Disclaimer: It's George's galaxy. I just created my own little alternative universe sandbox to play in. :)
AN: Welcome to the next Forever Destined Vignette; the 8th one to be exact. I hope you enjoy all that's in store. As always, please review and let me know what you think. :)
The Malastarian slums bustled with daily activity. Much like the slums of Coruscant or Bespin, they were a haven for shadier characters, usually involved on the wrong side of the law. Tatooine was known for its gangster family, the Hutts, which controlled most of the planet. Malastare had its own Crime Lord. The Dug, known as Sebolto, controlled most of the business in the slums, including the Cantinas, where he ran a profitable gambling ring and slave/prostitution ring. He also ran a massive death stick and spice manufacturing planet in the volcanic region. As expected and as with most crime rings, Sebolto's operation was just one of many branches, ultimately run by the De'reux family. After being arrested again a year ago by the Jedi for the kidnaping and attempted murder of Senator Skywalker, they had been sent to the Jedi prison on Bandomeer to prevent their escape, for the Jedi could not be bribed with their credits. Since then, the De'reux organization was being run by Kyla De'reux, Xalazar's oldest daughter by his long dead first wife. She was known to be as ruthless as her father, but so far had not taken an interest in the operations on Malastare. Therefore, Sebolto had been enjoying a little more freedom to do things as he wished. He was making a killing now in the smuggling business, now that Xalazar wasn't taking half his cut. He smirked, as he watched the ship land behind his busiest establishment. Riley Zander walked down the ramp with his usual confident air, lugging a large case behind him.
"Well Zander, I must say you've managed to impress me. Many wonder how you managed to escape the Jedi's capture when the De'reux's could not," Sebolto said.
"I have my ways of keeping my own hands clean," Riley replied, as he opened the case, revealing it to be full of jewelry.
"Besides, what do you care, as long as you get your goods," Riley replied. Sebolto smirked evilly.
"Well done Zander. You're worth your price," the Dug hissed.
"Then pay me already, so I can go buy a drink," he said. Sebolto handed him a credit chip.
"You'll find the amount agreed upon is correct," Sebolto said. Riley pulled up the balance data on the chip and found that it matched. He smirked.
"Pleasure doing business with ya," Riley replied.
"You know Zander. I have a new group of slaves I need smuggled to Tatooine. They're for Gardulla's brothel. The pay is twenty thousand," Sebolto tempted.
"I smuggle goods, not people," Riley refused.
"You're turning down twenty thousand? I though you were smart," Sebolto sneered.
"I told ya, I smuggle goods, not people," Riley repeated testily. Sebolto laughed at him.
"You never had a problem in the past. Since when did you grow a set of morals?" Sebolto questioned.
"Things change. Now, if you got any goods, I'll be happy to transport them for you," Riley replied.
"I got a shipment of death sticks that I need delivered to the Docks on Coruscant. Can you have it there by tomorrow evening?" he asked. Riley smirked.
"For the right price, in advance of course," Riley replied.
"Of course. Five thousand," Sebolto said.
"Ten," Riley demanded.
"Six," Sebolto refuted.
"Seven and a case of death sticks for myself," Riley smirked.
"Fine," Sebolto growled, as he stuffed the credits into his palm.
"I'll have the shipment loaded into your ship," Sebolto said.
"Like I said, pleasure doing business with you," Riley said, as he turned to enter the Cantina.
"Filthy Dug," he mumbled, as he headed for the bar...
Admiral Leonia Tavira, Sate Pestage's replacement, stood on the bridge of the strange, undiscovered planet. She had resided there for the last year. These people, employed and protected by the Sith to realize the Master's dream of Galactic domination were very unusual, as she had observed in her time here. The rest of the galaxy wasn't even aware of their existence. They were a race of geniuses and brilliant engineers. The technology they possessed and wielded was mind boggling. They were human, but their isolation had deformed them into a strange looking breed. Their planet had died centuries ago when the closest sun experienced a super nova, thus dying as well. But their vast technology preserved it artificially. It had oceans, wilderness, beaches, mountains, cities, and most of the natural and manmade beauties like planets such as Alderaan and Naboo had. But their was nothing natural about it, for everything down to the very core of the planet was now artificial. A reactor of absolutely massive proportions existed in the once dead core of the planet. It provided the climate and atmosphere control for the planet, but its toxins had adverse effects on the people in the form of odd birth defects and physical deformations. These people called themselves Xalrynites of the planet Xalryn. She had been told that Xalryn, in the ancient Sith language meant pure blood. And like the Sith, they believed themselves to be destined to rule the galaxy. They believed that the Republic and the Jedi alike were a disease and needed to be exterminated. The Master had promised them greatness if they helped the Sith, their descendants, realize the dreams of Imperial Rule, though Tavira knew that the Master would be the true ruler. The Xalrynites were a means to the Master's goal. They would remain under the Sith control or they would be destroyed. Leonia smirked. They were powerful in the sense of technology, but physically weak, as their planet's unnatural state had led to unfortunate deformities. Those that lived outside this planet did not suffer from the same deformities and those that remained on Xalryn relied on them to procreate, for the women that remained on this planet were barren. A Xalryn native to the planet was a strange breed of humans of the likes which Tavira had never seen, as their technology, specifically the toxins from the reactor that sustained the planet's life, had contaminated their genetic development. They were not very pleasant to look at, yet their vast technology was too impressive not to command respect. Their physical limitations were a small price to pay for virtually having the power to hold the galaxy in the palm of their bony hands.
"Admiral Tavira, we are ready to test the warp passageway again," a small man said. He was the second in command of the Xalryn people, only outranked by the Xalryn's elder King.
"Very well, Commander Calmek. I hope you provide better results than the last attempt," she said, as she followed him. Most of the people were no taller than five feet five inches, as their growth was horribly stunted by the unnatural surroundings. Calmek was a litter taller than some, at five feet seven inches. He bore the common deformities of his people. His ears were pointed and his head was sparsely covered by black hair, which he was quickly losing, as most of his species did. His eyes were sunken, another common trait among his kind, and were a sickly, cloudy green color. And like most, he was rail thin. He wore a Xalryn military uniform, which was light blue in color, with a dark blue cape. Many of the other people in the facility wore either uniforms like him, only in red or green, or white lab coats, signifying their importance as scientists, engineers, doctors, or technicians. Calmek lead the Admiral to the observation deck, where several of his subordinates worked diligently. Outside the massive view window was the sky.
"We have sent another test ship out, operated by one of our androids. We are hoping to stabilize the passageway and deem it safe for travel," Calmek said, as he nodded to the engineer on his right. The female, just as deformed as the other males of this race, began turning knobs and activating switches. Tavira watched through her zooming scanner with the others, as they observed what was happening outside the atmosphere in space, where their instruments and satellites had been activated. The massive devices began to spark with lightning-like beams of energy. The device swirled the vastness of open space unnaturally and the entire planet shook violently.
"Stabilize," Calmek ordered. The person to his left obeyed his command, as his nimble fingers moved over the controls. Tavira watched, as the ship entered the warp hole, which if successful, would spit the ship out in the Outer Rim territories. The planet of Xalyrn was a three hundred and forty nine day journey to reach just the Outer Rim and therefore, the Master had ordered that they develop this shortcut.
"Commander, the warp is unstable," the female engineer said.
"Then Stabilize it. Increase power!" he ordered. She did so and the whole facility shook violently, as the controls began to short circuit, electrocuting one of the men. But Calmek, cold and calculating, paid the unfortunate soul no mind, just as Tavira ignored the person's suffering as well. Tavira watched, as the warp literally ripped the ship to pieces, obliterating it. Calmek sighed in disappointment.
"Close the warp. Cease functions," he ordered. They obeyed and he turned to the Admiral.
"Disrupting and manipulating space and time are a delicate thing. We need more time to perfect the operation if we are to make it safe for travel," Calmek said.
"The Master will be most displeased. They want that warp, so they may travel back and forth relatively quickly," Tavira said.
"We will double our efforts," Calmek promised.
"See that you do, Commander or the consequences will be severe," Tavira promised as well.
"I understand," Calmek replied. With that, Admiral Tavira stalked off angrily.
Riley sipped at his Corellian brandy, as he felt a sound slap on his shoulder.
"There you are, Zander," Nate Jansen said, as he came beside him. He and Nate had been partners on and off since for the last twenty years or so. Riley used to consider him a friend, but since he discovered his daughter, he had questioned the company he kept with great scrutiny. Nate was ruthless and also a sick degenerate, as well as a rapist, who preferred terrorizing young women. Riley had slept around, but had never taken an unwilling partner or any kids. Nate had no type of conscience though and was unhindered by any sort of morals. Riley had spent the better part of the last year taking jobs on Coruscant, in order to see his baby girl more. They were growing very close. And the more time he spent with his little sweetness, the more Nate disgusted him.
"You know, I heard you just turned down twenty thousand. Sebolto gave the job to me. What gives, pal?" he asked.
"Just doesn't feel right. Those kids don't deserve the fate that awaits them," Riley said, as he downed the last of his brandy.
"You always were a sap, Zander. Can't believe you're turning down all those credits and the chance to bang some of them on the way to Tatooine," Nate said.
"Well I, unlike you, am not a baby raper," Riley spat back.
"You don't know what you're missing. See that pretty thing on stage?" Nate asked. Riley looked to the young female stripper on stage. His heart lurched and he swallowed the bile in his throat. She was a young brunette beauty, petite, with doe brown eyes. She resembled his daughter, as most of these poor young girls seemed to now, whether they were blonde or brunette, tall or short. Each of these girls was someone's baby. Before Padme, he had ignored their suffering, but it was becoming increasingly hard to do so.
"Stang Nate, she's just a kid," he said in disgust.
"I know. Seventeen. I'm gonna take her in back. Wanna come get some action?" he asked. Riley was about to let him have it, when a woman's voice interrupted.
"Why would Riley need to screw a girl, when he can have a woman?" a female voice asked. Riley looked up to see a hardened, raven haired beauty with green eyes. She was about his age and another one of his on and off again partners.
"Sydney Spark, long time no see, baby," Nate said, stumbling toward her.
"Touch me and I'll gut you," she replied.
"Feisty as ever. I'll leave you two alone, while I go get me some," Nate said, stumbling off. Riley finished his drink and stood up.
"Well, I'd love to stay, but I can't," he said, as he tossed a few credits down.
"Since when do you like Coruscant? You've been spending a lot of time there," she questioned.
"The money's good," he replied, as he started toward the exit.
"So it seems. How about a goodbye for old times sake?" she asked.
"That's probably not such a good idea," he replied. She smoothed her hands along his chest.
"I think it's an excellent idea," she replied. He smirked.
"You got a room here?" he asked.
"Follow me," she replied, as she led him into the back hallway. But the sight in the hallway snapped him back to reality and changed everything, as he saw red. Nate had the young girl he had pointed out pressed against the wall, raping her
"Sith Nate, can't you find a room to do that," Sydney cursed. The fact that what was happening to the girl didn't bother her, greatly disturbed Riley.
"You comin' Riles?" she asked. He mustered a fake smile.
"I'll be along in a sec," he said, as he watched her retreat into the next room. The young girl sobbed and trembled in fear.
"Such a good little whore," Nate spat, as he turned her around, pressing her face down against the wall.
"Gardulla's gonna pay me a fine price for you. She'll be selling you for a pretty price. You'll be an expensive date," he hissed.
"Hey pal, change your mind? She's great. Go ahead and take a shot. I'm takin' her back to my ship. I invited a few of the guys for the party. We're gonna have lots of fun, ain't we sweet thing," he hissed. She whimpered, as he pressed himself against her. Suddenly, Riley's fist was embedded into the back of his neck and he fell unconscious to the dirty floor. The frightened young woman trembled and shied away from him.
"I ain't gonna hurt you, honey," he said, turning away.
"I'm heading for the space port. I'm gonna put you on a transport for Naboo. They got a shelter there in Theed for girls like you. They'll help you," he said. She looked like she didn't believe him.
"Hurry up and straighten your clothes. This ain't no joke," he said, still turned away so she could dress.
"Why...are you helping me?" she asked when she was finished. Riley's thoughts locked on Padme.
"That ain't important really. Let's go," he said. Riley put the girl on a transport headed for Naboo, before boarding his ship and heading for Coruscant. He knew he blew off Sydney, but she too, like Nate, were a part of his past that he never wanted Padme to come in contact with. He was more than willing to choose his baby girl over those low life scums...
"Senator Skywalker, I implore you to look over the proposal with great scrutiny," the aging male Senator said, over the holocom.
"I have reviewed your proposal with careful consideration, Senator Martin and I believe this course of action will not be beneficial to anyone but you or your constituents. Good day, Senator," Padme said, as she switched off the comm screen. She truly tired of dealing with the slime of the Senate at times. They were supposed to be there to help people, not to line their pockets. Her comm beeped again and she suppressed a groan.
"Yes Ellie?" she asked.
"Lunch has been delivered, milady," Ellie said.
"I didn't order lunch," Padme replied in confusion.
"No, but I did," Anakin said, as he waltzed through the door, carrying two sacks of take out food.
"Direct from Dex's and piping hot, milady," he said, with a contagious grin. She leapt up and gave him a soft kiss in greeting.
"How did you know that I needed a break, my handsome husband?" she asked playfully.
"I always know what my sweet angel needs," he whispered huskily, as he captured her lips in a passionate kiss.
"You do indeed, Master Jedi," she replied, as they sat down to eat.
An hour later...
Anakin fed her another bite of desert, as her back lay propped up against the arm of the plush sofa in her office. The bulky skirt of her Senatorial gown was bunched up around her knees, as her legs rested in her husband's lap. She knew her comm, which she had muted, was blinking like crazy with messages galore piling up. But she didn't care who they were or what they wanted. She skipped lunch far too often and was content today to enjoy a much extended lunch hour with the man that owned her heart and soul.
"Mmm...this is so good," she said, as she devoured the next bite of the sinfully chocolate cake her husband was feeding her.
"It is good. Dex outdid himself on this one," Anakin replied, as he took a bite too. They finished desert and Padme kissed his cheek.
"Thank you sweetheart. This was just what I needed," she said.
"Me too," he replied, as he kissed her softly.
"I've been thinking lately about our up and coming tenth anniversary in a couple weeks," he mentioned.
"I know. Can you believe it? They've been the ten most wonderful years of my life," she said softly.
"Mine too angel. And that's why I thought we should do something spectacular to celebrate," he said. She smiled.
"Do you have something in mind?" she asked.
"As a matter of fact, I do," he replied, with a smile.
"Well, are you going to tell me or do I have to coax it out of you?" she asked playfully. He smirked.
"I could go for a little...coaxing," he replied, wriggling his eyebrows at her. She giggled, as he pulled her into his lap and claimed her lips. Padme let herself melt against him, as pure joy filled her and the sensation of her husband's gorgeous, full lips kissed her with wanton. She shifted and straddled her knees on either side of his hips, bunching her dress up around her thighs. She resumed kissing him with aggressive passion, as their lips and tongues dueled for control.
"I love you so much," she said, as she pressed her forehead against his.
"I love you too. And that's why I think that for our tenth anniversary we should renew our wedding vows," he told her. She looked at him in surprise.
"Really?" she asked.
"I can't think of anything better to celebrate our love and devotion than that. Plus, it would give you the opportunity to have your real father walk you down the aisle," Anakin said.
"Oh Ani..." she said, as she hugged him tightly. He smiled playfully.
"So, is that a yes? Will you marry me again?" he asked. She smiled brightly.
"Nothing would make me happier," she replied.
"Oh, I think I might have something, because renewing our vows is only part of your anniversary present," he said.
"You're spoiling me, my love," she chided.
"It's what I live for," he replied, as he handed her a brochure. Curiously, she began looking through the pamphlet.
"Ani...this is wonderful," she said, as she continued to look through it.
"Since our first honeymoon was cut short, because I had to leave for the war, I thought this would be perfect for us. We haven't gone away together, just the two of us for more than a weekend ever before. So, for two whole weeks, we're going to be taking a Galactic cruise," he announced.
"Oh Ani...this is absolutely wonderful!" she exclaimed, as she hugged and kissed him. He chuckled, as he watched her continue to look through the brochure.
"This ship is huge," she mentioned.
"Yep, it has everything. Not to mention it stops at all the tourist hot spots in the core and mid rim. I also just happened to book us the most expensive and lavish executive suite on board," Anakin said.
"I can't wait. This is going to be amazing. A second honeymoon is exactly what we need. Thank you, my love," she said, as she kissed him tenderly.
"Anything for you, my star nymph," he replied, as he kissed her again.
"I'm due to spar Obi-Wan soon, so I better get going. You know how cranky he gets when I'm late," Anakin said.
"Yes. And I, unfortunately, have to meeting to attend soon. But I'll see you at home later and we can pick up where we left off," she said, giving him a sultry smile.
"I'm going to hold you to that," he replied. She kissed him passionately.
"You better, handsome," she replied, as she watched him leave. Renewed and refreshed from her romantic lunch with her husband, she returned to work, anxious for the day to go by, so she could go home to her beautiful family...
In the next chapter, Riley arrives on Coruscant to see Padme after he makes his delivery for Sebolto. But how long can Riley keep his career life of a smuggler separate from his personal life he is building with his daughter and her family?