The moment he heard the soft sound of footsteps approaching Slick was on his feet and ready. Despite the late hour, he was wide-awake and alert. Sleep did not come to him the way it used to, but it did not matter anymore. By morning, he would be executed, and all of this would be nothing more than a dark memory.
Through the darkness, he made out the approaching stranger's silhouette. It was clear to him that this was not one of his brother's seeking an explanation, or the need for closure. The cloaked form was too petite, and lacked the soldiers stance.
The stranger paused before his cell and activated a security override. The electronic shield of his cell shimmered and dissipated before him. He did not step back as she stepped inside. In silence, he stood watching them with eyes guarded and jaw firm.
"Put these on," she instructed while offering him a pair of Servo-cuffs. Her accent was distinctly Naboo, as were her garbs. Slick's curiosity grew as did his suspicions. His execution was not meant to be for another few hours at least. Even by Naboo standard time, this was too early.
Frowning he noticed that the guards normally stationed to guard the cells were nowhere to be seen. Meeting the hidden gaze of the stranger Slick tried to piece it all together. He refused to put on the cuffs himself. He also did not make his escape. He knew to take in his surroundings and assess the situation first.
"I am your contact Lieutenant," she said as though answering an unspoken question. Cuffs were soon placed over his hands. A moment later they were activated.
Slick said nothing in reply. He had no contacts, not anymore. The separatists promised to cut off all ties should he be discovered. Yet this stranger claimed otherwise. Her statement had only encouraged more questions.
Following her into the sterile halls Slick wondered if this was just another elaborate trap. If so, he was more than ready for it.
The guards greeted them as they emerged from prisoner's wing. If his mysterious companion was troubled by this discovery, it did not show.
"State your business with the prisoner."
The first guard demanded. The second guard motioned her to hand over the authorization flimsies and data pads. It was hard to ignore the looks of disgust in their eyes as they glanced at him. Slick was used to it now and remained stoic. He did not expect these free men to understand. They chose this life, Slick and his brothers had not.
"I am under authorization of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to escort this prisoner for execution," she stated politely to the first officer while offering the second guard a data pad.
The lights of the room permitted Slick to a chance to get a good look at his supposed contact. It only took him a moment to realize that she was a member of the Naboo government. A handmaiden who served under senator Amidala's entourage-if the symbols on her cloak were any indication. The discovery made even less sense, what would the Naboo want with him?.
The guard was equally suspicious of the matter. His questions mirrored Slick's own.
"This case is already being handled by the Republic's internal affairs. How does it involve the Naboo's royal court?"
The woman furrowed her brow slightly as she activated her holo-comm. "Sir, I am only an errand girl. However, if you'd like, we could clarify the matter with the Supreme Chancellor." The guard did not question the matter further.
As soon as they were alone his cuffs were removed and a laser pistol was placed into his hands. The imperial insignia on its hilt was hard to miss. The weapon was hers.
"There's an older ship at the back bays, towards the exit ports. You will find all you need for your journey in there," she explained briskly as they entered the correctional facilities main hanger. Slick continued to remain guarded. None of it made sense.
Laser fire came from behind forcing his thoughts forward; the escape had been compromised. Instinct and years of training immediately took control-leaving the former soldier to instinctively fire upon his captors.
"Shoot me lieutenant!" the woman's voice caught his attention but did not distract Slick from his goal to take out the approaching security. He did not question her intentions, he knew all too well what she had in mind. It was an age old tactic; one he hoped would still work.
Responding accordingly, he fired two shots at the mysterious woman; one caught her knee, the other her upper right arm. She cried out in pain as she dropped to the ground. He fired a few more random shots to complete the effect. Slick knew they would appear sloppy, but now was not the time for pride. Security would recognize the tactical attempts to immobilize his captor and he hoped it would be enough.
Slick did not bother looking back as he made his way to the back of the hanger bay. He could hear the woman shout at security demanding that they capture him, while other voices called for a medic.
Only later would he baffle at how quickly the guards fell for the ruse. Had it been his brothers on guard Slick knew they would not have stood a chance.
The ship was exactly where she said it would be and despite its run down appearance, it had its share of upgrades. It also contained credits, a false I.D, weapons and other necessities he required to start his new life. There were no tracking devices, no security breeches, and no watchful eyes.
Only an encoded message containing coordinates of a distant world reminded Slick to keep his guard up. That and the name of a contact who would grant him sanctuary. He examined the brief message, looking for signs of deception. There were none to be found.
Slick never knew the reasons behind the mysterious woman's actions. Nor did he allow himself to consider it. Some things were better left alone. Setting course to the coordinates given, Slick gave a small smile to the strange feeling of hope. This was what it meant to be free.
Rabé awoke to the sound of heavy footsteps approaching her cell. She was on her feet and ready even before the stranger approached. As the door to her cell parted an imperial soldier--a member of the 501st now known as Vader's Fist. entered. Rabé did not step back. In silence, she watched him, with eyes guarded and her lips pressed thin.
She did not ask why they had come at such a late hour; prisoners did not require an appointment to face interrogation or execution within the empire.
The armoured clone offered the Alliance rebel a set Servo-cuffs. "Put these on," he stated. Rabé cautiously accepted the cuffs, but did not put them on. There was something familiar about the man's voice and his mannerisms though she could not place them.
"Who are you?" she asked. The soldier did not respond as he slipped the cuffs on her wrists and activated it. The man briefly paused before removing his helmet. It was the Lieutenant she had rescued some time ago.
"I'm your contact," he said softly before hiding his features were hidden behind the imperial mask he wore. Rabé said nothing as she stepped out of her cell and out into the sterile halls.
Whatever lied ahead she knew they would face it not as servants, slaves or soldiers, but as free souls.