The Best Laid Plans - A Star Wars Serial Adventure

Author's Note: I created these characters and situations, but it's all within the Star Wars galaxy which sprung from the mind of George Lucas.

Episode I

Nearly twenty years have passed since Chancellor Palpatine all but destroyed the Jedi order and proclaimed himself Emperor of the Galaxy.

Despite the formation of The Alliance to Restore the Republic, the Empire's sphere of influence continues to spread to the more distant worlds in the outer systems.

One such world, Galathu, has yet to fall under complete control of the Empire, and two young friends look to the stars for a future of excitement away from the doldrums of their insignificant world…

Chapter One

Soraa Matii was just closing the weapons shop on the main street of town. She was a young woman, very tall and thin but could be considered attractive at least by some. Her shoulder-length hair framed her fair-complexioned face with gentle waves of coppery brown. Her caramel eyes projected both an innocence and intensity that seemed to be at odds with one another.

Goan Akkar, who ran the shop, was a portly middle-aged man who still had a full head of hair despite the stress of the restrictions imposed by the Empire on weapons sales. Most of his customers were too afraid to purchase the more-powerful, and outlawed, weapons that provided him a reasonable profit margin. He managed to stay in business, thanks to the precious few patrons who had the nerve purchase the illegal weapons from his small secret stock. To round out his business, Goan also bought, traded and repaired a large selection of weapons.

Soraa took her job very seriously, learning as much as she could about all kinds of ranged weapons – blaster pistols, rifles and carbines, and even the more archaic slug-throwers. Under Goan's tutelage, she became a decent markswoman. Ever since she took the job at Goan's weapons shop almost three years ago, he considered her the daughter he never had.

Soraa locked up the last transparasteel cabinet and brushed the dust off her nondescript tunic and trousers. "I'm heading out now, Old Man!"

Goan replied in jest, "Eh? What was that you said?"

He loved to feign deafness whenever Soraa called him 'Old Man'. He knew she said it in a fond manner and enjoyed playing the part. And she knew good and well that he had extremely sharp hearing.

Soraa walked over to Goan and patted him on the back of his shoulder. "I'm going home now," she told him as she gave him a quick kiss on his cheek.

"Good night, my dear," he replied.

Just as Goan thought of her as his daughter, Soraa thought of him as her father. She barely knew her birth parents. She was born here on the moon of Galathu and lived with them on Krrad, Galathu's arid sister moon. When she was very young, her parents were killed in an accident in the bronzium mine they worked in. They were her only family so she was sent back to Galathu to live in an orphanage.

Soraa walked out of the shop and down the main road. Sim Katall was a fairly small town so there weren't many diversions for the locals. But there was one bar that was very popular, and was the largest and oldest – Norrel's Haven.

Norrel first opened The Haven, as the locals call it, over fifty standard years ago, when Sim Katall was first established. It had gone through several owners after he died of old age. Every subsequent owner had kept relatively true to his vision for The Haven as an all-encompassing place for the locals to forget about their drab lives for a little while.

Soraa walked to The Haven, as she did most nights after work. There was a fair amount of speeder traffic and some pedestrians, but not a lot of artificial lighting. The gas giant Viin dominated the night sky, bathing the town in a subtle lavender hue from the sun's light reflected off its banded purple atmosphere.

Sim Katall was a relatively safe place to be. But just in case, Soraa always kept a small hold-out blaster in her boot. And she knew how to use it if she ever had an unwelcome close encounter, which thankfully hadn't happened in a long time.

Most of the people in Sim Katall were of various human and near-human races, but there were also some representatives of the odder-looking species like the green-skinned, snouted Rodians or the three-eyed, goat-faced Gran.

Soraa walked into the bar section of The Haven. The tavern was very crowded, as often was the case. The countless conversations created an incomprehensible wash of noise. Although Basic was the most commonly spoken language on Galathu, there were a few other languages being spoken by the varied crowd. A couple of server droids were making their rounds in between the tables. An automated music player could barely be heard over the din and a crashball match displayed on the HoloNet monitor.

Soraa made her way over to the main bar off to her left and sat down right in front of a bar maid busy washing glasses with her back to the counter.

Soraa yelled above the din, "Hey! Gimme a mug of your finest bantha spit here!" She wore a big grin on her face.

The bar maid stopped her work and stood motionless for a moment, her back still to Soraa. "If you don't stop teasing me like that, I'm going to beat you into gundark poodoo!" the bar maid barked in response.

Without warning, the bar maid quickly spun around and shot her fist right at Soraa's head. She dodged and caught the bar maid's wrist. They both started laughing.

"How's business tonight, Ina?" Soraa asked the bar maid, who handed her a mug of ale.

"Take a look around! I think we're doing rather well. I just wish I could see a little more of the profits in my pay."

Ja'Ina Anour, or 'Ina' as Soraa called her, was a pretty twenty-year-old woman with a honey-brown complexion and raven hair in a thick braid that reached down to the small of her back. Her dark, exotic eyes seemed to emanate an inner peace that could transmit into the spirit of anyone who looked into them. In a stark contrast to Soraa's tall and lean frame, Ja'Ina was petite and more athletic in build. She wore a crop top with a knee-length skirt.

Soraa and Ja'Ina were best friends, having known each other since they were young. Ja'Ina was anonymously left at the orphanage when she was a year old. Just over three years ago, the young women left the orphanage together and moved to Sim Katall.

As they grew up together, they dreamed of the day they could leave their backwater world. The young friends found life here too boring and wanted to do something that counted in the galaxy. Living in Sim Katall meant that they did not hear much news from off-world, save for the HoloNet and a few patrons of The Haven. It just wasn't a big place for spacers to meet and discuss their doings.

Though still sparsely-populated, the populations on Galathu and Krrad surged in recent years with people who wanted to get away from the war between the rebellion and the Empire. Living on an insignificant world had the advantage that the Empire's influence was minimal at best. The locals did not want to get involved in the galaxy-wide conflict.

Many of the older people in town grumbled about the Empire's draconian laws, remembering the days of the Republic where democracy was much more common. Those of Soraa and Ja'Ina's generation around here didn't know what to think of the Empire. The locals were able live by a more lax interpretation of the strict Imperial laws. Galathu was an out-of-the-way world at the distant end of the Mid-Rim that didn't see much Imperial presence on a regular basis, as long as nothing attracted their attention. Still, keeping words of dissatisfaction toward the Empire to a minimum was the best policy. One never knew if they had any eyes or ears nearby. In spite of the ominous influence of the Empire, people could still enjoy themselves.

Ja'Ina went back to work and Soraa stayed to enjoy more drinks until The Haven closed and Ja'Ina was done. They walked home together late that night.

It was even darker by that time since Viinn was much lower in the sky. But Galathu's giant mother planet still filled the entire span of the horizon, its purple light breaking through small gaps in the tall trees of the nearby forest.

The young women shared a modest flat near one of the agrofarms on the edge of town. They were saving their money to get off-world on some passenger ship from Jum Katar, Galathu's spaceport. They wanted to get out and experience the galaxy while they were still young.

Tired and somewhat intoxicated, Soraa collapsed on the front room couch and turned on the HoloNet News. It was the same stuff as usual – Imperial agents arrested a group of rebels, the newly-appointed Moff gave a speech in the regional capital, and so forth. She had it on more for background noise.

"It's amazing how nothing of what you hear about from the people at The Haven ever gets shown on the HoloNet," Soraa sighed. "Things must be so much more interesting out there than the Empire wants us to see."

Ja'Ina answered back as she walked to the bedroom, "all the more reason to get out of here. How was business today?"

"Not good, as usual. I don't know how the Old Man can stay in business. Most of what's legal is so low-powered that they may as well be souvenir lumas for the tourists!"

Ja'Ina popped her head out of the bedroom door. "Tourists? What kind of tourists do we have around here?"

"Mynock mites!" Soraa started laughing like she was as crazy as a short-circuited droid on nuclear-powered spice.

"I think you've taken a few too many stun blasts at the range, Soraa."

Soraa sat up suddenly. "Heeeeeyyy! How do you know you don't like it if you don't try it?"

Ja'Ina let Soraa's detached comment go and went to get ready for bed. Several minutes later, Ja'Ina emerged from the bedroom in her nightclothes to bring her exhausted friend to bed, who she found fast asleep on the couch. She thought about moving Soraa for a moment, but decided to just let her sleep there as she looked very comfortable.

Ja'Ina knew inside that Soraa was frustrated that Goan was not able to pay her very well for all her hard work. His bottom line was rock bottom. This made it very hard for Soraa to save up her part of the funds so they could leave Galathu and really start their lives. Ja'Ina felt her pain.

Ja'Ina covered Soraa with a blanket and deactivated the HoloNet monitor. She then went back to the bedroom to sleep.