It didn't look like the Wookiees needed much help. On some level, I think it was always easier to fight in a ship, because you didn't have to see the enemy's face. The degree of intimacy it took for a person to slice through another with a vibrosword was harrowing.

Shooting them with my blaster didn't make them any less dead, I just didn't have to look them in the eyes when I did it.

To listen to the Wookiees' shrieks and battle cries was an experience. To hear that, on top of watching the flash of Rian and Juhani's lightsabers almost made me want to head back to the Hawk and pour myself a drink. What was one man compared to Jedi and an enraged village worth of Wookiees? I was just thankful they were on my side.

I ran down the wooden platform after the Jedi and threw my body into the railing, behind a supply cannister for cover. The sting of splinters in my hand was a distraction from the potential death a few meters away.

It was bizarre. I hoped Mission was okay, but there were more important things to concentrate on for the moment. Like being thankful that both the power cells to my blasters were fully charged.

The precarious dodging of blasterfire was expected, but I'll admit, ducking under a body tossed screaming over the railing was something new.

To humans in Czerka, the Wookiees probably began to blur into each other, so I stayed in the back to provide cover for the more obvious targets like Rian and Juhani. I managed to take out three before Czerka realized there was a blaster on the enemy side. Of course, maybe they were just more focused on the light show exploding out of Rian. Jedi weren't supposed to do that, were they? I never heard about a Jedi turning into a walking power conduit complete with sparks flying. It made my guts knot.

Juhani's movements seemed stiff as she kept one eye on Rian. It didn't do much for my mood. After the Cathar pulled me aside in the Shadowlands to whisper, "If you treat a child like a child, she will behave like a child," I couldn't decide whether I was relieved that another person, a Jedi no less, agreed with me or if the fact that it was a Jedi admitting the faults of another Jedi meant something horrific.

I'd have to talk to Rian later. Well, I'd try to talk. Talking seemed to inexplicably turn into a screaming match with that woman. At any rate, if I didn't get killed by Czerka and if she didn't decide to become reigning Sith Lord of Kashyyyk, I would try to talk to her.

The outside of the Czerka compound was trashed. Supply canisters were looted, garbage bins were overturned and sirens blared in my ears. Rian seemed hellbent on taking out all the scattered guards outside of the compound, so she either didn't see or ignored the blasterfire coming from within.

The sharp shooter from inside the compound took out two Wookiees and then cast his aim for Juhani. The Jedi woman managed to deflect the blaster shots with her lightsaber before she moved on after Rian. Leaving even one armed man inside the Czerka Headquarters was one loose end that I didn't want to risk. I crept inside and salvaged any shred of protection I could find.

Crouched behind what little cover a footlocker and a dead Ithorian could provide, I pointed my blasters at the desk and waited. I think I held my breath for the silence of it, but my heart pounded in my ears to spite me. It took a small eternity to catch the change in shadows, a quick flash of body armor to know that the sniper was moving. I fired.

"Son of a bitch!"

Something about the way the other man stressed his vowels startled me. A Telosian accent. The list of slurs he rattled off about my mother was also unsettling in its familiarity.

I swallowed. "Jordo?"

"Huh?" The other man coughed. "Please tell me you're here for the Wookiees and not because of my ex-wife."

"It's me, Jordo," I called out. "Carth."

"Onasi?" Jordo laughed. "You phoqing shot me, murglak. One hell of a reunion."

"Yeah, I guess I did." I raked a hand through my hair as I crept forward. "I didn't get you too bad, I hope. What are you doing with Czerka?"

"A job's a job," Jordo replied. "Not the best work, as I'm sure you can see, but the paycheck's steady."

I rounded the desk and found Jordo sprawled out on his back. The Jordo I remembered had more hair, but that had also been six years ago. "A little dangerous?" I asked.

"Aside from the occasional blaster shot to the back, it's mostly paper pushing," Jordo said. "You mind checking to see if I'm going to die, pal?"

"Yeah, sure." I rolled him over and winced when Jordo hissed.

The armor plating had melted away where the blaster bolt had hit. The skin beneath was red and peeling, but nothing serious. "You've got some good armor, Phenn," I murmured.

Jordo chuckled. "That or your aim's not as good as you'd like to think."

"You want me to shoot you again just to be certain?"

"Well, since you asked," Jordo snorted. "No."

"So, ex-wife," I said. I pulled out a medpac from the sack on my hip and stabbed it into his arm. "I thought you and Amina were stuck with each other forever."

Jordo sucked in a deep breath as the kolto worked its magic. "No. I didn't mean Amina. She was on Telos, when, you know."

"Oh." I cleared my throat. "No. I didn't know. I'm sorry."

Jordo shrugged. "It's alright. I heard about Morgana–"




It was too quiet. Outside, it sounded like the firefight was dying down. Jordo tapped the ground impatiently. "No, Astraal's the ex-wife."

"Astraal?" I tried not to laugh. "No offense, Jordo, but that kind of sounds like a stripper's name."

"Yeah, believe me, she looked it, too." Jordo smirked. "That's why we hooked up in the first place. But that's ancient history, unless someone comes around with a stun stick screaming about alimony."

"Ouch," I said.

"Tell me about it," he replied. "But enough about that. You don't happen to have a ride off planet since this place decided to become a war zone?"

"Yeah, back at the docks," I said. "I think we're headed to Tatooine or Korriban or something. I'm not really sure."

"Oh?" Jordo stood up and brushed himself off. "You going to see your boy?"

I felt too warm. Heat pounded at my throat and face. I think my hands tried to smooth down the flap to the sack on my hip, but were too busy shaking to accomplish anything. "What?"

"You didn't know?" Jordo blinked. "Dustil's on Korriban."