Again, 6, Here We Are... Stranded.
"Willpower can boost you higher than a jet pack." - Tarr Sierr
"Here we are." I felt the ship's landing gear touch down on something. Charr led me out of the ship and onto what felt like sand. I was still blindfolded, so I was only using my other senses to figure out exactly where he had landed. I smelled the beach and heard the sound of rushing water.
"Where's Quinlan?" I asked as soon as he removed the blind fold. The sudden brightness nearly blinded me.
I shielded my eyes from the brightness of the planet. "Vos?"
"So long, Secura." I heard Charr's nagging voice. "I hear that salt water does good for deep wounds these days."
I saw the shadow of the light weight cruiser lift off into the air and sail out of the atmosphere. Master Vos was standing up, just next to where the cruiser had taken off. I ran towards him, tripping on the way and falling into his arms. "Easy, Aayla." He smiled, calmly.
He helped me stand up. "Does your shoulder still hurt?"
"Yes," I moved my right arm, gently at first, and then raised it above my head. There was a light pain in my chest as I did, but it wasn't as bad. "That's strange; it's not as bad as it was earlier."
"Yes, I know." Quinlan Vos seemed distracted, preoccupied. "I sense a slight tremor, you?"
"Um, no." I gave him an odd look.
"Aayla, this is a strange planet, I do not know where we are and... Oh, snarp." While he was speaking, he had been looking around him. When he turned to study the sky, he saw something I hadn't noticed before.
"Is that... Coruscant?" I echoed. Sure enough, just up in the sky, above where we were standing, was the unmistakable hue of the planet that we were trying to return to. It was large, a deep orange-brown color, and you could almost see the city lights.
"Yes." Vos answered, dully. I couldn't blame him.
It was just like Charr to leave us stranded on a beach planet where we could easily see the planet that we needed to get to. "Well, I suppose since we'll be here for awhile, we might as well take a look around." I stepped away from him and walked down the edge of the beach, letting the cool water run next to my boots.
I hadn't walked that far when I noticed a small beach shack, built along the tide line. I walked closer to investigate.
"Aayla, I found out where we are!" I heard Quinlan call for me from across the dune. He was holding a small, black device. "The beach moon of Kossuth!"
"Where?" I was sort of preoccupied and tried to brush him off, again. I neared the small shack and knocked on the door. "Is anyone home?"
The door creaked open and I stood back. Right then, Quinlan came around the corner. "Kossuth! It's a remote planet where- what's this?"
If he didn't ask then I would've. The short wooden door opened, slightly, and an animal much like a Lurmen poked its head outside the opening. Its furry ears twitched, nervously. "Cha cha ti?"
It seemed to be speaking Ryl. "Aayla, what is this?"
"Hush, Master, do you want to frighten it away?" I snapped at him. Then, turning to the lemur-like animal, I answered it. "Jetti, mar c'a haava." I tried Ryl, my lekku moving as I spoke.
"Jetti!" the little animal squeaked, running back into its house. "Fenna, c'a Jetti!"
I couldn't make heads or tails of the situation. "Great, you scared it off." Quinlan smirked.
"Well, I didn't mean to-" The door reopened, but this time, a young female Twi'lek in a short beach combing dress stood in the way. Her skin color was tan, which identified her as a Rutian, like me.
"Hello," She smiled at me and Quinlan. "May I ask your business on this planet?"
"Actually, we don't have any business." I paused as the little Lurmen scampered back into the room and swung up onto her shoulder. "We're stranded."
"Are you hungry, sister? I may have some food inside left over from breakfast..." she offered. Her eyes drifted to the deep bullet hole just above my slip. "What in the name of Lazzen happened to you!" I assumed that that meant she would have to let us in.
"May we?" We hadn't had anything to eat since we left the temple, two days ago.
"Of course," She opened the wooden door wider and let us in. "Come and sit." She motioned to a small, feeble table with two chairs. She opened a cabinet decorated with shells and pulled out some bandages and sterilizing fluid. She passed them to Vos. "You go ahead and clean her up."
I looked at him, nervously. I think that my lekku twitched again. "You can trust me, Aayla."
The Lurmen leaped off of her shoulder and fell onto the center of the table. It raised the fur on the back of its tiny spine and bared its small, yellow teeth a Quinlan, hissing.
She turned from the counter where she was preparing the food. "Tsk, tsk M'da. Be nice to our fellow guests." She picked it up and put it on the counter. "Sorry, he's a little unused to people. I'm Fenna." She put out her hand for me to shake.
"I am Aayla Secura." I answered as I shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."
"As to reunite with you, sister." She turned back to the counter to finish preparing her food.
"She is not your sister. She was trained at the Jedi Temple as a baby." Quinlan spoke tersely, with a visible fire in his eyes.
"Oh," she seemed confused, and kept her back to us as she spoke. "Are you a Jedi?"
"Well," I turned to Quinlan nervously. "Yes." He continued wiping at my chest to clean off the blood that was caked on it. I winced, visibly.
He seemed unmoved. As soon as Tarra died he was as a block of stone, almost. In feeling, connection, and words. "Do you have a laser sword?" I knew she would ask that. "I have heard of Jedi's laser swords, but never seen one." She picked up two plates filled with food and placed them in front of us.
"I don't have it with me, but I do have one. I made it myself." I started eating what she had served us. "We're actually looking for a way off of this planet." Quinlan wrapped my shoulder and chest with the pure white bandaging.
Fenna sat down on the counter. The little Lurmen, M'da, scampered up her back and sat on her shoulder. "I know of a relative that owns a cruiser. He found it crashed on this island and repaired it. I could bring it to you as you enjoy your food."
I stood up and bowed to her, "I would be honored, Fenna. Thank you for your kindness."
"Tchah, there's no need for that sort of stuff." She pushed me back into my seat. "While I go hunt for lunch along the beach, I'll travel till I get to him. Bring it back for my Jedi sister, yes?"
"Go on, Fenna. I'll keep you no longer."
Knowing that there were no more words to be said, she left the small shack with her Lurmen-like animal perched on her shoulder. "Farewell!" The creaky wooden door to the shack closed.
"Finally, were alone." Vos visibly loosened as he ate his food. "I thought she would never leave. What was with the 'sister' thing, Aayla?"
"She is a Rutian Twi'lek, and I am too. That, in Ryloth tradition, makes us inner sisters. It's a Twi'lek thing." I explained, proudly. "You shouldn't have corrected her."
"Yeah, Twi'lek's are weird." He commented and then finished off his plate.
"Only in tradition." I counted the conversation as over and walked over to where the window was. "I wonder what she is doing."
I studied her from inside of the house. She had a sort of net, fine as a teabag, and was tossing it out into the passing waves. Then, pulling with all of her strength, she would bring the net in and shake it out over a bucket.
"She said to stay here." Quinlan sounded bored as I opened the door to leave.
"Its fine, Quinlan." I assured him as I walked outside into the hot sand. "I am sure she could use the help."
Fenna was still leaning over her bucket, which was full of various sea creatures and fish. "Oh, look M'da!" The tiny Lurmen poked its brown head over her shoulder. "It's a gastergell!" She picked up a shimmering fish with long, trailing pectoral fins.
"It's so beautiful! I should add it to my fish tank." M'da nodded, obviously impressed with her.
"What is it?" I had walked across the beach to where she sat, crouched over the bucket.
"A rare fish, sister!" She held the fish up for me to see. "I'll take it back home. Here, you stay with the bucket." With that said, she took off for the house at a breakneck speed. M'da followed her, running as fast as he could, on all four of his tiny feet.
I studied him. He wasn't exactly a Lurmen, I had seen Lurmen before and they were certainly more human-like than him. Fenna ran out of the house with M'da on her shoulder. "Back to work!" She sang.
As soon as she caught up to where I was standing, I was ready with a few questions. "Fenna," I paused as she looked up at me and started to get ready to throw her net. "How did you get here, on this planet?"
"It's a long story." She turned her back on me and cast the net into the water.
"We have a long way to go." I explained as she hauled in her net. "Tell me."
"No, I don't want to. It's really a hard story, and I don't want anyone to know." I accessed the Force and waved my arm across my chest.
"Well, I guess if you put it that way." She emptied out her net into the bucket, and a few minnows and a purple crab fell into it. Then, throwing her net over her shoulder, she struggled to pick up the heavy bucket.
"It was a horrible crash." She walked away from the front of her house and continued to travel along the beach. "From what I remember, I had been sold to a Master that owned a house on Kossuth. I had been chained in the hold when the ship crashed, on this planet, while everyone else bailed out.
"When the wreckage caught on fire, I managed to bust my chains and get out before the ship exploded. My sister was not as fortunate. She died as the ship crashed. Shyla wasn't really my sister, but we had been like family since I met her at the auction. She was a Rutian too, with stripes running across her T'chin-chun. We were sold to the same master, and when they crashed... I,"
I saw that she was crying. "I had a cut on my lekku," she showed me where a small, thin scar wrapped around her chun like a snake. "I only thought of myself. And I swam to shore."
We were nearing another shack now, except for this one was built further away from the water. "And then I found M'da, on the beach as well." She scratched the little animal's neck affectionately. "I have been here ever since. I know that if I return to life, I could be caught by the authorities and sold again. Besides," She paused to drop the bucket in the sand as she unfurled her net. "I like my life here."
She tossed the net into the sea. As she tossed it into the air, a ray of light hit one of the sinker weights, making a sparkle as it drifted into the ocean. "If you are happy where you are, why move?" She commented.
"Jetti r'a tchi a to ban." M'da chattered as Fenna brought in her net.
"There's his house." She motioned to the shack that we had been nearing. She shook out her net over the already full bucket and pushed me forward. "You can ask him."
"How did he get here?" I used the Force to make her answer.
"I don't quite know, really. Seems as though he's been here for as long as I can remember." She swung the net over her shoulder as M'da scampered onto her head. "Address him as Maard, sister." She tipped me. "Puts him in a good mood."
I boldly walked up to the doorstep, and knocked on the door. There was no reply. Undeterred, I knocked on the door again. To my surprise, the door swung open. I cautiously stepped inside.
It seemed as though no one was home. I surveyed my surroundings. There was a thick, stone flooring with almost no furniture to accent the cold, dreary bleakness of the dark room. The wind whistled through the windows as I took a few more cautious steps inside. "Fenna, are you sure that someone actually lives here?"
"Sure! Kern is always at home at this time of day." She trotted up the steps and walked into the house with me. "Kern! I have a friend here to see you!" She ran over to the other side of the shack, her sandals clicking on the stone floor.
"MMAAAAAWWWD!" M'da screamed.
It would have almost been laughable if it had not been so serious. This was our only ticket out of here, and it could be lost. Plus, Quinlan had had his mind set on getting off of this planet. I couldn't disappoint him one more time.
"Oh, never mind!" I heard Fenna shout from the other side of the windswept house. "Here's his cruiser, key in the ignition."
"What?" I ran to where she stood, just around a staircase. There was a secret door that opened into a garage, and there was the biggest, oldest clunker ship that I had ever wished to see.
"Holy Lazzen, it's, like, from the 1st division!" It had to be covered with 10 coats of rust from the built up sea salt.
"I know, but, it's good enough to fly you out of here." She paused, noticing my awe-stricken face. "Right, sister?"
"Oh my Vakyr. I guess that the first thing to do would be to go back and get Quinlan." I couldn't think of any other thing to do. I mean, it's bound to have problems, with the engine and maybe even the console. Although I had posed as a mechanic once or twice and even repaired a ship's engine in flight, I had no idea what to do.
"You stay here, sister. I'll bring back your other Jedi friend." Fenna patted me on the shoulder. "Want me to leave you M'da for company?"
"No!" I quickly refused. "I mean, you take him with you." I tried to give her a smile.
"Okay, sister. I'll run as fast as I can. Be back soon!" She shot back outside onto the beach.
"Jetti! Jetti!" M'da squeaked as she shot off across the beach.
""Okay, then." I walked closer to the junk ship. "Let's see what I can do for you, my friend." I took a few circles around it. Examining the rust and pieces that were on the floor around it. I clambered up, into the ship and was overjoyed to find a tool belt laid over the front seat. A note was attached.
'Fenna,' it read. 'if you can fix this clunker, it's yours. I have no need of it since my return to the world will be with an acquaintance of mine. Fix it and keep it.'
"I guess that clears a lot up." I undid the rusty screws that held together the broken communicator console. I wasn't surprised to see that all of the wiring inside had corroded and worn away. I strapped on the belt and tried to work on reconnecting the wires. The longer I worked the more my hands became covered with grease, salt and sand, and I soon realized that I would need a cloth or something to continue.
I went outside of the door, away from the ship and headed to the kitchen. I found an old rag and rinsed it off with the tap water. Hurrying back to the ship, I climbed back inside and continued working on the console. "Nice work, Jayzaa."
"Vos!" I spun around and faced him. "So glad you are here. I need help with the engine," I paused to throw him a wrench and a few pieces of mechanical hot wiring tools. "Go and get it running."
"Seems like you've got this under control." He mumbled as her ran towards the back of the ship. I had nearly finished cleaning off all of the damaged wires when suddenly, the panel exploded! A high voltage electric shock traveled up my arm as I quickly dropped the wires that I had been holding. "I got it working!" I head Vos shout from underneath the ship. "Engine repaired, mechanic."
I fell beck, leaning against the wall of the ship. "Tchah, aren't you supposed to warn me or something?" My arm changed to a light shade of purple. "Turn it off, Vos!" I hollered, sticking my head out the window.
"What! But I just got it working!" I saw him run to the side of the ship and look up at me. "I may not get it working again!"
"Master, which do you want; a working ship that you can't fly, or a flying ship with a broken engine?"
"Good point." Vos walked dejectedly back to the end of the ship. A few moments later, the engine shut off and I continued work. I had connected a few wires and moved around some pieces when I heard M'da chattering just outside of the ship.
"Come on in, Fenna! There's room for everyone." She climbed up the ladder and hopped into the cockpit with me.
"What are you doing, sister?" She asked, noticing the torn up console and the grease spots on my face.
"The ship's a piece of rubble, Fenna. I had to take apart the console just to get the gear in place."
"Ouch." She stared, wide eyed at the crusted over wires that hung outside of the dashboard. "You mean you want to put that whole thing back together?"
"Yes." I turned back to my work, determined to set up the whole board before she decided to leave. I picked up some clippers and snipped a corroded wire, pulling it out. Then, I started to connect things. Red, dusty copper wires to blue, Stintfoil wrappings and wires that looked similar.
In no time at all, I had single handedly pieced back together the entire console. I stuck my head back outside of the window. "Let's do this thing, Quinlan!"
I heard the engine start up as I quickly bolted the dash back into place. And then, to my surprise, the whole board lit up. It worked! "Hey, Queue! We've got a keeper!"
"Score 1 for Jayzaa!" I heard him holler from the back of the ship. "Let's get out of here!"
He sat down in the pilots' seat while I took the co-pilots'. I slipped on the headset and got buckled in. Fenna left the front of the ship and disembarked. "Fenna, you're not coming?"
"Nay, sister. I have my life made for me here. Why would I leave and give it up?"
"If you say so." I shrugged and waved goodbye. Vos fired up the engine and turned on the ignition. The cockpit closed as we lifted off the ground.
"Let's see what this clunker's still got in her." We were soon out of the atmosphere, on a bee-line for Coruscant, which towered right over us. "Another day, another mission." Master Vos rambled on.
"What about Tarra." I suddenly was nervous.
"What about Tarra?" Vos pushed a few buttons on the communicator.
"What will I tell the Council, Master? How can I tell them that I lost her."
"Well, you'll have your chance in just a minute," He smiled and shook his head. "Because I just hooked up to the temple's communicator."
"What!" Sure enough, I heard a gentle cracking over the line in my headset.
"Liner 211-770 requesting permission to land on your platform." Vos asked.
"Liner what?" A clone trooper's voice answered him. "Only Jedi craft are allowed to land here."
"Liner 211-770 is a Jedi craft, trooper." Quinlan addressed the clone. "Requesting dock 5."
"Granted." I saw a platform slide out from the main Hangar bay. In less than no time, we had landed on the ground.
Master Windu stood off to the side of our ship as we landed. His brown Jedi robe billowed majestically in the wind as our ship toughed down on the platform. "Here it comes." I rolled my green eyes. "I am going to get creamed."
"Take it easy, Aayla. Just stay calm and let me do the explaining." The cockpit opened as I jumped out of the ship, using the Force to break my fall.
"Jedi Knight Secura and Master Vos." His deep voice addressed us. "A pleasure to have you back with us. But, did I not send three Jedi on this mission? Where is Padawan Tarra?"
I took a step backwards, hiding my still discolored arm behind my back. Vos backed me up, sensing my discomfort. "We lost her on Moraga."
"You say that as though you have visited other planets, Master Vos." He was naturally inquisitive about our adventure. "I have called a High Council meeting immediately, Vos. You may tell us your story then." He led master Vos away, talking quietly about something.
'Aayla.' I heard a far away voice calling my name. As Vos followed Master Windu inside, I looked upward, towards the sky. 'I still hol