Kad cursed at himself. He'd nearly given it all away. When Kiln had grabbed the girl and pulled her up against him, Kad had nearly drawn his blaster and shot him right there. It was just a lucky break he hadn't gone for his lightsaber. Kad stepped back, forcing his weight down on the deck. He needed to get out of this ship now, before he got the girl killed.
He reached out in the force, sensing how many other beings were on the ship. Twelve others on the ship, plus three in the fighters. The twelve on Death's Revenge were, as far as he could tell through the force, the companions of Kiln Verskin, not other prisoners like the girl. Calculating quickly, Kad figured he could make it out of the ship's firing range before the fighter would have a chance to get a lock on him. But what about the girl?
Kiln was playing with the girl's sparse rags now, winding his hands over her body. As the girl flinched and fought to get away from him, she looked into Kad's eyes with a look of total fear and hatred. I can't just leave her. Not with this man. Kad grabbed his blaster and swung it up to point at Kiln's scarred face.
Kiln gasped and ducked, pulling the girl over him. Kad swept a leg out, knocking Kiln to the ground. The girl toke the chance just like he'd hoped she would and wriggled out of Kiln's arms. Kiln groped at her, trying to get her in front of him again as a shield, but she stood up and raced to the corner of the docking bay.
With his living shield gone, Kiln reached for his blaster. He'd gotten it out of his hands and raise toward Kad before Kad could stop him. Dodging blaster fire, reached toward his fighter and used the force to yank open the compartment and pull out his lightsaber. He rolled down on the deck trying to draw Kiln's line of fire away from the girl. His lightsaber landed neatly in his left and he flicked it on instinctively. The familiar hum of the weapon steadied him, calming his nerves. Getting to his feet once again, he placed himself between Kiln and the girl.
Kiln stared up at him, no longer firing. "You're as jetii" he spat in Kad's face. "Jetii scum."
"I'm more than that." Kad said as he kicked Kiln's blaster out of the man's hands. "I'm the hope for my people's future."
Kiln laughed. "You're people are dead." He reached for the blaster, but Kad stuck the blue blade just below Kiln's chin. Kiln gulped. "Dead and gone."
"You're wrong. I'm still here." Whenever he held his mother's blade, Kad was reminded of his earliest memories, playing with a stuffed bantha while she looked down at him. And his father, standing behind her, talking to her about one day having a kid of their own. The pain coming into his mother's eyes. "I'm still here and I'm not going away."
Ba'buir had explained it to him. His mother had been a Jedi, a commander who'd fallen in love with one of her clone troopers. But she won't leave the Jedi order. She'd had Kad in secret, telling no one but the trooper's Sargent, Kal Skirata. Kal had taken Kad in as a baby, raised him until they'd felt it was time to tell his father. But his mother had died shortly after that, killed in the purges. And Kad's father, the clone trooper Darman, had been stuck behind Imperial lines, separated from his only son.
Kiln was still laughing. "Why are you even wearing that armour? You're no mando'a. You're scum, aruetii. And whoever kept you alive all these years is too."
Kad felt a flash of anger. This was the traitor, lying before him on the deck. Ba'buir wasn't a traitor, Aunt Laseema wasn't a traitor, Jaing wasn't a traitor. And Uncle Bardan, who had been a Jedi but who'd left the order before the end of the Clone Wars, certainly was not a traitor. Kiln was the aruetii, not Kad or his family.
With a savage yell, Kad rammed the lightsaber blade up into Kiln's head, twisting it around with a level of hate that surprised him. Kiln fell back on to the deck, eyes staring blankly up at the metal ceiling.
Kad turned his back on the body and walked over to the corner when the girl had fled. She was weeping. When she heard him come over, she shrank back, pressing herself into the metal bulkheads. "You just killed him."
"Yeah, it's kind of what I do."
The girl, free of the death lock grip on her arm, backed away from him. "But you've got a lightsaber. Jedi are supposed to be the good guys."
She'd heard stories then, she couldn't have been old enough during the purges to really truly remember Jedi. "I'm not just a Jedi. I'm a Mandolarian."
Terror shot across her face. "You're one of them. You're a monster, like him." She pointed a shaking finger at the body of Kiln gently smoking on the floor.
"No, I'm not." Kad held out a hand to her. "Now, come with me or stay here. It's all the same to me."
Hesitantly, she grabbed his hand. He helped her to her feet, being as gentle as he could. She limped as they walked to the access hatch in the floor. Kad led, sliding around to help her climb into the small cockpit. "I'm sorry there's not more room." She didn't reply, simply curling up behind the pilot's chair. Kad closed the hatch and disconnected from the larger ship.
The other pilots weren't expecting him to escape. He powered up the jets and made a micro-hyperspace jump. When he dropped out two seconds late, he was on the other side of the star system. It was a risky move, but with the force, he could pull it off with ease.
Kad opened a comlink channel to Ba'buir. "Kad, how you doing ad'ike?" Ba'buir said without giving Kad a chance to start. "Don't tell me, you're in trouble again and need me to bail you out."
"No I got myself out. But I'm bringing someone else home with me."
"You've got room in the fighter?"
"I better have room. She's already in here with me."
"She? Our Kad's found a girl." That was Jaing, poking his head into the view screen. "What's the pretty lady's name?"
The girl spoke up from behind Kad's ear. "Merila."
Jaing stroked his chin. "Merila eh? That's a pretty name. Nice going Kad."
Ba'buir shoved Jaing out of the view of the camera. "You coming home Kad'ike or you want more time with your new lady?"
Behind him, Marila gasped. "I'm coming home Ba'buir. And she's not my lady." Off screen Kad heard Jaing chuckle.
"It'll be good to have you back ad'ike. How soon?"
"As soon as I can." With that, Kad closed the comlink channel and set the nav computer for Mandalore. It was good to be going home. Merila shuffled around in the tight space behind his chair. He hoped she would be all right until they got to Mandalore. It would be a long trip, but from there she could start a new life. Ba'buir would help her with that. "Home at last."