Alone. That one word echoed in the small girl's mind as she slid between two loads of cargo in the Upper Industrial Sector's docking bay. Her thick dark hair provided the proper camouflage for her dark blue skin in the poor lighting near the ship's ramp. Beneath her black bangs were two red eyes, with no pupils, that were trained on the guard standing directly next to her target.
The small metal case didn't seem like much and normally it wouldn't catch anyone's eye, but the young girl knew enough about Nar Shaddaa to know that something very important and valuable was inside. She knew that seven people surrounding one metal case meant something very valuable was inside the case, but the Hutts didn't want anyone to know what it was. The girl didn't care much what was in the box; she simply knew it was a ticket to a better life.
Tears welled in the girls eyes as she recalled the situation that turned her into a thief. Her mother and father were Chiss like her, and they always seemed to be hiding her from something, or someone. Exploring was one of her only hobbies since it was usually too dangerous to linger at their small house. She had always seen the filthy beggars lurking among the streets of her home world, but she never dreamed she would join them one day.
It was the Empire's fault, she had decided. If they hadn't sent the assassins after her parents, she would never be scraping by for food day in and day out like she currently was. Her hatred for the Empire fueled her search for something with enough value to get her food, water, clothes, and anything else she wanted. The object inside that metal case, whatever it was, would turn her life around, she just knew it!
Guards are stupid. It's too easy to slip past them, yet they think they do a good job guarding whatever it is they're guarding. The truth is, us Nar Shaddaa street-rats have become incredibly talented at taking what isn't ours while evading notice. Even I a young boy of twelve, know the tricks of the trade well enough to sneak onto a heavily guarded loading dock. Officials know nothing.
The boy pulled the hood of his tattered cloak over his head to hide his bright red hair and the flashing lights of his cybernetics. As he did so, he ducked behind a pile of metal crates, barely evading the notice of one of the brawnier, taller guards. Peering around the other side, he saw the object of his hunt: a metal case. He didn't know what was in it, but he'd had to dodge around seven men with huge blasters to reach it, which made it important. And important means I can trade it for a lot of money.
It wasn't that the boy liked stealing, per say, but it was unarguably thrilling and he needed things to trade for either food or credits. As long as he could remember he'd been a street-rat from the slums of Nar Shaddaa. He had only the vaguest memory of arriving on the planet of neon advertisements and filthy liars. Before that, he was told, he had lived on Dromund Kaas, the capital planet of the Empire, raised to work as a slave. But a wealthy Hutt bought him and brought him to this planet. It hadn't been long before the boy had grown sick of being a Hutt's slave and freed himself along with many other slaves. Unfortunately, he hadn't exactly thought about what would await him when he reached the freedom of the streets. As it turned out, his life as a slave had been much the same as the one he was currently living, but there was no possible way he was returning to slavery after all he'd done to be free.
The boy watched the guards for a long while, trying to decide the best strategy for acquiring the crate, and eventually ended with: I'm just going to make a run for it. Making sure that his hood would stay secured over his head; the cyborg darted out and pounded to the crate in the middle of the dock.
"Stop that kid!" One of the guards shouted. Blaster shots hit the ground in front of and behind the boy, who was sprinting as fast as he could, one arm outstretched to retrieve the crate as soon as possible.
When his fingers touched cold metal, the boy made a sharp turn and barreled toward the dock exit. As he ran, he was vaguely aware of a high-pitched, female voice joining in the shouts and blaster shots of the seven guards. They can't even run fast to make up for their stupidity, and they can't shoot well to make up for their slowness. Someone should replace official guards with street-rats and maybe more valuable items would make it to their rightful owners, the boy thought, darting into an alley devoid of the omnipresent neon lights that dominated the "better" sections of Nar Shaddaa.
Within moments, the boy was no longer being pursued by the guards, and he slowed to a jog and wound his way through the labyrinth of alley-ways to his favorite vendor: Lyeesha.
A grin swept across the girl's face as she noticed the perfect opening to acquire the metal case. The grin vanished however, when a hooded figure nabbed it before she did. Her eyes narrowed and she slunk around the back of the cargo. She knew every short-cut and alleyway in Nar Shaddaa, at least in the Upper Industrial Sector. When she was no longer constricted to the crowded docks, she tore after the thief as fast as she could. "Hey! You!" she shouted as she neared the figure.
If the girl was using her head, she would have realized running after a fellow thief, who appeared to be stronger then her, was a very bad idea. But the metal case was her only shot at finding a way to survive her cruel and unfair life.
That thought alone was enough to spur the ten-year-old Chiss on. To her delight, the figure didn't seem to hear her shout, or chose to ignore it, but the person had slowed down. Seizing her moment of opportunity, the girl charged and dove at the figure. "You can't take that!"
The boy turned and the hood fell off his head. The girl's eyes widened in surprise as she stared at a boy who looked a few years older than her. What stood out about the boy was his read hair. Not orange hair-red hair. She let out a startled yelp as she fell back and pushed herself further away from him. Who has natural hair like that? Red is an unnatural color!
The boy fell to the ground just as he neared the vendor. He flipped over, disentangling himself from the attacker, and said, "What are you, some sort of agent that they send after thieves that the guards can't catch themselves?" Then he took a close look at the attacker and had to hold back a laugh. "You-You're a little girl!" Well, not just any girl... a chiss... her eyes freak me out, I mean, there's not pupil! It's just a red eye. I mean, there's not even a little black pupil to disrupt all that red! Not even a pupil!
The cyborg picked himself up, biting back a laugh, and said, "Listen, girl, I can take what I please, especially if I'm good enough to get it from seven armed men." With that, he left the chiss on the ground and went to the vendor. He didn't get the best price for the object in the crate-which looked like a glowing crystal-as he didn't know what it was or what it was worth. But he got enough money to feed himself for the next few weeks if he ate sparingly.
As he was leaving to return to his rooftop "territory", he passed the chiss girl hiding in the shadows. As her eyes had not pupils, he didn't know whether or not she was looking at him, but he still felt guilty that he would eat and she wouldn't. So, partly because those eyes scared him half to death and he was sure they had magical abilities that would allow her to kill him, but mostly because he didn't think anyone deserved to go hungry-not even aliens who had eyes with no pupils-he stopped and tossed the girl some credits. It was enough for her to eat for at least a week, maybe more if she was careful. Then he jogged off into the city.