"Ok, everyone. Now that the Sand People have agreed to release the little Jawas, we can head back to Anchorhead and tell Iziz his friends are free." Mission Vao dusted her hands together, satisfied that she and the others had been able to free the Jawas from servitude.
"Hesitant Reply: If you're sure. I still think we would have made more of an impact if we had opened fire in the belly of them. Nothing says 'Free the Slaves' like a blaster to the head."
Mission laughed at HK-47's response. As much as she disagreed with HK's "shoot first, ask questions never" policy, she couldn't help but laugh at almost everything he said.
"We should let Revan know we finished up here. He has probably gotten all the provisions we needed by now. I'm sure we'll be leaving Tatooine soon," Zaalbar said to Mission in his native Shyriiwook.
Mission wrinkled her small, blue nose. "Fine by me. The sooner we get out of here, the better. The smell from the Jawas and the Sand People is making my eyes water."
The group made their way across the Dune Sea and back into Anchorhead. They came across Iziz, the Jawa Chieftain who had petitioned Revan to free his people, right inside the gates. Iziz spotted them and immediately started chattering at them in fast-paced Jawaese.
Mission gave him a confused look. "Uh, yeah. HK? You catch any of that?"
"Rough Translation: He says his people have returned to him and he is very grateful for our assistance. He will keep his end of the bargain and tell you where the Star Map is."
After some more indecipherable speech from Iziz, HK-47 continued his rendition.
"Rough Translation: He says we will find the Star Map in a cave in the Eastern Dune Sea and will provide us a map showing the location."
"Woo-hoo!" Mission yelled happily. "Thanks so much, Iziz!" She turned to HK-47 and Zaalbar. "Let's go tell Revan we know where the Star Map is!"
She hoped Revan was done with Motta the Hutt. Revan had told Mission to deal with the Jawas while he tried to win some credits on the swoop track. When Mission had first met Motta, it was with Revan and Juhani. Mission may have been only 14, but she was old enough to recognize the lustful gaze Motta had given both her and Juhani. Mission decided she would wait outside the swoop track so she didn't have to see the bloated worm again. She just hoped Revan earned enough race bonds to get them what supplies they needed so they could leave Tatooine for good this time.
* * * * *
"What do you mean I lost?!?" Revan yelled at Motta. "I don't lose and I don't owe you a damn thing!"
Motta gave a deep, guttural laugh. "My friend, you did lose and the sum you now owe is a hefty 10,000 credits. I advise you to pay up now or suffer the painful consequences."
Revan was seeing red. He was taking note of all the people in the room, debating whether or not he could take everyone out and make it off the planet in one piece. He decided he could and was reaching for his lightsaber when Motta spoke again.
"Of course, if you don't have the credits, I might be willing to accept something else in exchange."
Revan looked at Motta with suspicion. "I'm listening."
"If you give me the nubile Cathar and young Twi'lek traveling with you, I will call it even," Motta said, his tongue licking around his mouth as he spoke.
Revan's mind was thinking fast. He had already gotten rid of Juhani. He had drugged her and sold her to a twi'lek named Xor when Xor had made him a substantial offer. But perhaps he could recommend someone else in her stead.
"Unfortunately, my Cathar companion has been purchased by someone else who had a vested interest in her personally. However, I do happen to have a Wookie that I would be willing to part with in exchange for some basic supplies and rations."
Motta thought over the arrangement a few moments. He had hoped to add a Cathar female to his harem, but he could also use some more muscle in his palace.
"Deal," he said at last.
Revan gave Motta an apologetic smile. "I'm afraid neither the Wookie nor the Twi'lek will go easily."
Motta laughed again, his body jiggling. "That is good. I prefer to do the breaking-in myself. It is much more fun that way. But for now, we'll use this…" he held up a vial containing a clear liquid. "…to subdue them quietly and move them to my palace. Just slip it into their drinks and they'll drop before they even set their glass down."
Revan accepted the vial and had hidden it in his robes when Mission and Zaalbar entered the room.
"We have been waiting for you outside for forever! What's taking so long?" Mission asked Revan, not once looking at Motta.
"We were just finishing up. Come, let's have a drink before we take off," Revan said over his shoulder, as he headed toward the bar.
Mission skipped after Revan, her headtails swinging behind her. Zaalbar growled at Motta when he noticed the Hutt eyeing Mission. Motta laughed as Zaalbar turned to follow her.
Revan mixed the drinks before handing them out, careful to dump the contents of the vial into the glasses while Mission and Zaalbar weren't looking. He raised his glass to his lips, Mission happily drinking hers. Zaalbar downed his, slamming the glass back down on the counter.
Zaalbar saw Mission sway on her feet. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she fell into Revan. Revan caught her in his arms and hefted her up, cradling her. Zaalbar wasn't too alarmed until he saw Revan hand off Mission to one of Motta's henchmen. Zaalbar started toward the Weequay holding Mission, but then stumbled, feeling a little dizzy himself. Three more of Motta's cronies came at him. Zaalbar tried to fight them off, but could barely stay on his feet, much less throw a punch. He gave a loud roar before finally succumbing to darkness.
* * * * *
Mission slowly came awake, blinking and trying to focus at the same time. She gingerly sat up.
"Big Z? Revan?" she called before she realized she was in some unknown room. She looked around, still feeling too shaky to stand. She heard footsteps and quickly turned her head to see who was coming. She saw a female Arcanian walking to her, flanked by a Togruta female and a Human female. They were all three very beautiful and very scantily clad.
"What's going on? Where am I?" Mission asked, more curious than anything else. Once the three women neared her, Mission saw the Arcanian's brown irises and pointed ears that marked her as an Offshoot rather than a 'pure' Arcanian.
"You are in Motta the Hutt's palace," the Arcanian answered. The other two women stood silently behind her.
"What? No…this isn't…what am I doing here? How did I get here?" Mission asked, trying to remain calm.
The Arkanian answered her again. "You are Motta's newest dancer and slave. As for how you got here, we don't know. Wrong place at the wrong time, I guess."
"There is no way I'm ever dancing for that slimy slug! What is going on here? Where are my friends?"
"There was no one else brought in here with you, but if your friends were taken and if they were male, then they are probably part of Motta's slave labor now."
"No way. I don't know how Motta got me here, but I got friends. Really powerful friends. And when they find me, Motta is going to be sorry."
The three women shook their heads and looked at her sadly.
"Motta desires you in the audience chamber. He wishes for all four of us to perform for him and his guests."
"I'm not doing anything but waiting here for my friends to rescue me!"
The Human stepped forward, speaking for the first time. "Sorry, kid. You don't have a choice."
"Wha-" Mission started as the other women surrounded her.
They grabbed at her clothes, tearing them from her body. Mission screamed and tried to fight them off, but one against three were hardly odds in her favor.
Once they had her naked, they pushed her into a tub that Mission hadn't noticed before. It was filled with warm, scented water. They gently scrubbed at her, although it wasn't gentle enough to allow her to escape their care. Mission finally stopped fighting them, deciding instead to wait until she was in the audience chamber to attempt escape. She studied the three slaves who were attending her.
The Arkanian was thin and tall, nearly 6 ft. She had the typical pure white skin and long, wavy hair going to her waist that matched her skin color. You could barely see the tips of her ears peeking through her hair. She had blue lips and delicate blue tattoos adorning her brown eyes and upper cheeks. She was wearing a blue bikini outlined with some silver metal, as well as a silver veil attached to the front and back of the bikini bottom. Silver boots completed her outfit.
The Human was shorter than the others, barely taller than Mission, standing at 5'6. She had olive skin and no tattoos that Mission could see, though she did have gold circlets around her upper arms. Her jet colored hair was boyishly short and styled to look incredibly sleek. It was very complimenting to her long, slender neck. She had vivid green eyes that reminded Mission of sparkling emeralds. She had a yellow outfit on that was similar to the Offshoot's, the exception being the yellow veils were attached to the sides of her panty, instead of the front and back. The veils were also wider, so when the human was still, it almost looked like a typical dress. When she moved, however, you could see her legs, rounded bottom, and everything else. She was wearing brown sandals with thin straps that wrapped halfway up her calves.
The Togruta, who still hadn't spoken, was just as lovely as the other two. She was 5'9 and was a lot shapelier than the others. Her skin was the color of red rust with the usual white pigmentation around her eyes. Her gray lips were full and pouty. Her montrals and headtails were a beige color with deep brown patterns along them. They were long and curvy, accentuating her body's seductive curves nicely. Her outfit was made of white Lashaa silk that wrapped tightly around her upper legs, her rear and front, and across her chest, a single white strip of the material cutting diagonally across her stomach connecting the top and bottom. There was also a long, strip wrapped around each arm and hand, the end left loose, nearly trailing the ground. Mission couldn't figure out how the outfit didn't unravel.
The Arkanian noticed Mission's inspection of them and gave her a small smile. "My name is Arili. This is Korinn," she said, motioning to the human. "And that is Natak."
The Togruta gave her a slight nod.
"I'm Mission. How did you guys end up here? Are we the only ones Motta has imprisoned?" Mission asked, the questions tumbling out of her mouth.
Korinn shrugged. "Same as you. We were all sold or captured. And no, we aren't the only ones forced to dance and pleasure the Master. There are four others, but they are out working right now."
Mission couldn't help but ask what kind of work the others were doing.
Arili stood and looked down at Mission. "They are out giving individual performances to Master Motta's guests."
Mission stopped herself from shuddering. "Performances? You mean, dancing, right?"
Arili looked away. "Sometimes that is all it entails. Other times…" her voice trailed off but Mission could fill in the blanks.
Mission vehemently shook her head. "I'm not doing anything like that! I'm getting out of here! My friends will come for me!"
"You are with us for now. You should be grateful. We are the Master's favorites, so we only dance when he asks and we only pleasure him. We don't get passed around to every male that beckons like the others. You should count yourself lucky," Korinn said firmly.
Mission blanched. "Lucky? What is wrong with you guys? No! I won't! I'm getting out of here!"
She stood from the tub and tried to step out of it. Korinn and Natak grabbed her.
Korinn gave her a fierce glare. "There is no way out of this room. There are no windows, only one door with no way of opening it from this side. There are guards stationed at every door who will not hesitate to shoot you if you step out of line. And they don't shoot to kill," she said, knowing Mission was about to say she preferred death. "They shoot to make you immobile, then throw you to the male slave labor force. The slaves have their way with you and you're powerless to get away. That is how it goes, until you eventually die of thirst, starvation, or from your wounds. Trust me, life will be much easier here if you just cooperate and stay in Motta's favor."
Mission was speechless. Arili lifted a black costume that was lying next to the tub. Mission eyed it, the fear becoming evident on her face.
"Here, let us help you put this on," Arili said sympathetically.
Mission didn't fight them this time. She was too busy trying to tell herself she was dreaming. Her denial of what was going on was the only thing keeping her from breaking down, crying.
Once she was dressed, Mission looked down at herself. She was dressed similarly to Natak, only her outfit was black and made of some netted material. Loose-fitting leather straps secured around her thighs and stomach held the outfit together. She had sandals much like Korinn's on instead of the boots she was accustomed to wearing.
The door opened, admitting an Arconan male. Mission could tell by the superior walk he had, that he was someone of import. He was about the same height as Arili. His leathery looking skin was the color of ebony. She also saw that he was addicted to salt as his eyes were the most brilliant gold she had ever seen.
"Good, you are dressed," he said to her. He circled around her, looking her up and down. "Very nice, Master Motta will be pleased."
"Please this!" Mission shouted, making a rude motion with her finger.
He grabbed her by the wrist, squeezing until Mission thought he might break it. His claws scratched at her skin, not breaking the skin yet Mission could tell he could take her hand from her arm with one swipe.
"I am Dev, the majordomo of this Palace and Master Motta's right-hand man. You will speak to me with respect and you will do as you're told. I trust the others have told you what happens with those who disobey? Have they?" He asked again, jerking Mission closer to him when she didn't answer.
She nodded, her eyes shut tight.
"Good. You will do well to remember that."
He abruptly released her. Mission stumbled away from him, nursing her wrist.
"Now, before you go on in front of the Master, I need to instruct you on the dances you will perform tonight."
He snapped his fingers at the other three women. They came to stand next to Mission.
He waved a hand at them, and they started an erotic dance together.
"Stand here, between Korinn and Arili. Now, do as they do."
Mission stood where he told her to, but couldn't bring herself to dance in the suggestive manner they were.
Dev moved behind her, pressing her to him. Mission tried to move away, but his arms were like steel around her.
He grabbed her chin, lifting her face so she could see him out of the corner of her eye.
"You will dance, or I will take you to my chambers and instruct you alone, personally. And if that happens, there will be a lot more contact and a lot less clothing," he said in a low voice. Mission's eyes widened. Dev laughed and licked the side of her face before letting her go.
Mission immediately did as he said, dancing as though her life depended on it. And she was finally starting to think that was the case.
Where are you, Zaalbar? Where are you, Revan? Please, save me soon.
* * * * *
Some time later, after Dev had left, a Gamorrean guard opened the door and stood aside to let the four of them pass. Mission noticed he didn't threaten them with a blaster, although he did have two on hand. It both frightened her and angered her to know that the women were so compliant that the guards didn't even have to apply any kind of intimidation to get them to do what they were told. Then again, with the promise of death, torture, and rape if you rebelled, Mission could understand why they were so subservient.
After going through several long and dark tunnels, Mission started hearing lively music playing. Her knees threatened to buckle under her when she realized she was nearing the audience chamber. Another Gamorrean guard stood at the chamber's entrance. He grunted at them then opened the doors. A blast of music and smoke almost knocked Mission over.
Arili, Korinn, Natak, and Mission all headed through the doors. Mission heard some catcalls as well as the deep laugh of Motta. On her way to the stage, Mission felt someone caress her bare leg. She kept herself from shivering.
Once they were all on stage, they started their dance, Mission making sure she did the steps perfectly. She tried to ignore the feelings of shame and anger and focused her attention on her surroundings. While she was looking around, she saw Revan in the front row, drinking and watching her.
Mission almost collapsed with relief. She wanted to run to him but she didn't want to ruin whatever plan he might have for rescuing her. She would make sure to tell Revan about the other slaves. He would save them as well.
Revan saw that Mission had spotted him. He raised his glass to her, before taking another sip. Mission felt a little uncomfortable at how Revan was watching her, but she told herself he was just trying to fit in with the rest of the drunken crowd.
The dance routine finished, Revan stood and moved right in front of her. She knelt in front of him waiting to hear what the plan was.
Revan gently took her face in his hands. "Motta has great taste. You are a wonderful dancer, Mission. I'm sure you and Zaalbar will do well here."
Mission looked at Revan in disbelief, not believing what she heard. Revan then kissed her full on the lips. He let go of her face then laughed at her dumbfounded expression. He slapped her on her rear before leaving the Palace.
Mission never saw him again.
* * * * *
Mission wanted to cry, scream, and attack everyone in sight. The only thing stopping her was the knowledge that Zaalbar was imprisoned somewhere on the property. She decided that her best course of action was to be compliant until she found Big Z. Then the two of them would think of a plan together to escape. She still couldn't believe Revan had sold her. Her! But she wouldn't let her mind dwell on that too long.
Once the music stopped again and Mission could take a break from dancing, Dev moved over to her.
Ignoring the other three girls, he motioned for Mission to follow him. She almost told him to screw himself, but remembered the threat he had given her if she disobeyed. She went after him.
He went around the stage and stopped in front of Motta.
"Come closer and let me see you," he ordered her. When she didn't move right away, Dev shoved her right into Motta. Her hands almost disappeared into his fat. She quickly got off of him.
Motta laughed as his eyes raked her up and down. He nodded at Dev. Mission looked over her shoulder at Dev in time to see him snap a metal collar around her neck. She tried to pull it off but found it was locked in place. Mission saw a chain leading from it to Motta's lounger. Motta pulled on the chain, dragging her closer to him. She was horrified when Motta's tongue lulled out of his mouth and lapped over her face, neck, and breasts, right in front of everyone. Mission tried to pull away but Motta kept a tight grip on the chain. He began using his hands in place of his tongue. After he was through pleasuring himself with her, he released his hold on the chain.
With the chain on, she couldn't go very far from Motta. So she settled for sitting as far away from him as she could. Mission was battling the nausea she was experiencing from being fondled by Motta. She finally felt the tears that had been threatening to fall since the ordeal started spill over her cheeks. She was also angry. Angry at Revan for selling her and Zaalbar, angry at Motta for all the obvious reasons. Angry at herself for being so naïve. She held onto the anger, preferring it to the tears.
She looked out over the audience chamber. Arili, Korinn, and Natak were still dancing. Mission also saw the other slave girls out amongst Motta's guests.
One was a Zeltron with pink skin and lots of red hair. She had on a pale green outfit. The top was simply some light material that hung like a curtain over her chest, her back bare. It was tied together around her neck and back with thin strings and with every move she made you could see the curve of her breasts. Her skirt was the same shade of green and was puffy and short. She was being pulled into a human's lap as his hand reached into her top.
Mission spotted a beautiful woman coming out from behind a curtain, a Duros male following close behind her tucking his shirt into his pants. She was wearing a tight orange corset top, tied with black ribbons. Her orange pants were skin tight, held together by more black ribbon, her skin peeking through between each crisscross. Mission had no idea what race the woman was. She looked human, but she had skin that was a deeper blue than her own, long black hair with blue highlights, and glowing red eyes. Mission later found out that the woman was a Chiss, and that Mission had never seen one before because it was almost unheard of for the Chiss to be seen anywhere near republic space.
The Chiss had no sooner left the company of the Duros when she was grabbed by a Zabrak and pulled behind another curtain.
There was a yellow twi'lek who was dancing for a group of females of different races. Her costume was a purple one-piece with a halter top and shorts. The bottom was so short that her bottom cheeks peeked through. She had on thigh-hi black boots with spike heels.
An unbelievably gorgeous woman was serving drinks, eliciting whistles every time she appeared. She received slaps on her rear, pinches on her legs and arms, and men stroking her blonde hair. She passed close enough to Mission once that Mission noticed she had almond-shaped grey eyes rimmed with dark lashes. Mission definitely preferred men to women when it came to romance, but even she had her breath taken away every time she looked at the woman. Mission told her later that she was the most beautiful human she had ever seen. Apparently, this was the wrong thing to say, as the woman had haughtily replied that she was Hapan, not human.
She was wearing a short-sleeved pink top that hugged her right under her breasts, showing her pale midriff completely. She had a pink wrap on serving as a short skirt. Both were trimmed with gold and had gold bangles hanging off of them. She also had gold bracelets jingling on both wrists. They were also on both ankles, glittering as they bounced around her bare feet.
After what seemed to be an eternity, all the girls, Mission included, were taken back to the room they were in earlier. The girls immediately followed their normal routine. Some went to the tub and washed up, some began peeling their clothing from their bodies. Mission saw the other twi'lek drop onto a cushy pillow and fall quickly asleep.
Mission went to the tub and began to wash Motta's slime from her body. No really spoke to each other during all this. Everyone was too busy dealing with their thoughts and too tired to bother with small talk, even with a new face among them. Mission didn't mind, she was too numb from everything. She was looking for a place to collapse from exhaustion when Dev walked in.
"You there, new girl. Follow me."
She was too tired to argue. She followed after him, not paying too close attention to where she was going. After some time, Dev opened a massive door, leading into a barely lit room. Mission blindly followed him inside. Before her eyes could adjust to the almost total darkness, she felt the metal collar that had been placed around her neck earlier click into place on her again.
Mission hands flew to her neck even though she knew it was useless to try and remove it. There was a tug on the chain that brought her to her knees in front of a gloating Motta. His hand groped her as she struggled to pull away. Dev left the room, smiling at Mission before closing the door behind him. Mission was left with Motta and two Gamorrean guards stationed at the door.
She felt tears fall down her cheeks once again as she squeezed her eyes shut and willed her soul to leave her body. But stubbornly, it didn't. She prayed that Zaalbar was ok.
* * * * *
And so that's how it went for months. Mission was almost constantly chained to Motta's side, him eliciting pleasure from her whenever the whim struck him. She was only allowed freedom from him when she was bathing or eating. She had gotten closer to the other slaves. They were sisters of a sort. Which was why it hurt her so much when Pylla, the Chiss woman, was killed.
Pylla had been passed to a particularly nasty Aqualish man whose tastes ran to the cruelly sadistic. While entertaining himself with her, he had 'accidently' strangled the life from her. Motta had been frighteningly angry. Pylla was not one of his personal favorites, but his guests coveted her. And he enjoyed owning a Chiss woman since they were so rare in this part of the galaxy.
Motta ordered the offending Aqualish captured, tortured, and then fed to his Krayt Dragon. Motta made a show out of it, making an example of him. While Mission looked on, horrified, a part of her was happy that the Aqualish had been taken care of in such a painful way.
Pylla had been the big sister of the group. Everyone looked up to her as she managed to still carry herself with an almost regal pride despite what she went through every day. Even the Hapan, Tiifay, who was normally so arrogant, had adored Pylla. When Pylla had passed, Ummi, the Zeltron, had to be moved to a separate chamber from the others for awhile because her grief had a habit of spreading to everyone, the slaves and guests alike. The other twi'lek, Cistra, had resorted to sleeping at all times when she wasn't dancing. Mission herself cried silently whenever Motta left her alone, and she had only known Pylla for a few months.
Bonding with the other slaves aside, Mission had managed to find out that Zaalbar was indeed a part of Motta's slave labor, though she hadn't been able to see him at all. She was starting to give up hope of ever finding him and escaping alive. Motta was no fool and he and his guards kept the place guarded very well. Besides, even if the opportunity to escape ever did present itself, she knew she wouldn't leave without Big Z.
* * * * *
Zaalbar had been working for Motta for months now, usually serving as a pack-mule, carrying things that would normally take many to move. He didn't know if Mission was here with him, though Revan had told him she was before laughing and leaving Zaalbar to his fate. The possibility of her being here was the only thing that kept him from ripping the arms off of everyone he saw. He knew such a move would prove suicidal, so he kept his anger in check and worked diligently while keeping a close eye on his surroundings. He constantly looked for a chance to get into the palace and find Mission, but so far he had been unsuccessful. Finally, after months of waiting, he got his break.
Six men were carrying a heavy load of spice into the palace when two of the men collapsed under the weight, causing the other four to fall with them. Zaalbar quickly picked up the crate and set it aside, trying to make sure the slaves were ok.
Two Weequay guards ran over to see what the problem was. "Get up you fools! Motta needs this spice brought in immediately! Get up!"
Three of the slaves managed to stumble to their feet. Two were passed out and the last had been crushed under the large crate when it fell.
The weequays looked at each other. "Three men will never be able to carry this inside. You there! Wookie!"
Zaalbar looked over at them.
"Pick up the load. I will escort you inside to deliver it to Motta and his guests. Hurry up."
Zaalbar picked it up easily, grateful to be given the chance to get inside the place. The other Weequay stopped them. "I don't think it's such a good idea to go off with a Wookie by yourself."
The guard who asked Zaalbar to help rolled his eyes. "He hasn't given us any trouble since the day he got here. I've never seen one so subservient. It's fine. Besides, you want to be the one to tell Motta he has to wait for his spice while we round up some more able-bodied slaves?"
"Very well, but keep your eye on him."
The guard waved him off then pointed his blaster at Zaalbar. "Get moving."
They made their way inside the Palace, winding their way through several dark tunnels. Zaalbar paid close attention to the directions they had been taking while also hoping to catch a glimpse of Mission. He knew what she was probably forced to do while in Motta's service but tried to put the thoughts out of his mind. It angered him too much to think about it.
They finally arrived to the audience chamber. Zaalbar looked out over the spice crate at everything going on. It was dark, smoky, and loud. He saw some slave girls being grabbed at while serving drinks or dancing. He saw three women dancing on the center stage, but Mission was nowhere to be found.
"Over here, Wookie. Put the crate down over here," the weequay ordered him, pointing to a dispenser behind the bar. Zaalbar did as he was told then looked out over the room again. He was about to have to leave and he still hadn't found Mission. He didn't even know if she was alive, or if Revan had lied about selling her to Motta in the first place.
He finally spotted her. She was wearing a dancer outfit but she wasn't dancing. She was chained to Motta's lounger. Motta was caressing her with his tongue while Mission stood back as far as Motta allowed, squeezing her eyes shut and turning her head away.
Zaalbar immediately reacted. He felt the guard behind him poke his blaster into Zaalbar's back. "Ok, Wookie, back outside. We're don—" His words were cut off when Zaalbar knocked him aside with one swipe of his hand. The weequay flew across the bar, unconscious, or possibly even dead. No one paid him too much mind at first as brawls were common place. Luckily, everyone assumed Zaalbar and the weequay were just more of Motta's guests.
Zaalbar made his way all the way to Mission without anyone trying to stop him. He grabbed her, Mission gasping in surprise. Zaalbar broke the chain that held her to Motta then took off running with Mission slung over his shoulder and Motta bellowing behind him.
"Big Z! Oh! I am so happy to see you! I was starting to think I'd never see you again!" she shouted excitedly as she bounced around over his shoulder.
Zaalbar growled back that he felt the same, all the while dodging blaster fire and knocking more people aside if someone was foolish enough to get in his way. He made it out of the audience chamber and started through the tunnels, trying to remember which way he had come from. He felt blaster fire hit him in the back, inches from Mission's head. He barely felt it through all his fur and kept going. He knocked another guard to the ground, grabbing his blaster when he went by. He started firing at everyone he saw while he ran.
At last, Zaalbar saw the exit. He knew there was a landspeeder right by the door, if he could only make it. Mission shouted at him that there were several guards gaining on them from behind. His response was to push himself harder. He made it to the door, flung it open, and continued outside.
And ran right into a large group of guards. They were expecting him, security having seen what Zaalbar had been doing and the direction he was taking. The guards surrounded them. Zaalbar managed to shoot a few guards, but they had numbers on their side. He heard Mission scream as some guards tried to grab her from him. He knocked them aside but more took their place. Mission shouted obscenities at the guards.
He heard one of the guards yell above the crowd. "Wookie. I have my blaster aimed right at your pretty little twi'lek. Put her down or I will shoot her."
Zaalbar gave an anguished cry. He had no way of knowing that the guards were under strict orders not to bring so much as a scratch to Mission. If he had, he would have run for the landspeeder, taking the chance that they wouldn't fire too much for fear of hitting her.
They had come so close to escaping. The landspeeder was within throwing distance. And now he would without a doubt be executed and possibly Mission would be, too. He set her down.
"No! Zaalbar, don't! We can make it! Please!" Mission pleaded with him.
He sadly shook his head at her.
"Restrain him!" a guard shouted. A sea of guards surrounded him, beating at him while others chained his hands and feet.
Mission was sobbing as she clung to him. It took three guards to pry her off of him. They carried her back inside the palace, leading Zaalbar in chains after them.
* * * * *
They were all gathered in the Audience Chamber again, this time with none of the revelry that was going on earlier. There was carbon scoring all along the walls, tables and chairs had been overturned, and bodies still littered the ground, some broken, others bleeding, all dead.
"Who brought this Wookie slave into my palace?" Motta demanded.
A few patrons pointed to the weequay guard still slumped in the corner of the bar. Zaalbar had indeed killed him.
"At least he's dead. Saves me the trouble of dealing with him myself."
Mission had been chained again to Motta, using the same chain Zaalbar had broken earlier. But now it was much shorter so Mission was always within arm's reach of the slimy slug. At the moment, however, she didn't care. She was crying as she stared at Zaalbar, who was chained to a ring in the middle of the floor. Zaalbar didn't look at her, just kept his head hung as he knelt.
"Looks like my pet dragon gets a treat twice in the same month," he said with a smile on his face as he eyed his prisoner. He reached for Mission and caressed her shoulder.
Mission gasped as she brought her hands to her mouth. Zaalbar made no move to show he heard what Motta had said. Mission felt fresh tears on her face as she absently shook her head.
"Let's make way to the dungeons. I want his punishment meted out immediately."
* * * * *
The krayt dragon gave a mighty roar as it stalked out of its cage. They were all watching from an arena-like area, looking into the pit. Some of Motta's guards stood with Zaalbar across the pit from Motta and Mission. She kept waiting for something to happen to prevent what was coming. For once she was grateful to be sitting since she didn't think her knees could hold her. Her stomach was in turmoil but her eyes were red-rimmed and dry as she'd bled them of all the tears they had.
A plank was extended from the side of the arena. Two of the guards nudged Zaalbar, forcing him to walk across it. Zaalbar looked up to where everyone was, his eyes seeking Mission. She leaned forward, letting him see her. He looked at her, wishing he could tell her how he loved her like he would a kid sister, how she had saved him from self-destructing on Taris. Instead, he settled on a half-hearted smile. The dragon roared again as it smelled its prey.
Zaalbar walked off the edge, not even touching the ground when the krayt dragon's jaws snapped shut around him.
* * * * *
It had been a month since Zaalbar's death. It felt like it had only happened yesterday to Mission, but also like it had happened years ago. She had become withdrawn and numb. She was non-responsive to everything and everyone. Her slave sisters couldn't garner anything from her and even when Motta pleasured himself with her, she made no move to stop him and made no sound of disgust. She was a hollow husk just drifting through life, wishing she could hurry to the end of it.
She hadn't felt pain like this before in her life. Not when Taris had been razed by the Sith, not when her parents had died, not even when she discovered her brother for the lying con artist he truly was. There had even been a time when she was left alone outside by a landspeeder by a guard who was taking her to see Motta at the swoop track in Anchorhead. The thought of escape never even crossed her mind.
Motta had noticed her listless behavior and was not pleased by it. He liked his slave girls to be one of three things: someone who loved his attentions, someone who feared it, or someone who fought it off. Mission had been the latter, which was one of the reasons she had been his preferred slave. But the emotionless shell she was now provided no entertainment. Even when he threatened to pass her to Dev for a night or two, she only looked at him with blank, unseeing eyes.
She was useless to him as she was. She would provide no pleasure to his patrons as a dancer or waitress in her current state. Motta finally came to a decision.
He was going to have to dispose of her.
* * * * *
"Just take her down there, Dev. Drop her off into the pit then come back to the barge. I have no interest in watching this one. I have business to attend to outside of the palace anyway. Ready the Dancer's Grace so we can depart as soon as you return." Motta ordered Dev.
"As you wish, Master," Dev bowed to him before heading to the dancer's quarters where Mission was supposed to be washing up.
When he walked in, the girls all looked at him warily but continued doing what they were. Only Mission failed to acknowledge him as she absently washed her arms, breasts and stomach. He found her costume and tossed it to Tiifay.
"Get her dressed," he commanded.
Tiifay complied, with Natak coming over to help her wrap the black net around Mission and tie it off where needed. Ummi brought Missions sandals and proceeded to slip them on her feet.
Once they were finished, Dev went to her and grabbed her arm and began pulling her to the entrance. Mission gave no resistance. Ummi, Korinn, and Tiifay kept their eyes averted. Arili and Natak had silent tears fall down their face while Cistra openly sobbed. They all knew what was coming. They had seen it too many times.
Mission was led down through the tunnels, deeper and deeper into the palace. She was dimly aware that this was the same way she had taken when she saw Zaalbar meet his fate. Sure enough, they soon came to the arena surrounding the pit. Dev took her to the same spot that Zaalbar had stood and activated the same metal plank. He pushed her along it until she got to the edge. Then with a final push he sent her over the side and into the pit. He looked down at her and saw that she was half lying on her side, her head hung, as she slowly got to her feet. Dev went to the cage release and pulled it, opening the only thing separating Mission and the krayt dragon. Without sparing her a final glance, he left and made his way to Motta's luxury barge.
Steam flared out of the dragon's nostrils as it inhaled her scent. Mission saw its eyes glitter as it took her in. She suddenly realized she didn't want to die. For the first time in a month she felt something break through the numbness: fear and a strange desire to live. She looked around for some way out or some way to fight the dragon off. Of course, she saw nothing, just bones and dirt.
The dragon slid one foot out of the cage and into the pit, a low rumble building in its throat. Mission gasped and tried not to panic, sure that would only antagonize the beast further. But she could see no way out. The dragon roared at her, Mission clasping her hands to her head in effort to drown the sound out. It came forward again, bringing its entire hulking mass into the pit. It snapped its jaws at her. Mission was ready to resign herself to going down the same way as Zaalbar when she heard a familiar chattering behind her.
She turned and saw a Jawa standing at an open trap door, frantically motioning for her to come on. Mission didn't know how the Jawa had gotten there or why, but the present moment was not the best time for questions. She ran to the door with the dragon following, stomping quickly behind her, shaking the ground. The Jawa moved to the side and Mission dove for the door. The Jawa slammed it shut behind her. Mission could hear the dragon's angry roars. She scuttled back further from the door, almost choking on her cries.
The Jawa studied her, curious. He spoke to her quickly, telling her to follow him. Mission managed to get to her feet once more and walked behind the scurrying Jawa. He led her through many small tunnels, Mission having to duck and even almost crawl through one. They finally came to a hatch door in the ceiling. He opened the door and climbed out with Mission doing the same. When they came out, Mission took in her surroundings. She saw Motta's palace off in the distance and the walls of Anchorhead in the other direction. She turned to the Jawa and tried to thank him. He waved her thanks off and chattered at her.
Mission had a hard time following everything he said in his native Jawaese, but she gleaned what she could.
"Remember me? You helped free some of my people from the Tusken Raiders."
"Yes, Iziz, I remember you," she said, her voice a little hoarse from going so long without use.
"We do some trading with Motta the Hutt on occasion which is why we were there earlier today. We saw Dev leading you to the dungeons. We know what pet Motta keeps down there. We also know of a secret entrance to the pit and we arrived at the trap door in time to save you. After what you did for us, we had to at least try to save you."
Iziz offered her a ride to Anchorhead. Once there, he gave her some credits, enough for her to buy passage off of Tatooine.
"My clan's debt has been repaid. Thank you for your help in the past and much luck to you in the future." Iziz waved at her before turning and leaving.
* * * * *
Mission managed to get passage to Coronet on the planet Corellia. She had heard that the planet was attempting to establish a trade route with Kashyyyk. She decided to help with that where she could, maybe work on a trade vessel or something similar. The thought of helping Zaalbar's people gave her a purpose, one that she desperately clung to.
"Hey, we're getting ready to take off," the owner of the ship she had booked passage on told her. She nodded and boarded the ship, not looking back at the deserts of Tatooine which had changed her life forever.