AN: I started this series of vignettes after someone (I can't remember who) made a comment about how humorous my ditzy characters are. I started thinking about how different it would be to write from the POV of a very methodical, very composed woman, and "Intuition" was born. Don't expect consistent updates, for Del's voice comes to me rarely. Perhaps that's saying something. Enjoy!
As a child, I always adored rainy days. The water, soaking through verdant bristles and staining the willow's bark a dark sienna tone; the air, smothering me with an overpowering sense of calm and serenity; the sky, mixing drab shades of blue and grey into an intriguing aesthetic arrangement. Despite my mother's protests that I would catch a deadly illness and suffer an excruciatingly painful death, nothing pleased me more than sitting outside in a damp field, watching drops combine with dirt to form a glorious mixture called mud. Spring showers were delightful.
Once I reached adulthood, I changed my opinion about many things: fashion, politics, food, entertainment, rainy days. As a carefree Adumari six-year-old, I only knew the benefits of storms. Ten years with New Republic Intelligence taught me that rain was usually also accompanied by lightning, thunder, uncontrollable gusts of wind, four-foot deep mud pits, electronic difficulties, and a general loss of order on Outer-Rim worlds. And believe me, I learned those lessons the hard way.
So when my boss gave me an assignment to pick up a rogue informant on some half-populated ball on the edges of Wild Space, I automatically checked the weather report first.
Usher: cool, temperate climate throughout the year. On a daily basis it has a 0.25% chance of rain, and 2% humidity. A lovely, fairly dry world with temperatures ranging from the low to mid 30s.
Someone should remind me to never believe Mon Calamari news again.
Within five minutes of arriving on the Force-forsaken globe, the spaceport owner informed me that Usher's largest storm in about 2500 years was about to descend upon its capital city, Roderick.
My informant's last known residence? Roderick.
By the time I arrived at Egaeus Ligeia's apartment building, the skies had literally torn apart. Water fell continuously, like precision shots, drenching my clothing, ruining my new leather boots, falling in droplets from my soaked hair to my chilled face, then trickling down the remaining centimeters to my unbelievably soggy tunic. The wind roared with dangerous intensity, 50-kmph blasts straining my attempts to keep my two feet planted on the ground. Diamond bolts flashed across the sky as I struggled to input the correct lock code. 17617791.
Nothing happened. I screamed, stamped my feet, cursed Ligeia's ancestors and immediate family as I quickly entered the code again. A faint whirring sound emerged from the lock; that was followed by the explosive grind of circuits inside the mechanism shorting out of existence. I was not pleased, to say the least.
Bitter water rushed down my face and obscured my vision. I could feel the weight of my long thick ponytail increasing by the second, and a furtive swipe of my hand across my face revealed that my waterproof makeup was in fact very conducive to H2O. The mirrored reflection of myself in a window's transparisteel pane confirmed my worst fears: I looked hideous. While most operatives aren't know for obsessing about their physical appearance, I actually minded what others saw when they looked at me, and spent precious money on expensive facial products and moisturizing crèmes. I may not have been as pretty as my flaky blonde cousin, one-time flame of Kyp Durron, but I made the most of my irregular features and weight problem and managed to look pretty damn good most of the time.
Not now, though. That horrid climate had chilled my tan face, so I looked like a distant relative of Lord Nyax with pale, slightly bluish skin. My bronzer was nonexistent, my eye shadow lost without a trace, and my mascara had run down my cheeks, leaving black crusty trails behind. Everything was messed up, disorderly…except my lipstick. Before Coruscant fell, "Infinite Wear" color gloss was discontinued so I bought 40 of them in deep blood red. The package had advertised 18-hour coverage in even the most awful weather conditions, and I guess it was true. Looking at my image, with dark, almost raven hair, unnaturally white complexion, jet eyes, sinister black facial markings, and full ruby lips, I couldn't help thinking of that Pekkie Blu and the Starboys song, "Sithy Woman."
I always knew I hated that tune.
I was fully absorbed in my hatred of this kriffin' mission when the door mysteriously slid open. I paused, droplets glistening on my hair and arms, and glanced around anxiously. Not a soul in sight. And the funny thing was that I couldn't recall entering the code again in the last five minutes. Shrugging it off as mere coincidence, I stepped carefully inside and took a look around.
My surroundings had definitely not improved. The overhead lights flickered sporadically; the walls were home to millions of mold cultures; the entire duracrete floor was drowned in six inches of murky water; the only remaining furniture was a decaying bench in the left corner; the ceiling oozed some filthy liquid every five seconds. But the thing that concerned me most was not the unsanitary environment, or the probably imminent loss of electricity. No, my dilemma was much worse than any of those things: both of the lifts were broken.
This was unexpected. Originally, I believed that all my mission required was for me to stop by a lovely planet, grab the informant, and leave for Mon Calamari. I hadn't planned for the difficulties I was now facing.
Repeated poundings on the doors yielded no results, and I noted with anxiousness that the water level in the room was rising as quickly as a seranca's metabolism. I began to wonder why I was in Intell in the first place, because it offered mediocre pay for someone of my experience and the crappiest assignments known to man. Was it the adrenaline high I experienced in life-or-death situations, or simply the fact that I couldn't do any other kind of work? I was more comfortable living as a fictional persona than I was as a real woman. Did that make me any less human?
Musings on my existence weren't going to make those doors open any faster. I was searching for my survival tool, hoping I'd be able to hotwire the lift into submission, when I heard the dull groaning of strained metal. Spinning, I almost fell over in surprise at the sight that awaited me.
The lift on the right was open, and emergency panels gleamed faintly. And that was when I began to realize that something was seriously wrong. Broken turbolifts don't just start working on their own; someone in this building, possibly Ligeia, or perhaps some total stranger, was leading me into a trap. I reached for my side holster, and was comforted by the reassuring metallic coolness of my blaster pistol. There was something funny going on, and I was not going to be caught unaware.
And as I stepped into the lift, I felt the soft brush of a presence, and heard the faint whispers of a voice, chanting a familiar melody. The sensation increased, goose bumps formed along my spine, but when I turned there was no one. The room was deserted.
Gathering my nerve, I pressed the button for the fourth floor and tried to ignore the riotous fears in my brain. If I really was in the middle of a game of Rancor-and-Womprat, I planned on being the fiercest kriffin' womprat imaginable. I pulled my blaster out, checked its charge, and braced myself for a standoff.
The lift doors opened, I leapt out, and found myself surrounded by…silence. No armed thugs hid in the shadows, no automatic blaster rifles peered from inside doorways. I paused to slow my breathing, and took some time to reflect on the situation. Either my opponent was stupid enough to not know a good ambush spot when he saw one, which was highly unlikely, or he had a bigger web spun somewhere up ahead. Personally, I was leaning towards the latter idea, which probably meant that the most critical moment would be when I walked into Ligeia's apartment. The Intelligence handbook stated "…in situations of genuine emergency, the agent should never do anything alone. One should always call for reinforcements first."
Well, screw the rules. Besides, I've always believed that the handbook is only a collection of guidelines, merely some helpful suggestions.
I crept forward, my right hand visibly trembling as I approached Room 4351. The moldy tiles squeaked as I put my weight on them, but I no longer cared. The sooner I finished this job, the sooner I could be somewhere with civilization. I was carried along by my false bravado for a few seconds, buoyed up on artificial confidence. I was perfectly fine.
Then it happened again: the touch of someone else, another consciousness. I halted, too frightened to take another step, and all my courage melted away like snow in the tropics. And flitting somewhere in negative space, moving like a restless wind, was that disembodied voice, humming a tune that I could not for the life of me recall. The owner of said vocal cords was male, neither tenor nor bass, but with a middling range; the hummer also possessed no sense of proper pitch. The song floated around me, taunting, prompting, daring me to go further. I clamped my eyes shut, and tried to think clearly. I had to get Ligeia. My job depended on this mission, and I wasn't about to let any mystical nonsense get in the way of my career and me.
Wrapping my finger tighter around my blaster's trigger, I rushed forward, input Ligeia's code, then ran into the apartment faster than you could say "Halbegardia City." The mysterious, unseen thing seemed to push me towards the left, so against my better judgment I headed towards that area, dropped into a crouch, and brought up my pistol to shoot…
Only to be utterly bewildered by the scene laid before me. A pale, smallish man, who looked incredibly like Egaeus Ligeia, was sitting on the floor, wrists locked in cuffs and mouth covered by a strip of engine tape, and his weary eyes seemed to be pleading for release. But Ligeia wasn't the sole occupant of the room. Stretched out on a ratty sofa, a black cloak wrapped around his lanky frame and a Corellian pastry in his sticky hands, was a man I knew quite well. Too well. His hair had more grey strands among the black than last time, but everything else was as I remembered: the dark, fringed eyes, the sharp, yet still handsome features, the wry grin. I stood, stalked towards him, and frowned.
"Kyp Durron. What a pleasant surprise."
He looked hurt by my biting tone, but still smiled. "Delila, the pleasure is all mine. Please, have a seat."
I remained standing. "What are you doing here? This was my assignment."
"Well, you know I told Jule that I'd do anything for her or her family. I was on Usher to get some repairs for my X-wing, when I ran into this fellow in the market, overheard some traitorous conversations, and decided to get him and wait for the token Intelligence agent to show up. I had a feeling it'd be you."
"Thank you for your help, but I didn't need it."
He looked so amused that I seriously considered throttling him; after a few seconds of consideration, though, I realized that with a Jedi that wouldn't be too wise. He continued. "Really? You felt pretty panicky down below."
"That was you? Opening doors, scaring the krell out of me?"
"Of course. I couldn't resist having a little fun with a friend."
"Acquaintance," I corrected. "You're no friend of mine."
He winked. "How rude. I would have expected better from an Adumari. But then again, you are a Sithy woman."
My temper flared. That was the song! If looks could kill, I was cutting him up into microscopic pieces and feeding the bits to his mother. "Shut up."
He started singing, a memory that I've tried to erase. "Raven hair and ruby lips, sparks fly from her fingertips. Echoed voices in the night, she's a restless spirit on an endless flight."
Those brown eyes glimmered evilly. "Ooo, Sithy woman, see how high she flies. Ooo, Sithy woman, she's got the moon in her eyes!"
I strode forward and did something that will forever be recorded in history: I, Delila Gaela Fionnuala ke Blaec, slapped Jedi Master Kyp Durron.
And life never felt so good.