'We're going to die, you know', He remarked conversationally.

"Doesn't everyone?" she replied.

He rolled her eyes. 'I mean in the very near future.'

"Proximity is relative, Zaalbar," He made a little growl of exasperation, and she smirked without looking up from what she was doing.

'Far closer than I'm comfortable with. Am I making myself clear?' How the hell could she joke at a time like this?

"Crystal. I'll get us out of here, you'll see." She continued to fiddle with the lock.

'Well, seeing as you got us into this mess…'

"Hey! How is this my fault?"

'You led us into a trap that a suckling cub would have seen-'

"You followed me. What does that make you?"

'I-'

"Besides, when was the last time Gammorean slavers did anything clever, anyway? Hey, door's open."

And with that Mission slipped through the newly sliced doorway. With a small snuffling sigh that sounded to the untrained observed like the call of an immature rancor, Zaalbar followed.

///PageBreak\\\

This had all started because Mission was completely incapable of understanding the meaning of the word 'dangerous'. Or it's common synonym, Sith.

Zaalbar may be starving whenever he enters the cantina, but he isn't blind deaf or dumb. Normally at least one holo is tuned to the news, and all the news concerning the Sith had been bad bad bad. It seemed to him that they were the Czerka slavers of the galaxy. The fact that Czerka had allied itself with them hadn't helped his opinion much.

The invasion had been loud, mostly. The Lower City was too far down to actually see the light show, but a piece of a Republic cruiser crashed into Benita's apartment, and that was all the evidence anyone needed about who was winning the battle above.

There were several ways people responded to the leadership of Taris changing hands. Gadon tried to use the threat on an impending crackdown to try and repair the rift between the Vulkars and the Hidden Beks. Calo Nord begins working for Davik Kang. Kang raises his rates for everything and anything he has to lend out.

Mission, despite the fact that she knew what was going on, probably knew more about things than he did, continued to go about her life as oblivious as a krinath in heat.

It still surprised him, however, when she started packing up her gear less than a week after the Sith officially took control of Taris.

'Are you mad?' he asked.

"Nope. What's there to be angry about?"

Humans do something when they're frustrated be another being's supposed thickness; they slap themselves on the forehead. For a brief moment, Zaalbar almost understood why.

'Mission, the Sith are patrolling everywhere-'

"Please. Why would the Sith bother with the Undercity?"

'You know very well why! Zaalbar roared. Looking for Republic escape pods!'

"And do you really think they're going to find much of anything?" she huffed. "What with them stomping around in those tin cans and attracting rakghouls at every turn, they'll be lucky if any of their patrols return."

'What are you planning, Mission?'

"Nothing."

'Mission…'

"Really!" she huffed. "All I'm saying is that it'd take someone sneaky to get past everything and actually find the things."

She then activated her stealth field generator.

Zaalbar groaned.

"Hey," Mission's disembodied voice called out. "You coming or not?"

This would be how the pair of them found themselves running for their lives through the sewers.

For reasons that weren't very apparent, the grate had been left open. Mission had thought that any Republic officer of reasonable intelligence would go down them to take cover, so he had (reluctantly) followed her down into the sewage system.

Although they had yet to find a trace of the Republic officers, they had found plenty of rakghouls.

And Gammoreans.

Said slavers may not be the sturdiest trees in the woods, but the were sentient creatures. And thus capable of setting a trap. Fortunately, they were still at the thin end of the branch, and the idea that Mission could slice the lock didn't seem to occur.

Unfortunately, once they had discovered this fact, they didn't seem all that deterred by it, and quickly reverted to their normal tactics of charging in with axes swinging.

"Left," Mission muttered, darting in said direction. "Right. Left. And left again…"

They were running in the direction of a little used-but-still-just-barely-serviceable exit, one that came up on the far side of the sewers. It would mean that they'd spend more time out in the open on the surface than he'd ordinarily tolerate, but beggars (or fugitives) couldn't be choosers, so…

"Left."

'No, Mission, it's right!' Zaalbar growled. Mission stopped, and began to run back, but stopped abruptly.

"Big Z! Beind you!" she screamed.

He wheeled around, just in time the dodge out of the way of a slaver's ax. He roared, bringing his bowcaster up to bear.

Battle did strange things to a Wook. As a species they had extremely keen senses of hearing, smell and taste; they also managed to mostly tune such things out when removed from their native environment. But fighting, adrenaline, brought it all back.

So when the slaver fell, he didn't just hear the dull thud of the body as it hit the floor below. He heard the snorting of half a dozen of his kin in the next room over.

Hell, he could smell them.

'Mission,' Zaalbar said quietly. 'The way to the exit is to the right!'

"Yeah, I heard you the first-"

The Gammoreans burst out of the room.

'Mission run!' Zaalbar cried.

"Big Z!"

'Run!' he ordered.

The sight of her retreating form was the last thing he was aware of for awhile.