Chapter 1: Exile Style
a certain sartorial eloquence
And a style that's almost of your own
You've got the knack of being so laid-back
It's like talking to the great unknown
He wretched as kolto fluid emptied from his lungs. He heaved until pure air was sucked through his flared nostrils and then he fell back weakly. The thick fluid had straightened the curls in his long, dark hair and clung to his eyelashes. He wiped it away and crawled to his feet, swaying, looking down in consternation at what he was wearing. What the hell? It consisted of skimpy shorts and a T-shirt that, in nobody's estimation, was meant to stretch across his muscular chest. And, were those red tennis shoes?
He glanced about the place, shaking his head in total confusion. Where was he? There were kolto tanks and since one was empty he figured it had been his, but who were the others? He placed his hands on the perma-glass tank and pressed his face close, trying to distinguish the features, to see if he recognized anybody. Nobody looked familiar; they all looked dead.
He remembered vaguely hearing a voice, like the droning of a very old and senile bee inside his head, so there must be somebody else—someone who had spoken to him. He looked for and found a refresher and showered off the kolto. He pulled his long hair into a pony tail and used some frayed threads from the bottom of the T-shirt to tie it out of his way. No matter where he went, he could not find his clothes and he knew he would never have been caught dead in this outfit!
He hacked into a medical computer, catching up on his condition and confirming the others were dead. He scratched his head, muttering to himself. The door to the morgue was easy to open, so he wandered in there and looked through the canisters, hoping to find some clothes or a weapon.
Instead he found a horribly burned body which meant he could not use the poor man's clothes, although the man was still clutching a cutting torch and beside the bed was an RPG rucksack. He was relieved to see it because that meant he would be able to put everything he found, regardless of the size and weight, inside it. They were much better than shopping carts because those things always had those woogety wheels He took the rucksack and put the cutting torch inside.
He was just pulling the cover off the end of the bed to see if the man was wearing any decent footwear close to his size, when a voice that sounded like it came from something rotten and putrid and older than dirt, came from behind him. He grabbed the torch and activated it.
There was a howl of pure disgust as an old, wrinkled scow of a woman moved back rapidly so her face would not be burned off.
"Watch it, you idiot!" She had something seriously wrong with her eyes. They were white and they made him shudder. Her face looked like a farmer's tractor on Dantooine had plowed rows of wrinkles into the parched skin. She must have the old lady chin syndrome because she had something wrapped about her neck to hide the double, maybe even triple chins, or perhaps, it was there to secure her neck to her shrunken shoulders. She wore a hooded long brown robe.
"Sorry, but you really should not sneak up on someone like that." He would only apologize once and it was out of pure politeness, because that was part of his make-up—being polite to women—if she qualified as a woman. Being polite to a hag might fall under a different set of rules.
"I am Kreia and I am your rescuer as you are mine."
His brows rose into his hairline. What does that mean? "I am Exile Cal I'bur, but you can call me Cal."
"That is a ridiculous name! I shall call you Exile."
"Whatever flicks your lightsaber."
"Ah, you recognize me, as you should—you recognize one of your own."
He held up both hands. "Okay, ya got me. I was a Jedi, but I was exiled. You seem to know a lot about me whereas I know next to nothing about you. Why don't we have a little chat, you and I."
"We do not have time to, as you say, chat." And she proceeded to tell him how he'd gotten on Peragus and that he was considered the last Jedi and the Sith were after him to snuff him out so there would be no more Jedi left.
This, needless to say, made Cal a little sad and pissed him off. Someone very dear to him had been a Jedi and if she was dead he could not bear to think of losing her, so he listened to the old woman drone on and on, wondering if he'd get any extra points for it. So, he was given the thankless task of locating a ship, weapons and clothes, in that order and she was going to stay behind and meditate?!
Cal muttered in several languages as he stumbled into psycho droids that tried to poison or fry him or shoot him as he navigated the administration level of the place. He found a stealth belt and wished he had skill, but it just meant he'd have to fight more of the droids. He put it in the RPG bag and moved on. The holovid he'd viewed of the security officer had helped him discover a way to deactivate them. He held the torch in one hand and a vibro-blade he'd recovered from a grotesquely burned body, in the other.
He was in the middle of a fight with three of them, taking some hits and cursing at the top of his lungs, when Kreia's voice went off in his head like the timer on a microwave. Beep beep beep—Ah, it is the Force you feel…
"No, lady, it's frackin' pain from laser burns!" He yelped when one of the droids got past his guard and its laser singed his leg.
:: Beep beep beep-let me guide you down the familiar paths. You will need it if we are to escape this place.::
"Fine," he said, blowing out a gust of air as he slashed down with his vibroblade. He ducked when a part of the droid flew over his head and the thing exploded. He rolled to the side, flinging his hands up to shield his eyes.
:: Beep—Come on, Exile! It is time for you to feel the Force! Beep::
Sonava---! Cal kicked when the other two droids advanced on him, sending one into the other. They weren't programmed to be smart because the one droid shot the other and when the last one turned back to him, Cal stabbed the cutting torch into the main programming panel and shorted it out. He stood, panting and wiped sweat from his brow. If he kept this up much longer he'd need another shower.
:: Beep, beep beep… I am not going to say this again, Exile, it is time! ::
"All right, already, sheesh! " He raised his hands in defeat. "I really don't want it back, but I guess it could come in handy. How do I…?"
:: Beep…Done! ::
Cal took a deep breath, exploring his feelings, sending out tendrils like he used to and met with a wall of confusion. "Are you kidding?! All I have is stun droid?!" He waggled his fingers and saw a tiny spark issue from the tips. "Talk about stingy," he muttered.
:: Beep…I heard that. ::
"I meant for you to." He sighed.
He finally made it into the administration hub and streaked across the floor, avoiding the fire from about fifty droids. He hit the switch under the center console and heaved a sigh of relief when he saw the droids start to mill in circles, sniffing each other's butts, crawling on top of each other—hey!
He bent and flicked the other switch and chuckled in embarrassment. "Sorry, guys—wrong switch. That was the 'create more droids' switch."
The prison cells were to his left so he walked past the docile droids, giving them an occasional pat on what he guessed were their heads. Cal had always liked droids and it wasn't their fault some sleaze ball had programmed them to kill organics. The door opened and Cal stopped dead, his mouth falling open. It had been five years but…
The man standing in the containment cell lifted his head. Everything about him except the way he was dressed, was familiar: dark brown eyes under a crow's nest of black hair, the pale skin of a man who spent a lot of time aboard ships—fingerless brown gloves that enabled him to cheat more easily at Pazaak. Corellian style pants tucked into boots. Cal wondered if he could talk him into trading them for the red tennies he was wearing. Snappy, ribbed jacket and creamy shirt completed the ensemble, and a tricked out blaster belt, the holsters empty, of course.
The man looked up wearily and then smirked "You miners change uniform?" The voice confirmed it.
"Jaq?" Cal came closer so the man could see him since they were separated by waving sparkles from the security field that held him prisoner in the cell.
"Uh, no, you got the wrong prisoner. I'm Atton Rand. Check your computer. I'm sure the charges are listed, and, um, none of them would have anything to do with me trying to sell the Jedi to the Exchange." He coughed. "Did I just say that aloud?"
Cal smiled. "It's Cal. It's been five years, but we met on Tatooine."
The dark eyes narrowed as Jaq accessed an exceedingly sharp mind, well, it was when it wasn't pickled in juma juice. "Sure," he drew it out with a sarcastic flair. "I know you. You're the Jedi the guards were talking about?"
"Let me get you out of there." Cal pulled the lever and Atton stepped off the platform of the force cage with evident relief.
"You don't have anything to eat on ya, do you? I'm starving!" Atton looked embarrassed when his stomach did an imitation of a rancor.
"I downloaded the entire complex's map and there's a cafeteria past the mining tunnels." At Atton's expression, Cal paused. "What?"
"The same mining tunnels that exploded, those tunnels?"
Cal rubbed a finger down the bridge of his nose as the beginnings of a headache began to throb. He punched up the schematics of the place and drew his finger down the line that showed a clear path. "See, nothing to it, now, let's go."
"Me? No way I'm going down there." Atton looked mutinous and, since Cal was sure he had no Force persuade yet because Stingy Woman only had deigned to return to him stun droid and spark, not even a fork of lightning, he had to rely on the bond he had forged with the man five years ago. The Force was like a two-headed millipede, its thousands of legs taking it one direction only to be pulled in another so that it made little or no headway.
Cal smiled his most charming, persuasive smile and arched a brow. "C'mon, buddy, for old time's sake. I really need your help. There could be injured down there."
"You know what's down there? A battalion of droids, that's what's down there!" Atton backed away. "Don't try any of your Jedi mind tricks on me, Cal, I'm warning ya." He patted his empty holsters and smirked. "Besides, I don't even have a blaster to my name."
"I can fix that." Cal dug into the rucksack and pulled out a mining laser and proudly handed it to the flummoxed man.
"A mining laser?" Atton held his fingers like they were a blaster and he was pulling the trigger. "This would be more affective." He very crankily jammed the blaster into his holster. "It's too small—it doesn't even fit."
"You're sober, aren't you? They made you go through withdrawal?" Cal placed a sympathetic hand on Atton's shoulder. "I can fix that, too."
He fished out a flask, unscrewed the cap and held it under Atton's nose. "Juma. I found it taped under the security chief's console. He grinned.
Atton grabbed for it, but Cal pulled it out of reach. "You want it, you come with me."
"First a drink." Atton's eyes were fixed on the flask like a puppy's on a dog treat.
Cal let him take a couple swallows and then took it away from him. "You'll get more once we get down there. Come on."
Atton was pleasant buzzed by the time they made it through the gamut of droids and found their way back up onto the Administration level. Cal put a finger to his lips and Atton playfully mimicked him, following his lead, as Cal slunk toward the hub.
"Boo!" Kreia leaped out, looking like a witch on Halloween—the only thing missing was her broom. "You thought you were going to leave without me, didn't you?"
Atton was slowly crawling down from the ceiling, a pissed look on his face. "Whooosh thisss, anudder Sh'edi?"
Cal had his hands full at the moment and would not answer Atton. "I would never have done that," he told Kreia. Inwardly, he sighed. Would I?
"The Sith are here and we must find a way to get to the Ebon Hawk or all of my efforts to find you and form a Force bond with you against your will and manipulate you into doing what I want and to criticize you at every point in our journey would be meaningless." She took a deep breath after saying all of that in one sentence without a break or even a comma or semi-colon.
Cal's head was spinning, reeling, even more than Atton's because of all the juma juice he'd drunk. "What did you say?"
Kreia could not smile. It was something her face had forgotten how to do. She did not scowl—in fact, she did not show emotion, but her voice dripped sarcasm when she spoke. "We do not have time to talk right now, Exile."
Atton's eyes widened as something occurred to him. "You're the Exile? You mean all that BS on Tatooine five years ago when you said your name was Exile Cal'ibur, you were just giving out an oxymoron?"
"No, Atton, you're the moron," Cal said gently in fun. "My name is X Cal I'bur—a play on words, which means I am actually an ancient sword—well, named after it."
Atton grinned. " Riiii-ght! Just don't call me a fool."
"Fool!" Kreia spat, as if she had been waiting all her life to say it.
"Dope, chump, sap, booby, half-wit, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, simpleton, pushover, SUCKERrrr!" Kreia made an L of her thumb and index finger and placed it on her brow. "LOSER!!!!!!"
"Cal, now she's just being mean." Atton looked for support. "Crone, well shrew you!!"
Cal slapped a hand to his forehead. "Cut it out!" He turned to regard Kreia. "Let me get this straight. We don't have time for you to talk to me, but we do have time for you to insult my friend?"
Atton patted Cal's shoulder and smirked at Kreia. "Here that, ya old witch—his friend."
Cal dug out another flask of juma from the rucksack he had slung over his arm. One thing the Peragus miners seemed to have had in common was drinking. He tossed it to Atton. "Drink up."
"He's the pilot and you let him drink?"
"Why not? You're pissing me off and I'm letting you live." Cal tossed her a smirk he'd learned from a smuggler named Jaden five years ago. "He flies better when he's drunk. Being sober throws off his reflexes. Now, didn't someone tell me five minutes ago we needed to get moving?" He placed his hands on his hips and arched a brow at her.
"Being bonded to you I can see is not going to be easy."
Both men stuck out their tongues at the same time behind her back. Atton added insult to injury by sticking his thumbs in his ears and wiggling his fingers.
your program running
Head out to the docking bay
Terminals are waiting
For the data that you'll enter
Everybody says that
you're a droid, but
They should know that you are an astromech
Got your big head screwed on tight and
you're better than Bao-Dur the Zabrak tech.
Like a true astromech droid
You were born, born to avoid
All the fights you can
And if you get hit you'll cry,
"I hate droids," Atton muttered as they made their way down the claustrophobic confines of the fuel line between Peragus and the Republic/Sith ship that had docked."Did I tell you how much I hate 'em?"
Cal looked for a wall he could bang his head against and almost walked into a mine. T3-M4's warning "dweep" was the only thing that kept him from stepping on the detonator.
He patted the little guy on his huge dome. "Thanks." It was not a well-known fact—but droids were to Cal what Twi'leks were to Jaden the smuggler. (But that's another story and thus ends the shameless plug!) "T-3, you have more demolition than I do, so will you lead the way?"
"How do you understand the little trash compactor?" Atton accepted another flask of juma and brightened considerably as he swigged it down.
They reached the end of the fuel line—to their right was a door. T3 deactivated the mine before Cal opened the door and the ex-Jedi craned his head around the jam. Two droids were right there, so there was no choice but to fight them. He was a Jedi Guardian—well, had been--- and he had never learned much in the way of skills other than use medpacks since he could not heal with the Force all those years of exile.
Spark and Tickle Droid (no way did it stun them!) powers did diddlely squat, so Cal waded into the fight with two blades, enjoying the fireworks as the droids exploded in spectacular balls of fire. Atton was using a blaster he'd found in the miners' quarters and the dinky mining blaster. T3 hung back. The little droid was not really good in a fight, but he tried to help by using some kind of special ray that at the very least diverted the droids' attention from the humans.
Finally, after encountering a few more droids. T3 hacked a computer and was able to get them into the hangar bay. Atton threw a hissy fit when he realized the door was magnetically sealed.
Cal rolled his eyes. "Chill. You didn't really think it would be that easy, did you?"
"Hey, I thought our luck had changed for the better when Sleeps-with-Razor-Vibro-blades-Hacksaws-Chainsaw Massacre Guy took the old hag's hand and I'm hoping a whole lot more, but, no-oooooo!"
T3 beeped and booped, sounding a lot more intelligent than he had started out in K1 when he was only a ploy to open the Sith base on Taris. Jaden the smuggler had upgraded him to an upscale astromech droid that rivaled his future cousin R2-D2. Sound FX were very similar, too—enough so that Obsidian must've gotten permission from George Lucas to use them. Maybe Bioware had not been able to reach GL and settled for something you can reproduce on an electronic keyboard.
Anyway, back to the story…. T3 replaced the cog in the machine that was missing and hacked into the console. Cal raised a hand to stop the droid from opening the door to the decontamination room. There were green clouds of very dangerous looking gas wafting inside.
Atton rummaged in the RPG bag. "You only found one gas mask?"
Cal nodded. "We can go on Solo mode. You take the mask, go through the gas, pause in the next room and I will go to the icon screen and take it off you and put it on me. T3's immune."
There was only one problem. Cal put himself on Solo mode and suddenly a tall man with an even taller Wookiee wearing a bandolier over his massive shoulder, appeared.
"Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon."
Solo was lean, dressed in Corellian bloodstripe pants and pilot gear with a fancy blaster rig that had Atton panting. There was a scar on his chin and his hazel eyes looked annoyed. "Why has nobody ever heard of the Millennium Falcon? It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than five parsecs."
Cal frowned. "Sorry, but then I've never heard of the Kessel Run either. I'm Cal I'bur, soon to be captain of the Ebon Hawk."
Han's grin turned snarky. "Sorry, never heard of it."
Atton smirked. "It's the ship, that if we're lucky, will get us off this rock and not blown into a million pieces."
Han glanced about him with interest. "Where am I? Chewie, did I drink too much Corellian ale again?"
The Wookiee snarled and waved his huge, hairy paws and the odor that came from his pits made Cal's eyes water.
Han gestured. "Chewie, until we get you bathed and groomed, keep your arms down. We talked about this." Solo spread his hands wide, smiling a crooked smile that was wasted on Cal and Atton. Now, if Cal had been the canon-exile, but he was not, so he just smiled back politely.
"How did I get here?" Solo asked.
"Do you happen to have a gas mask on you?" Atton asked.
Han put his hands up to his face, feeling it. "Do I look like I have a gas mask on?"
Atton emitted a low whistle. "I mean, do you have one with you?"
Han frowned and went through his regular bag, but could not find one. "Sorry, can't help ya out, pal."
Cal shook the Captain's hand. "That's all right. I'll get you back to where you belong. Nice meeting you." He quickly went to the icon screen and changed the capital S to a small s . When he came back, Han was gone and he and Atton worked out the logistics of using the one mask.
Can't see cloaked Sith?
We're here at last in the hangar
Gonna take off on our ship.
He sent in the Sith
just ain't right
I don't approve.
Atton keeps tearing around
Where are the Sith?
He sent in the Sith!
"Un-frackin'-believable!" Atton swore.
No wonder Cal hadn't seen any Sith outside the bloody ship. They were all inside the ship. Cal, Atton and T3 fought them off. Since they were stupid enough to stay in groups of three, it was easy to defeat them, but there was nothing valuable on their remains, and the bodies kept disappearing, sometimes just leaving a belt.
Atton gazed out the main viewing screen in the cockpit and saw a very unwelcome sight—A one-handed hag moving with amazing speed toward the ship. His hand slammed down on the hatch door lock and he smirked, not telling Cal he had just got rid of what could become their worst nightmare. He warmed up the engines and the repulsor lifters engaged, lifting up the ship. He expertly flew her out of the hangar and almost had a heart attack when he turned to say something to Cal and there she was!
(And the director says, Cue music, for Atton's singing debut.)
simply want someone to despise
But you, even with your creepy eyes
An unfortunate slight
To watch the Jedi squirm
Must be somewhat heartening
To manipulate him like a worm
But you, you're not allowed
An unfortunate slight!
"Hey, who invited you? I say we take a vote. All in favor of spacing the ole witch raise your hand." His rose quickly. "Cal?"
Cal hated being put in this position. "Atton, has it not occurred to you yet, that if I felt her hand being taken off, well, what would happen if we space her? I mean, to me?"
Atton scowled and tugged at his fingerless gloves, tightening them over his knuckles. "Good point. Forget I said anything."
Kreia in pain was worse than, well, Kreia. She cast jaundiced eyes at both of them-Atton caught one, Cal the other and they threw them back because neither one of them wanted a creepy ole jaundiced eye, especially hers!
"Where are we headed?" Cal wanted to know.
"Telos, to be specific, Citadel Station." Atton managed not to get the Hawk shot up by the Harbinger that was following them through the asteroid field. "Uh, you got a decision to make here, Cal. Dark side, we shoot one of the asteroids—or light side, we let them shoot one of the asteroids, either way we get mostly the same cut scene."
Cal chose light side. Atton avoided the resounding explosions, swung the ship around and they plunged into hyperspace. Atton tossed his headset to the side. "Well, you can forget your troubles with those Sith slugs. I told you I'd outrun them."
"They let us go," Kreia sneered. "It's the only way to explain the ease of our escape."
"Easy? You call that easy, hagster?"
"Atton." Cal put his head in his hands. "Kreia."
"Fine!" They both chorused and pouted like siblings.
"I am going to my chamber where I do not have to suffer fools. Perhaps you will visit me so I can tell you more drivel that will give you more points and allow you to level up faster, if it does not make you want to blast yourself in the head for having to listen to me."
Cal widened his eyes. "Uh, yeah, I'll be sure to do that."
Atton sniggered. "Pardon me if I don't hold my breath for you going to visit the sinister slagster from hell."
"So, what happened to it?" Cal drawled before Atton could speak again.
"Happened to what?"
"Your ship? You know, Sparrow's Retreat."
Atton scratched his head and looked like he would not answer. "I found out you can only retreat so long and then you have to face the music."
"Yeah, Cal. Every fracking chapter one of us gets elected to sing. It started back with Jaden and it hasn't let up. I mean I already had to sing. How many more times will I have to sing?"
"Sing for you supper?"
"Ha-ha, very funny. I mean I have a Sam W type voice, but the name of the band, Crashtones, well that gives me a bad feeling, and this story is rated T, so the lyrics have to be changed to protect the innocent virgin ears out there with parental supervision lurking over their shoulders." He smirked, taking on a bad rocker stance, playing some air guitar. "I mean everybody can't be as good as M Shadows."
Cal grinned. "And not everybody can play a guitar like Synyster!" They both laid their hands over their hearts in silent tribute.
Cal stayed in the cockpit with Atton and they played Pazaak. Cal instructed him not to pay attention to the female voice from Citadel Station that told them to land once they came into Telos space. Instead, Atton took out an AAD tower that shot at them and landed the ship on the grassy plains in one of the rebuilding sites.
"You sure about this?" Atton came down the ramp, followed by a completely disgruntled Kreia. "I mean, you passing up all these points is OK, but it affects me, too."
Cal patted the pilot on the back. "Do you want to end up in a cell again? Do you want to have everyone you meet asking you to do something for them? Do you want to run back and forth in between the cantina and two other levels? Do you want to deal with the Ithorians? I don't speak Gelfa-ese, do you? Do you want the Ebon Hawk stolen right out from under our noses? Do you….?"
Atton raised a hand. "All right! I get it! Citadel Station, bad. Breaking rules and keeping our ship, good.
A/N And this, dear readers, is the first chapter of Cal, the Exile who was in Luck Be a Smuggler Tonight. Like I did in the original, I am skipping the parts of the game that got on my nerves and there will be the breaking of the fourth wall and references to our present and bizarre things that happen. Parodies are like that. I will try to keep the characters in character as much as I can but the AU-ness of this story may surpass Jaden's romp. Hope you who said you were interested in reading about Cal leave reviews. No reviews, bad! Leaving reviews, good! Thanks in advance and please enjoy another farce. I don't own SW and the songs original lyrics. Songs were "Sartorial Eloquence by Elton John; "Yankovitch's Born to be Mild and Send in the Clowns and Alanis M's Uninvited. Refs to Crashtones are to Sam Witwer's band and Avenged Sevenfold has the awesome M Shadows and Synyster Gates.