"You ever write something then end up disliking it before you even finish it? This one be one of those times for me. God knows where I was going with this story. It is far from finished... I believe, and I have no idea what the climax was going to be. I was on and off with this for a while. I would write, take a break, come back later with a different mind-set, write, take a break, come back later with another different mind-set again, and again, and again to the point where I just could not finish it. I probably could have written a lot of moments way better, but this is apparently what I wrote. I also did not know where to take it. I considered ending it with them walking in the rain, then I changed it and considered sex, then I changed that and thought of a fight, then I changed the idea again to one of them getting shot and ended it open ended right there, and one point I considered a battle in which the Separatist along with the characters a made-up score a pyrrhic victory over... I am not even sure about that one. Anyway, I hope you all do not end up making fun of me for this mess of a story. I heavily considered deleting it, but I thought, well I have written this much. I suppose I could upload it on the A.W.S. page on Mod DB. Anyway, here you go..."
The neon lights glowed brightly in the mountain cities on Aplooine. Citizens walked up a down the promenade,
while many gathered in clusters around view screens throughout the walk ways -- awaiting the final vote.
It was late at evening, but most did not seem to mind. An important decision was about to be made.
One that would decide the future of Aplooine. Join the Separatists Alliance or remain with the Galactic Republic.
Jethroe stood next to a view screen, leaning against the wall, holding a bottle of alcohol.
He looks over to the crowd around him, "I have to admit, this is taking longer than I though it would!"
Someone in the crowd shouts over to him "I am about to go home if they do not hurry up!"
A girl wearing a black hood walks up to him and ask "so... what did you vote for?"
Following a quick laugh, Jethroe enthuastically responds. "I voted to leave Republic.
I am fine helping the so called Separatists Alliance;
especially if it means we are not forced to deal with the ever growing tyrannical Republic."
People in the crowd around him overheard him and held up their datapads, some shouting "hear-hear!"
The girl in the black hood looked at the crowd. "Glad all of you have made up your minds. I did not vote;
Simply becuase I could not descide."
Eyes locked on the screen, Jethroe took a drink from his bottle before asking,
"what made you undecided? What has the Republic ever done for us?"
The hooded girl responds in a calm tone "Honestly, the Republic does not really effect my day-to-day life.
And it might sound weird coming from an Aplooinian, but I have no interaction with the Republic.
And it is mainly becuase of my work."
Jethroe took another drink from his bottle before asking her "what is your line of work?"
She smiled and enthuastically answered, "I am a merchant."
Jethroe immidently laughed "Ha! Sweetheart, we might be in the Outer Rim, but we are currently a member of the Republic,
and our homeworld is on the Duros Space Run. I for one minute do not believe you have had no interactions with the Republic.
If anything, you should have more of an opinion on the Republic that the average citizen."
The hooded girl smiled and shook her head no. "One would think that,
but I normaly do not do any trading on Aplooine... At least not usually. In fact, I almost exclusivly deal in the Outer Rim,
and even then, mainly on the far frontier -- the outline of the outline. The Republic is basically non-existent in my life.
Asking me to vote, is like asking someone to choose between one stranger from another."
Jethroe looked at his bottle then strapped it onto his belt while asking the hooded girl a question,
"I do not mean to judge a book by its cover, but a lone merchant on the outline systems,
what are you trying to prove? Or better yet, what do you trade that requires you to be that far out?
My line of work has taken me out there a couple of times, and I learned the far out systems are lawless."
She interrupts him, "don't judge a book by its cover. I can handle myself. I have been trading out there for years.
And speaking of you going out there, what do you do?" Jethroe smiled before stroking his ego "Jethroe Noir at your servie.
I am a freelance pilot, courier, and... sometimes smuggler. I am perfectly fine stating that in the open, too.
I would not need to smuggle cargo if the Republic did not have laws for everything. Between their pointless restrictions and over-taxing, I say we kick them off our homeworld." The view screen begins to flash as a reporter appears on screen.
The reporter turns to the screen beginning his announcment. "Good evening, Aplooine.
I come to you tonight with the end results of what took almost a month to descide.
While Palpatine and the Senators argue on Coruscant, the question still remains if remaining in the Republic is still benifical.
A poll was given that would descide the future of Aplooine. In mear moments, we will reveal to you on what the majority of Aplooinians want."
The crowd around the view screen seem to be growing larger as more people walking the promenade turned their attention to the view screen.
Though the city was previously filled with people talking and walking, everything seem to have fallen relatively silent and still.
As people around the view screen gripped their datapads, and held on to one another, some even closed their eyes.
Jethroe pulled out his bottle of alcoho again, while the hooded girl next to him simply stood staring at the large view screen.
The news reporter talked a bit longer before finally revealing the poll results. "--and as we enter into this new era,
an era already dealing with the Clone War, a senate in gridlock, a chancellor who has been given more power than usual in the goverment,
and has taken liberties with that power, is it really so shocking that we want to reevaluate our current faction aligment?
Nevertheless, here is the results. Aplooine will... ... ... Leave the Republic and join the Separatists Alliance."
As soon as the reporter on the view screen announced it, most of the crowds in the streets cheered.
People took off runing an yelling. Jethroe opened up his bottle of alcoho again, closed his eyes and took one long drink.
The hooded girl smiled while looking around at people jumping and cheering in the streets.
Jethroe closed up his bottle, snapped it on to his belt, then turnred to the hooded lady and smiled before saying "well,
miss... Girl. It was a pleasure meeting you. You seem like one really interesting person, and it was nice to have someone to talk to while I waited.
Especially someone like you. Safe journies, I plan on checking on my ship,
then heading back to my apartment and enjoying my evening before my client meeting tommorow. Freelance stuff... You know."
As soon as Jethroe turned to walk away in the crowded streets, the girl immeditily said "wait! Um... Jethroe!"
He turnes around "Yes, miss? ... ... ... Listen if this is about my views, then I do not know how else I can say it.
I am glad our homeworld is leaving the Republic. And as for the outline systems, my only advice is -- be careful, but carry a blaster just in case.
A lone attractive female merchant out in the Rim is just asking for trouble.
I recommend a DL-18, or a DL-44 -- that would give even the lowest scum a moment of pause."
The hooded girl pulls back her hood, and ask "could we talk a little longer? Maybe walk around for a little bit?"
Jethroe ask "is this for business or something else?" The girl hesistates "... Something...
We could just walk around and get to know each other, then maybe meet up again after... Whatever work has you do..."
Jethroe thinks for a second before responding, "sure." He nods his head, "but I need to get something from my ship.
It is in the starport down the street." The two begin walking in the city as people go back to their lives.
The crowds of people cheering have now calmed and the city returned to normal.
Jethroe smiled "so... Am I ever going to learn your name? And why do you have a bunch of adorable little horns poking out of your hair?
Yeah I noticed them when you pulled back your hood." The girl smiles and laughs a little before replying.
"My name is Ale, and the 'adorable horns' are becuase my grandmother is Zabraki." Jethroe gives a little laugh before saying,
"maybe sometime you will let me poke them; I want to feel one of them." Ale smiles while face palming herself,
"I should have left my hood up. People always ask about the 'wee horns'. As you can see,
I really do not have the face of a zabraki, but I still have the horns." Jethroe smiles in a warm manner before expressing his approval.
"I think they make you look really pretty. Well... You already look really pretty. If I had hand holding privelages right now,
I would hold your hand." Ale continues smiling before saying, "who says you don't?" Jethroe takes one of her hands and kisses it,
before noticing they have now arrived at the docking bay door his ship is docked at. "Oh, we are already here." Ale almost gives a frown as she turns to Jethroe,
"I kind of expected that to be a longer walk." She says while still holding on to Jethroe hand.
He says, "you can come inside if you want. My ship is a small low-stock freightor, but there is enough room for us to relax."
Ale smiles and says "yes." With his free hand, Jethroe pulls a card out of his pocket, places under the scanner on the door.
After the red glow on the door turns green the doors slide open and they walk in. Ale immididetly smiles "aw your ship is a small adorable looking thing.
What is it?" Jethroe begins to feel emmbaressed before stating, "it is a YT-700 -- that is not small and adorable. It is a mean and agressive looking ship."
Ale burst out laughing before saying, "my ships rear-end exhaust nacelle is larger than your tiny nacelle."
Jethroe crosses his arm and looks the other way "okay, okay. I get it, we will... just go... somewhere else."
Ale immidetly looks shocked before asking "what? Why? ... ... Jethroe, are you emmbaressed of your ship? Don't be.
If anything, I want to relax in it." Jethroe scratches his head before saying "but-"
Only to be interrupted by Ale, "and I hope you will let me ride it, too." Jethroe then ask,
"you just pointed out how small it is, then laughed at it, now you want to ride it?"
Ale gives a big smile while saying "ha, yes. I would have fun riding this adorable thing."
Jethroe smiles and ask "are we still talking about my ship?" Ale simply says "we'll... see. Just one question though,
what is that ticking for? I hear a ticking noise coming from the side of your ship?"
Jethroe listens for a few seconds, "that is weird. I do not-" Jethroe's ship suddenly explodes in a blaze of fire.
pieces of the ship scatter in all directions as hanger alarms activate. The force of the explosion sending both Ale and Jethroe flying across the room,
back towards the hanger door. fire fall from the ceiling, while dust fills the air as pieces of Jethroe's ship lay scattered around the hanger.
He coughs and does his best to find the strength to stand back up, "I-I-I... Can't (cough! Cough!) Ale, are you (cough!)
Jethroe looks up to see armed people walking into the room. "Who-who are..." One of them, an aqualish, lays a datapad on the floor infront of Jethroe.
A hologram of a hutt appereas. Jethroe instanly recongizes the hutt. "Jabba the Hutt? I do not... Understand."
Laying on the floor, he takes in deep breaths while holding his side.
"we have never had any problems in the past, and I delivered all your shipments on time. This does not make any sense. Why?"
Jabba shakes his head no via the hologram before answering "Jethroe, my boy, you are one of my most trusted associates.
Which is why I am sparing your life. I must admit, I had to put serious thought into this one. As soon as I heard your planet supported the Separatists,
I knew you would fully go along with it -- and probably help the Separatis cause, too. Do not get me wrong, I have noting against the Separatists.
However, I need assoicates I can trust. Especially when there are credits to be made. I plan to buy and sell information to both sides.
An agent that only favors one side is no good to me -- trust issues and all. You will be left alone; however, I needed you out of the way, so I destroyed your ship.
It is nothing person, just business." And with that, the hologram of Jabba fades away, the aqualish picks up the datapad,
and walks out of the hanger with the rest of the armed people.
Jethroe hears echo's of Ale's voice as he slowly passes out. "Jethroe?! Jethroe... !"
Suddenly he wakes up on a bed in a small room with dim lights. Shaking, body in pain, with a headace, and one eye barely open he sits-up and looks around.
"Where... am I?" He feels around his body, only to feel bandages on his head, arms, and stoumach.
Ale walks in holding a bacta canstiner, "Jethroe? Oh thank goodness you are alright! For a minute I thought I lost you!
You have been out sense last night -- when your ship... ... How are you feeling? I wanted to take you to a hospital,
but I got worried that the Hutts might change their mind; I brought you to my ship using my hover pad, and done what I could to help you."
Jethroe gave a small sign of relief before asking "I thought after all that you would run away or something. Still...
Thank you, Ale." She smiled, then explained "I was knocked to the floor -- same as you -- but I overheard that Hutt.
I have dealt with them before. At least, their cartel. It is one of the reasons why I changed the transponder codes on my ship.
One does not work way out in the Rim without picking up a few things. That, and well, I like you a little bit.
Watching you lay helpless on the floor while your ship was burning in pieces made me feel sad inside."
Jethroe rubbed his head and gave a deep breath. "I like you too Ale, and I am glad that we met.
I have no idea what I will do now. I have no ship, which means I need to find a new line of work. I have to figure out how I am going to survive."
As Jethroe attemps to get out of bed, he is stoped by Ale. She pushes him back down. "I have an idea on how to get you a new ship,
and maybe some work -- but it is not on Aplooine. I know I do not owe you anything, but I still want to help you while you are down. Plus,
I want to keep spending time with you." Jethroe smiled "I see no reason not to take your offer. At this point, you are the only one I can trust.
What did you have in mind?" Ale smiled again and said, "have you ever heard of the planet Bakura?" Jethroe said "no."
"Perfect, that is were we can find you a new ship." Ale said as she continued. "I have a friend whom owes me a major favor."
Jethroe replied in disbelief "must be some favor if you think someone can just give you a ship." But Ale explained.
"I saved his life... Multiple times in fact. He said he would pay me back and once boasted the he could even get me free ship if I wanted.
Time to see how truthful he is. I'll be right back."
Jethroe shook his head yes and closed his eyes. He laid there for several minutes before he felt the room vibrate and the engine hum.
"Ale's ship just took off, then jumped into hyperspace." Deep in his thoughts as he layed there, he did not mind Ale's help. As far as he is consered,
he is doing far better than he was last night. When his ship and his hard earned possestions went up in flames.
Ale seemed to be something of a life saver. A girl he had only know for a single night is now helping him while he is down.
For a second he thought he was still dreaming. "I must still be out on the hanger floor from the explosion. Yeah that must be it.
My ship is gone, Ale is not really here, and the Hutt's are laughing at me while I lay there unconsious." He thought to his self.
Despite the bruises and pain he felt all over his body, Jethroe slowly fell asleep.
(Knock, knock) Ale knocks on the side bulkhead of the room Jethroe is laying in. Jethroe opens his eys.
"Hey." He says. She sits a cup of water on a foldout shelf next to his bed. "I was going to ask if you needed anything,
but when I came back, you were asleep. I waited awhile so you could rest. I brought you some water if you want it.
We should be arriving at Bakura soon." An alarm immidetly beeps. "Or we could be arriving right now." Ale says as she walks out of the room Jethroe is laying in.
Jethroe gets up and follows her to the cockpit of her ship. She sits down, grabs a lever, and slowly pulls back on it.
The blue tunnel of hyperspace becomes streeks of light until everything instantly appears infront of them.
Both Ale and Jethroe are in shock. "What the?!" Ale says as she grabes the stick and manuervers her ship.
A space battle between the Separatists and Republic rage on in a large light show above Bakura.
Ale pulls hard to starboard as she attemps to avoid colision while the ship slows from hypersapce.
Her ship flips, turns, up and down as she avoids laser fire. She flyies over the bow of a large vessel with large cannons firing.
Separatist droid starfighters spinning fly past her ship while Republic starfighters race after them.
Debris and dying ships fill the area while other large vessels circle the area firing on them.
Ale moves and jerks her ships maneuvering stick. "I-I honestly had no idea any of them would be here!"
Jethroe takes the seat adjecent to her in the cockpit. "It is alright, I never would have guessed eather.
Does your ship have weapons?" She shakes her head "Yes. Pull down the periscope above you." She says. "But do not turn them above half power.
They will overload and I have yet to repair them." Jethroe nods, pulls down the periscope, and slowly turns the "power level" dial to halfway.
He looks off to the side window. A starfighter with the Republic logo on the side flies next to them, until a swarm of small incect-like droids attatch it.
The starfighter spins and flies off in a different direction. He shakes his head no before saying "I do not want to come off as horrible,
but some of this fighting actually seems... hilarous."
Ale shruggs her shoulders while continuing menuvering her ship through the chaos of the battle while moving closer and closer to the planet.
She glances over at a screen to the left of her. "We have two incoming transmissions. One has Republic coding written all over it;
the other is in... Binary." Jethroe contunies looking through the pariscope twisting and turning the handlebars.
"I think we can guess where the messages are coming from." He says without looking from the pariscope.
Ale looks at both sides of the screen, then back out the cockpit window to focus on flying. "Well, which one should we answer?"
Jethroe replies "the Separatists. We are now apart of their faction are we not? Plus, I would rather talk to them then those clone troopers."
Ale taps the right side side of the screen. After a moment, a droid appears on the screen. Ale laughs, "oh look it is one of those silly OOM series droids.
I have seen a few of them in holovids." The droid respons, "unknown civillian freightor. You are flying in a desiginated no-fly zone.
If you do not vacate the warzone, we will lock a tractor beam on you, and your ship will be boarded. Do you understand?"
Ale raises an eyebrawl, "charming. We are just passing through and have no intention of staying in this area."
And with that, she cuts the transmission. Jethroe uses the pariscope to fire at incoming Republic starfighters. "Almost... Almost... Oh yes! I disabled one of them!"
Ale glances at the screen on her dashboard. "We are entering the atmosphere. I will seek out a starport on the other side of the planet."
As they a flying towards the planets surface, a Republic Star Destroyer flies underneath them. "Woah!" She says as she pulls back on the stick to lift her ship
and fly over the bow. Ale flips the ship upside down just as she as about to clear the bow of the enemy vessile and preceds to fly down, then levels her ship.
"Okay, we cleared the battle and are headed to the other side of Bakura. ... ... ... You okay, love?" Jethroe had fallen back into his seat,
and gave a look as though the wind just got knocked out of him. "... Yeah, I am alright... You have amazing piloting skills."
Ale laughed, switched on auto-poilet, and got up to hug Jethroe from behind. She gave him a kiss on his cheek and said,
"look here, we made it in one piece didn't we?" He laughs and said, "I cannot argue with your logic."
Ale moves to the back of the cockpit, and opens up a hatch next to the enterance. "Wake up, R5."
"You have an astromech droid?" Jethroe ask. She replies, "yes, but he has been powered down sense the night me and you were walking to your ship.
I sent him a message to power down. Honestly, I was expecting to spend most of the evening with you, before... Well... Yeah."
The R5 droid whistles and beeps, turning its head. "R5 run ship diasgontics, and make any repairs you can. Start with the engine first.
It lagged a little bit just after we arrived here." The R5 droid turns and leaves the cockpit.
Ale closes the hatch and sit back in the piolet seat, she then takes the maneuvering stick,
flies her ship to a landing pad. Both leave the cockpit and head back into the ships main area.
Ale turns to Jethroe, "This is the ONLY landing pad I could find close enoguh to where we need to go.
I suppose that space battle raging in the skies must have grounded all vessles. It does not matter, though. I am actually engoying this adventure with you.
In all my years of flying in the Outer Rim, I have never done anything that crazy." Jethroe scratches the back of his neck giving an un-easy look.
He hesiatates at first but slowly ask "Ale... Are you working with the Hutts?" Ale is caught off guard, and is almost in shock. She ask,
"what? What would make you think that?" He rubs his neck before saying "well, you are a merchant that only works out in the Outer Rim.
Which is where the Hutt Cartel mainly deals; you were with me while people attached a bomb to my ship, and yet you somehow avoided being seriously -- if at all -- injured;
you somehow ran through a blockade as if you are experienced smuggler; you also claim you can get me a free ship as easily as a Hutt crimeboss;
and even though we have only known each other for a few days, you seem to want to help me.... Whatever the Hutts have you doing, just get it over with.
I have no ship, no job, no credits. What more can those scum take from me?"
Ale slowly hugs Jethroe, and tries to comfort him. "Jethroe, I am not working with the Hutts. I am guility of trading with them in the past,
but not working with them. In fact, after seeing what they did to you, I might not even do that anymore. Do you remember when we first met,
I told you I did not vote? It was more than me not deciding; I could careless about the politics of Alpooine.
I only walked up to that view screen becuase you were standing next to it. I thought to myself, 'he is cute.' I also thought to myself,
'but do I really want to do this again?" I decided to talk to you anyway." Jethroe apprears confused before asking,
"do what again?" Ale takes a deep breath before responding "well, being a solo merchant on your own can be... lonely.... Um...
I have had flings in the past, but they usually ended the same way. I would get with a guy, we would spend maybe a week or two together,
before I had to leave, then I would never see the person again. And even when I gave my holonumber, most would never call.
It feels good to roll around in the hay, but honestly, I am kind of getting sick of these one time things. I just want something real for once.
When I saw you, I was expecting the same thing. Some fun for the night, then tomorrow I would be off... Probably feeling empyt an alone.
When your ship went... Ka-boom, part of me wanted to run off. I look at the door, then back at you... Then back at the door, again, then I said to myself,
'(sigh) Ale, what have you gotten yourself into this time.' Plus, seeing you lay there helpless, I could not just leave you there while your world started to crumble.
When you woke up on my medical bed, looking up to me saying, 'thank you, Ale.' That gave me a weird but really good feeling I have not felt in so many years.
I am happy to help get you a new ship. I just wish.... you did not have to leave me. When you leave, I will be a lone again.
Only this time, I will actually miss someone... (Sigh.)"
Ale looked down with a blank look as if deep in her thoughts, while Jethroe tried to say something, but stopped himself.
He briefly closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead thinking to himself what he might say. He now believes that Ale is not working for the Hutts,
and was really wanting to help him, but she is also correct in that once Jethroe has a new ship, he would most likly head back to Aplooine and not see her ever again.
Not that he would not miss her. In fact, he actually does like her, too. "Ale, forget the ship." He says as he hugs her.
"Even if I got a new one, the Hutt's would eventually find out and go after me again. I could stay with you on your ship, if you will have me.
I do not know much about being a merchant, but I was already considering a career change.
I just never thought about what it would take for me to actually change to a different profession. We could even have something real and serious, too.
I am far from perfect company, but I am happy to do what I can to-" Ale imminently interrupts him, "yes! yes! You can stay! Yes."
Jethroe laughs and says "I need to pick up a few things from my apartment back home, plus I need to know which room is mine."
Ale again interupts "You will be staying in my room of course." Jethroe laugh and says "now my life is getting way better."
Ale smiles, grabs Jethroe, and pulls him in to share a kiss. After the kiss Jethroe smiles and says,
"your smile really brings out the little adorable horns on your head." Ale pushes him on his chest, then turns around smiling.
But he comes right back to hug her from behind and kiss her on her cheek.
"Now what?" He ask. "We came all the way to Bakura only to find out that everything works out by simply being by your side."
Ale closed her eyes, smiled again and shook her head yes. "Well I am not flying through that mess of ships in orbit again.
I could eat right now, though." Jethroe's face immidetely turns from happy to awkward. "Well, I... Have... No... Credits... Yeah."
Ale responds with a big grin on her face. "It is alright. I kind of expected that after how the past few days have been for you.
I can think of a few ways you can pay me back though, ha." Jethroe kisses her again and they head for the exit ramp from her ship.
"R5, watch the ship while we are gone." Ale calls out as they walk out.
Hours pass as they sit at a table in a cantina talking and laughing. Music from a band on stage fills the room,
while people from what seems like all walks of life fill the room. At their table in the back, plates sit that once had food on them,
and a small lamp at the center of the table brings light to the dim atmosphere.
"Tell me the name of your ship, come on, Ale, please?" Ale laughs and shakes her head no. "Not yet." She says. "Why?" Jethroe ask before continuing, "ha, it cannot be that bad?" She shakes her head no while smiling, "no... you will laugh at it. And then I will be mad at you." Jethroe covers his mouth while smiling, "I promise I will not laugh..." Ale crosses her arms and looks the other way while quietly uttering something Jethroe could not even hear. "What? Ha, I did not hear you..." She now reluctantly repeats the word again only barely above a whisper. "... Knitting..." Jethroe begins holding back a big smile and even starts to shake. He covers his eyes as if facepalming. "Shut up! Argh!" Ale says as she grabs a napkin, wads it into a ball, and throws it into Jethroe's face. Which did not really help, as he began laughing out loud as soon as it hit him. Jethroe quickly calms down and says "Well, I am happy to be aboard... the Knitting. We will... nit a nice life together, Ale." She stares at Jethroe, mouth slightly open as if heavily mesmerized, while and explosion occurs as if coming from outside off in the distance. "Hey this city is more crazy than I though, ha." A second explosion followed by a third. "Ale, I think we better leave." She slowly breaks from her trance while only saying "... yes, whatever you want to do." Two more explosions occur, only this time, closer. He grabs Ale's arm while saying "come on." Lights in the cantina begin to flicker as people make for the exit. They run outside and look around as civilians and bystanders scatter -- most running in the same direction. Fighting, blaster fire, and explosions sounds as though they are only a few blocks away while ships race overhead firing at each other. "Blast", Jethroe says as he noticed most people running away from the direction their ship was landed at. "Ale, I know you said you did not want to fly through the mess of ships in orbit, but I would rather not get caught in the crossfire of a stupid war. The longer we stay on this planet, the more at risk we are. I just do not want anything to happen to you... or my new home... or me for that matter." Ale grabs Jethroe, kisses him, and says, "if we make if back to the ship, I will fly you wherever!"