excellent idea!" Armé exclaimed leaping out of her seat. For reasons she was struggling to identify, the long, uneventful wait had been making her nervous.
"Okay, well, I'll be here in the ship," Jia remarked. "Have fun."
Ran smirked. "Oh we will."
Armé and Ran walked down the ramp into an unassuming landing bay. There was no one to be seen. "What do you think is taking our pilot so long?" Armé asked Ran.
"That is the question, isn't it," the bodyguard replied, scanning the area. Armé felt a chill go down her spine as she looked at Ran's face.
"What's wrong?" Armé asked fearfully.
"Something doesn't feel right," Ran murmured, reaching for his blaster as he stared at slightly open window on the second floor of a building that overlooked the landing bay. Armé started to follow his gaze when the bodyguard shoved her aside and yelled, "Watch out!" as a red blaster shot suddenly passed where she had been standing.
Armé stared at the burnt spot on the ground in disbelief for a moment before looking around for somewhere to hide.
"Get back in the ship!" Ran shouted, firing his blaster up at the window, shattering it. Armè fled to the ship and charged up the ramp, glancing backward as she did so.
Ran was following her somewhat closely as he continued to fire inaccurate shots at the building. Just as the bodyguard stepped onto the ramp, another blast came from the window, this one connecting with Ran's face. He crumpled to the ground and lay still.
Armé froze and screamed in horror until Jia pulled her into the ship.
"Calm down, miss Armé," Jia ordered as he pulled out his own blaster and pointed it toward the ramp.
"I-I-I c-can't" Armé gasped.
"Well try, because your antics aren't helping my focus, and I need to be able to focus to get us out of here alive. What happened out there?"
"S-someone s-started sh-shooting at us f-from-m a w-wind-dow."
"Great, so we're besieged in here," Jia growled. "Stay low. Hopefully our assailant can't hit us in here. Now we just hope that someone heard all that ruckus and comes to check on us. And if that son of a murglak dares to try to storm our ship, I'll blast him... I'll blast good."
Minutes passed as Jia knelt near the ramp and pointed his blaster at the only entrance onto the ship. Armé knelt next to him and struggled to calm down. Fortunately, Jia's confidence and courage was rubbing off on her, making her feel a little better. Maybe they would survive this...
Armé heard another blaster shot get fired outside but didn't see the shot. Then she heard a sizzling sound. Without warning, Jia suddenly grabbed Armé's shoulder and pushed her toward the ramp out of the ship. As Armé rolled down the ramp, she wondered why Jia would betray her when the ship suddenly exploded in a ball of fire over her head with Jia still inside.
Armé scampered away from the burning ship to escape the intense heat, stumbling over Ran's corpse as she did so. She fled to a nearby crate and sat behind it, awaiting her demise as she struggled to control the sobs that threatened to overtake her. Why was this happening to her?!
Even the fear of being spotted and shot dead failed to empower Armé with the ability to hide her emotions, and soon her tears were flowing freely as she gasped for breath.
It was in this state that the stranger found her in. Armé instinctivly looked to her right as she detected motion, only to see a blaster pistol pointed at her face.
"How many of you were there?" the helmeted stranger demanded in a computerized voice.
"F-f-four" Armè stammered.
The figure nodded. "And you're the last one?"
In a moment of clarity, Armé realized that she would get shot dead if she said yes. "N-no... It-t's m-me, th-the pilot-t, and-d Jia..."
"M-my chief of security," Armé lied. In truth, Ran had been in charge, but hopefully her assailant wouldn't know that.
"And where is Jia?"
"He w-went out after I pilot after h-he d-didn't show up."
"When did this happen?"
Armé could tell that this question was a trap. If she said a time that was after when the assailant had gotten into position, her attacker would know that she was lying and she'd be toast. "I-I dunno, ab-bout t-ten min-nutes after-r h-he left."
The attacker sighed, slightly lowering her pistol. With the weapon out of her face, Armé was able to get a good look at her assailant. The attacker had a feminine form, was dressed in a grey outfit, wore a grey helmet that covered her face, had a tan cloak, and had a long bag across her back, presumably containing her rifle and its accessories. "Well great," she (the attacker) muttered before pointing the pistol back at Armé's face. "I guess I don't need you anymore..."
"Wait!" Armé cried. "Do you know what Jia looks like?"
The attacker paused. "I assume he looks like that guy..." she mumbled uncertainly, gesturing toward Ran's body.
"Jia went in after the pilot undercover so as to try not to stand out as much," Armé lied.
"Yeah..." A siren blared somewhat nearby. "It's kind of a difficult outfit to describe," Armé continued.
The assailant cursed. "Okay, fine, point out this Jia to me and I'll let you go, but if you utter so much as a peep to anyone else, I'll fry your brain out." Armé could tell that the former statement was as insincere as the story she had made up about Jia.
"C'mon, let's get moving," attacker growled as she pulled Armé up and dragged her out of the dock. As they got out onto the abandoned street, commotion could be heard ahead, and the helmeted woman shoved Armé into an alleyway. Armé was about to utter a complaint when the attacker raised a finger in front of the center-bottom part of her helmet, about where her mouth probably was. They both stood still and silent as a bunch of security people and a fire-fighting engine rolled past. Once the sound of moving people and equipment became distant, the murderer grabbed Armé's arm and dragged her back into the street.
"Which direction did this Jia go, anyway?" the attacker hissed as they turned a corner onto a more busy street and people became visible."
"Probably toward wherever he would suspect that the pilot would purchase fuel from, but I don't really know for sure," Armé whispered in response.
"Okay," the assassin sighed. "If I find out that you're pulling one over on me, you're dead, got it?"
Armé nodded. Her assailant moved her grip to Armé's upper arm, just above the elbow, and together they walked into the throng of people, probably toward the nearest fuel shop or something. Armé was going to have to lead this woman on a wild mynock chase and hope someone came to help her or get an opportunity to escape if she had any hope of surviving.
What a lousy day this was turning out to be.