Best Laid Plans - A Star Wars Serial Adventure

Author's Note: While I have created the characters and the situations, it all resides in the Star Wars Universe owned by George Lucas.

This story was conceived in an episodic, serial form. To read the first episode of this story, please go to:

www fanfiction net/s/8366512/1/The-Best-Laid-Plans-Episode-I

(just need to add the missing periods, I apologize for that inconvenience)

Episode II

With their dreams of leaving their small town of Sim Katall becoming a reality, Soraa and Ja'Ina prepared to travel to the spaceport Jum Katar.

Imperial forces have moved into Sim Katall, and the young friends' small-town life comes to a bitter end as they flee certain subjugation.

Having narrowly escaped agents of the Empire, Soraa and Ja'Ina meet with their new friends and make their way towards Jum Katar in hopes to soon leave Galathu…

Chapter One

As Soraa, Ja'Ina and the band made their way towards Jum Katar the young women shared stories of what had happened since the show at the Haven. However, the young women chose not to say anything about Merek's death. The four musicians listened in pure amazement to the wild story.

Doren was impressed. "I would have never guessed by your appearance that you could do such things!"

Irsann added, "Ja'Ina has studied hand-to-hand defense for many years. I never met Soraa before, but I can see why they're such good friends."

"At any rate, we are so grateful to be traveling with you," Ja'Ina said. "I don't see us ever going back to Sim Katall."

Raelin chimed in, "Well, just be warned that there is a substantial Imperial presence at Jum Katar. You'll be able to hide amongst the larger population, but you can still attract the Empire's attention if you're not careful. Luckily, the Imperials probably never got a positive I.D. on you after killing that Stormtrooper back there. That's a fast track to the death penalty for the both of you."

Soraa broke into a cold sweat with the words 'death penalty'. "I know. I did it without thinking. I didn't want to kill anyone."

"But you did it to protect Ja'Ina," added Raelin.

Ja'Ina looked down at her lap, sullen. "I don't think it was worth killing the trooper."

"He didn't leave me any choice," Soraa asserted.

Raelin interrupted. "The most important thing is that you're both safe, and it doesn't look like anyone's following us. We'll just drive casual so we don't catch any extra attention."

The group traveled on in the old repulsor van towards the large spaceport. As they got farther away from Sim Katall, Soraa and Ja'Ina began to feel the excitement of making their life-long dreams come true. It was easier for them to relax.

A few hours later, they all stopped for lunch and a small rest. They pulled about two-hundred meters off the road near the edge of some trees. Raelin and the rest of the band told Soraa and Ja'Ina about some of their more interesting travels around the planet as they ate.

"Hey, Doren," Raelin called out, "do you remember the time we stopped in that speck of a town about a year ago?"

The Zabrak perked up. "Oh yeah, that place made Sim Katall look like a metropolis. I don't even remember the name. That was an interesting stop."

Raelin turned to the women. "The place was literally a run-down fuel stop and not much else, maybe fifty people lived there. It wasn't on our maps and we needed to stop somewhere for the night. They had a small tavern and we offered to play there for a night's stay in their little hotel. The town's administrator, who was also the constable, fuel station manager and tavern owner, agreed, so we set up. Apparently, those people didn't get much in the way of entertainment there so there was a lot of buzz about our impromptu gig."

Raelin paused to take a bite of his lunch before continuing. "So we set up in one end of the tavern since there was no real stage area and started playing. The whole town packed the place and spilled out the front door. We started with one of our ambient songs like we usually do, but we were quickly losing the crowd. So we decided to ramp it up a bit."

Irsann jumped in with a grin. "I started off with this really powerful beat, the kind that rattles your guts."

Doren cut in. "Heh heh, next thing you know all the lights started to dim in time with Irsann's beats. Before we knew it, everything went out – sound, power, lights, everything."

Irsann picked it up from there. "It turned out we blew the town's entire power grid, to the point that their main generator was in flames!"

All of the musicians laughed.

Soraa was fascinated. "So what happened next?"

Raelin answered, "What else? The townspeople were as mad as rabid womp rats. They basically kicked us out of their town."

Doren added, "at least they didn't run us out of town!"

All the musicians laughed again, and this time Soraa and Ja'Ina laughed along.

"So at least they were nice to you," Ja'Ina said.

"I don't know if nice is the right word for it," Doren said gruffly. "We had plenty of things thrown at us as we drove off."

Soraa noticed that Ag'ran never said anything the whole time. The Bith just sat off to the side, focused on his lunch.

Pitching a thumb towards him, Soraa asked, "What's up with him?"

Raelin smiled. "Oh Ag'ran? He isn't a man of many words. But when he speaks through the music, you can't get him to shut up!" He chuckled.

Ag'ran looked up, shrugged and went back to his food.

Ja'Ina stood up. "I hear a stream back in the trees. Soraa, let's go freshen up."

Soraa also stood up, brushing at the dirt on her clothes. "Sounds good to me!" She turned back to the musicians with a suspecting eye. "You boys better not follow us." She raised her blaster pistol up in plain view of her audience.

The band feigned fright. Raelin held his hands up, "Us? No of course not! Just don't take too long. We have a gig to get to!" He gave her a wink and a playful grin.

Soraa grabbed a set of fresh clothes and strutted off after Ja'Ina. Doren and Irsann couldn't help but stare and admire her feminine form.

Raelin slapped his band mates' heads. "Hey!"

After a short walk, just out of sight of the repulsor van, the young women got to a large stream. The clear cold water ran swift but not too strong. The water was almost two meters at its deepest, more than enough to for them to wash up. The tree cover wasn't very thick, so there was quite a bit of warm sunlight shining in contrasting the cold of the water.

When they were done, Soraa and Ja'Ina felt refreshed and invigorated. They changed into fresh clothes – Soraa donned her skin-tight shorts and a matching narrow tube top, and Ja'Ina her knee-length skirt and another crop top.

Just when they started to walk back Ja'Ina stopped short. She muttered, "Something's not right..."

Soraa scanned all directions around them. "What do you mean, Ina?"

"We must be cautious. Come on."

Soraa instinctively pulled out her blaster pistol and the pair continued to walk slowly back to the others. The friends got to the edge of the trees and what they saw made them both immediately drop prone amongst the bushes. It was the last thing they wanted to see right now.

A speeder with three Stormtroopers had stopped next to the van. Two of the troopers were talking to the band with their rifles out. The third was rummaging through the van, tossing out whatever he could find.

Soraa was flustered. "Stang! We stayed too long!"

"It's okay," Ja'Ina whispered back. Let's just see what happens. Hopefully, the guys won't say anything about us."

"What about our stuff? How will they explain that?"

"I took our sacks and my quarterstaff and stowed them out of sight. That trooper will have to get through all the music gear before finding them."

Soraa went pale. "Oh no..."

"What is it?"

"I left my DL-18 out of my bag. I'm sure the trooper will find it..."

"The guys should still be able to get away with it since it's technically legal. Raelin shouldn't have a problem coming up with a story for it."

"I hope you're right." Soraa bit her lip, disappointed with her carelessness.

A few minutes passed. It appeared that the two troopers were giving the band a harsh interrogation. The third continued to throw stuff out of the van. One piece of gear after another came tumbling out, much to the musicians' dismay. Then, Soraa and Ja'Ina saw the trooper stop and step out of the van. He was holding Soraa's other blaster.

He walked over to the other two and showed them the weapon. He then stepped forward and appeared to be asking Raelin about the blaster. Raelin said a few things and without warning, the trooper clubbed him in the head with the pistol. The women gasped as Raelin fell to his knees holding his head. The other musicians jumped forward to help him. The other troopers pulled their blaster rifles on them and they all stopped in their tracks.

Soraa immediately drew a bead on the assaulting trooper's head, ready to shoot. With everything she and Ja'Ina went through, she no longer had any reservations about using her blaster to kill any Imperial agents. She bit her lip and slowly began to squeeze the trigger. Ja'Ina suddenly pulled Soraa's arms down, causing her to release the trigger.

Soraa whispered harshly at her, "Ina! Why did you stop me? I would have had him!"

"Then what?" Ja'Ina whispered back. "We'd have two more troopers to deal with. That would have been too difficult from this distance. Besides, you don't want the guys to get any more involved in our mess than they already are, do you?"

Soraa stared out at the scene. "No... You're right." She sighed.

"That's right. Just relax, let things play out and everything will be okay."

It was very hard for Soraa to relax while watching the Stormtroopers abuse their friends. She really thought that she could squeeze off three rapid shots and down all the troopers before they knew what happened. But rationally, she knew that even with her skills it would be difficult at best – maybe two of them if she was lucky. But that would also put the musicians at even more risk of injury or worse. Soraa resigned to watch and wait.

After more words were exchanged between the Stormtroopers and the band, the trooper threw the blaster pistol on the ground. The troopers got back into their speeder and drove off in a cloud of dust.

Once Soraa and Ja'Ina were certain the Imperials were gone, they darted out of the bushes and ran back to the others as fast as they could. Raelin was still on the ground, with the others around him. His platinum locks were stained red with his blood.

Soraa called out, "Raelin! Raelin! Are you okay?"

Doren intercepted her. Anger shone in his Zabrak eyes. "You stay away from him! Stay away from all of us!"

"W-whaa?" Soraa was stunned by his response.

"I knew we shouldn't have taken you with us today! We never had any problems with the Empire before! We keep politically neutral with our music because we don't want to have the Imperial Board of Culture on our backs! Now you've gone and brought the Imps with you! Go away!"

Ja'Ina stepped in. "Doren! Calm down for a minute. What did the troopers want?"

Irsann answered for the angry Zabrak. "They claimed it was a routine stop in their search for rebels. They never mentioned they were looking for anyone in particular."

Doren was furious. He pointed at the young women. "That doesn't mean the Imperials weren't looking for these two! They aren't going to say who they're looking for until they find them, so they don't tip their targets off! What other rebels are there around here besides Soraa and Ja'Ina?"

Ja'Ina had to interject at his accusation. "Whoa, whoa there Doren! We're not rebels."

Doren stepped towards Ja'Ina, Irsann held him back. "You killed a Stormtrooper! You destroyed their droids!"

Soraa retorted, "It was an unfortunate situation, Doren! We didn't want to kill anyone!"

Doren pointed to the heavy blaster on Soraa's hip. "That thing is highly illegal under Imperial law! Even I know that! I knew we should have left you behind when I first saw it!"

"I didn't want to use it! I told you I tried to stun him first!"

Raelin was tired of the bickering. "Enough already!"

Doren, Ja'Ina and Soraa all stopped their arguing and looked over at Raelin. Ag'ran helped him to stand up. Raelin had a bloody bump on his head, but was otherwise unhurt. He was a little dizzy and had a bit of difficulty with standing, so Ag'ran helped him sit down in the hatch of the van.

Raelin groaned, "Doren, cool your hyperdrive. We can't blame Soraa and Ja'Ina for all of this."

"But Raelin!" the Zabrak growled.

"You know as well as I do that it was only a matter of time before we'd have issues with the Empire. Just because we try to stay out of the political scene doesn't mean that they're not gonna mess with us. We can keep pretending that this isn't happening out there, but it is. The Empire is squeezing everybody who's not with them. And these days, you don't have to be against them to be against them."

Irsann added, "Raelin's right, Doren. Besides, I'm surprised we haven't had more problems with that blasted human-centric Imperial doctrine."

Ag'ran nodded in agreement while Doren winced at the mention of the anti-non-human doctrine.

Raelin touched his tender wound and twitched with the pain. "We can't be blind to it anymore. All we can do is our best to keep our noses clean. None of us like the Empire, but we're not in a position to fight them. I think Ja'Ina and Soraa are in a similar position."

The Zabrak couldn't believe what Raelin just said. "A similar position?! They have the weapons!" He pointed at the young women.

Soraa stepped right into Doren's face. "Look, we don't like the Empire either given what we've seen and heard! We didn't intend to kill anybody when we decided to leave Galathu long ago, and definitely not now either. I wish I could undo what I did. But I can't, and I'll have to live with it. Believe me Doren, if it looks like Ja'Ina and I are making things dangerous for you, we will leave."

Doren pointed into her face, almost touching the tip of his finger to her nose. "I'll hold you to that!" He turned and stormed away to load their gear back into the repulsor van, grumbling the whole time.

The other three musicians walked up to the women.

"You don't have to do that, you know," Raelin reassured them.

Irsann agreed. "Yeah, we've expected problems for quite some time now. There isn't any reason to believe that trouble came our way because of you."

"Yeah, but try telling that to Doren," Ja'Ina sighed.

"Don't worry about him," said Raelin. "He's always been a bit gruff on occasion. The Empire is especially a sore point for him. When Doren was young, the Imps arrested his father and sold him off as a slave just because he was a Zabrak. He died after a couple of years of hard labor in a spice mine, and Doren felt helpless to do anything about it. But don't tell him you know anything about this."

Soraa and Ja'Ina silently nodded in agreement. Their hearts broke for Doren and they better understood his attitude.

Ag'ran walked up to Soraa and Ja'Ina, bowed and grasped their hands.

"What's this about?" Soraa asked.

Raelin smiled. "He considers you his friends, and he understands your position."

Soraa smiled at the Bith. "Thank you, I'm happy to be your friend. I love the music you make!"

Ag'ran backed away, seemingly embarrassed.

Raelin wiped the blood from his long hair. "Okay, let's get back in the van and get to Jum Katar as soon as we can."

Everyone got into the repulsor van and they drove off towards the spaceport. The tension was thick enough to be cut by a vibroblade. Doren quietly sulked as he drove and Ag'ran was writing some new music down on a data pad. Raelin and Irsann conversed with the young women in the rear seats.