disclaimer=standard

Anything you recognise is either JK's, George's or Disney's. Anything else probably belongs to them too.

/disclaimer

o_ooo000ooo_o

I stared at the tiny red dot sitting at the sparsely populated edge of the galaxy map. "All right. I guess that means we're heading to Pantora," I decided.

"Captain, if I may offer a suggestion," Feylis said hesitantly, looking nervously at HK.

I glanced over at him. "Go ahead."

"Your desire for self-sufficiency is both remarkable and commendable, but ABPY does maintain a full crew compliment for this ship. You dismissed them earlier, but they remain on standby. It would be far more practical to recall them than attempt to operate this vessel alone."

I blinked. "Ah, right. This ship isn't suitable for one person to fly, I take it?"

Feylis swallowed, and in a very diplomatic tone, said, "I'm afraid not."

I glanced down at the navicomputer. "So, all that stuff I just went through, arguing with HK, getting him to locate Anakin… I could have just called the ship's navigator over and have him do it?"

"Her. And that course of action would have been somewhat more efficient," he replied with the exaggerated care of someone desperate to avoid offending a powerful wizard who owned a psychotic, homicidal droid.

HK turned his head to stare straight at the lawyer, malevolence in his gaze. "Statement: You're on my list, Bothan."

I tried not to grin at HK's obvious disgruntlement. "Now, now, HK, if you hadn't been so intimidating, Feylis here might have mentioned that there was a navigator nearby who could have done the calculations I needed. What has that taught you?"

"Answer: That you need to bring an astromech droid along as an ablative shield against inconsequential requests made of me, Master."

I sighed. "Close enough. Feylis?"

"Er, I will summon the bridge crew immediately," Feylis said, rising and putting a large distance between himself and HK.


Having employees to run the ship was, admittedly, very agreeable. I didn't need to spend hours running through an unfamiliar checklist to take off. I could sit back and watch the professionals do it in a tenth of the time.

Before we took off, I politely informed the pilot that the ship was now far lighter than she was used to. I then reminded her of that fact after she ignored me and almost crashed us into a nearby tower.

The Captain, a dour, elderly fellow by the name of Dillion Antilles, politely requested that I remove the enchantments I'd added. For some reason, he felt quite disturbed about the prospect of someone modifying the mass of his ship. Despite my assurances that it was perfectly safe, he insisted that as he was ultimately responsible for the safety of those aboard, his wishes in this instance be followed.

I absented myself from the bridge, and wandered through the ship, visiting each of the runes I'd set. I pulled each runestone from the bulkheads, wincing at the effort that had all gone to waste. But my childhood made it perfectly clear to me that people would never accept what they didn't understand.

I let the Captain know I'd removed my 'enhancements', and we entered hyperspace soon after. I wandered from the bridge to the main luxury suite, where Feylis had set up an office with dozens of computer systems that linked back to the headoffice of ABPY.

"The Captain seems to be a bit on the conservative side," I told him.

The Bothan inclined his head. "The Antilles are a Corellian military family of note, Captain. One that has produced many fine naval officers. They have a reputation for proficient, capable leadership and are much in demand. Not just on Corellia, either. There are Antilles commanding military and civilian ships registered on other wealthy core worlds such as Alderaan. It was quite the coup for ABPY to retain his services."

"Fair enough."

He tapped a datapad. "I have received some updates from the main office. There have been developments on some of your cases in the past few hours," he informed me. "If you allow me some time to review them, I can give you a brief."

I waved a hand absently. "By all means. I've got some things I'd like to check up on myself."

I filled a plate with a variety of different foods from the extensive buffet table, and sat down at a workstation. I opened my bounty hunter guild's message board and scanned the contents.

"Huh, that's interesting."

"Is there something I can assist with, Captain?"

I looked over at Feylis. "No, I was just noting that the Muun I placed a bounty on a little while ago has ended up dead. Apparent suicide by strangulation."

The lawyer blinked. "I beg your pardon, suicide by what?"

"Strangulation," I repeated.

He considered that for a moment. "Do you mean, auto-asphyxiation?"

"Nope. Strangulation."

He frowned. "That's impossible for almost all sentient, oxygen-breathing species, if my school xenobiology teacher was to be believed."

I pointed at the screen. "That's what it says here. San Hill, deceased male Muun, cause of death – strangulation. Last seen entering a room and locking himself in. Body located several hours later when he didn't respond to an alarm. Scans show no one entering or leaving beforehand. Preliminary assessment – suicide by strangulation." I snickered at the report. "I should point out that the actual assessment is being disputed by almost everyone involved with the investigation, but they've been unable to come up with a better explanation."

Feylis looked at me oddly. "Given your unique talents and interest in this individual, I suspect you will be a, well, a suspect."

I shrugged. "I'd be terribly disappointed if I wasn't. After all, I was only on the other side of the galaxy, in a room full of lawyers at the time in question. It's practically a slam dunk case."

Feylis sighed. "Flippancy aside, you do have the ability to teleport. You can even take people along with you. Satisfying this particular murder's 'opportunity' criteria would be relatively trivial in an investigation; as it would require nothing more than forcing me to testify against you."

"Any murder. Any crime really," I pointed out with a shrug. "I'm sure there were hundreds that occurred while I was just in the fresher."

Feylis nodded. "Thousands, no doubt. It would be remiss of me to fail to remind you that Madame Burrell is undoubtedly scouring the statutes for a crime with which to charge you."

"I'm sure Rigel relishes the chance to help her make herself look like an idiot again," I replied with amusement.

HK hefted his hand cannon. "Statement: There are more direct ways to prevent any such trifling inconveniences, Master."

I grinned at the droid. "Yes, but doing it Rigel's legal way doesn't get bloodstains on the carpet."

"Dismissive: My weapon has the power to vaporise blood," HK scoffed.

I snorted. "What about the rest of the body?"

HK paused for a second, and regarded the gun. "Contemplative: I can put more power into it," he offered.

Feylis winced. "I really, really can't be a party to this conversation. Might I change the topic? What is – excuse me, what was your interest in San Hill, Captain?"

"The bounty on me was consolidated and deposited with the banking clan on Hill's order. If he wasn't the person behind the bounty, he knew who was."

Feylis nodded. "I see. Now that he has passed on, what do you intend to do? Depending on the jurisdiction, I could file a claim on Hill's estate on your behalf. That may enable us to subpoena records that may show who he was working for. Or we could attempt to requisition-"

I held up a hand and rose from my chair. "Hang on. There are quicker ways. Would you excuse me for a few moments?"

I retreated to my cabin and locked the door. I put on The Ring, and summoned Mr. Hill's shade. As with the other Muun I'd questioned earlier, the dead banker was quite forthcoming; it was his last chance to retaliate to his betrayal.

I re-joined the pair after a few minutes.

"Query: Were you able to extract more information, Master?"

"Yep. A delightful sounding chap by the name of Darth Tyranus choked Hill to death with the Force. Darth was the source of most of the funds, as well as the orders to consolidate the bounty," I said with a nod as I took my seat.

The Bothan looked shocked. "You have another source of information? Are you certain of its validity?"

"I do, and I am."

The shocked look morphed into a reflective one. "I take it you are using your… magic? The Jedi have some skill with divination."

"Something like that. Have either of you heard of this Tyranus fellow?"

Feylis shook his head.

HK however, said, "Clarification: Are you certain the meatbag in question is called 'Darth'?"

I blinked, but nodded. "Pretty sure. Why?"

"Explanation: 'Darth' is a Sith title, not a name. It seems your magnificent butchery of the Zabrak meatbag was not the end of their legacy."

Feylis frowned. "The Sith? No one has heard of them for a thousand years. Perhaps it is someone just using their titles?"

I shrugged. "An ancient order of Force using bastards called the Sith or a new bunch of Force using bastards calling themselves the Sith. Does it make a difference?"

He gave that due consideration. "Ostensibly, very little, I'd say. But there may be practical differences in philosophy if this is a new group. In any event, the Jedi should be informed if the Sith have returned."

I nodded. "They know, but I'll give Sinube an update when we meet him on Pantora. Right now, I must place a bounty on this Tyranus fellow. We'll see how he likes being hunted."


I checked my messages again a few hours after placing the bounty on Tyranus. There was something of a schism forming rapidly within the galactic bounty hunting community. The bounties that I'd paid out today had apparently left the two lucky winners with hundreds of stalkers of their own, each angling for a piece of the payout. One was presumed dead in a massive shootout while the other had been forced to flee their home planet.

Messages flooded my account, containing tiresome threats, comical complaints, and obsequious offers of service. There were also several hundred messages with variations on the 'pay me a heap of money and I won't try and fill the bounty on you' theme. I forwarded those to HK, who took great delight in exercising his impressive vocabulary and threat-generation matrix. The extortion attempts tapered off to a trickle.

A few days later, we arrived at Pantora. At my request, we dropped out of hyperspace a few million kilometres early. If there was some sort of trouble on the planet that required Anakin to contact me, I wanted to have a good look first before blundering in.

Once we emerged from the spinning vortex of hyperspace, the distant planet looked forlorn, with nothing untoward visible to the naked eye. I glanced down at the coin in my hand.

I frowned. It wasn't pointing towards the planet, but rather up and off to the left. The distance between the coin and chain was displayed in six digits, which meant that Anakin was not on the planet, but was 'nearby' in the system. "What is off that way?" I asked, pointing in the direction of the arrow. "About, er, two hundred and sixty thousand kilometres," I finished after a few seconds to convert British Imperial distance units to galactic standard.

The navigator cleared her throat. "That is Pantora's second moon, sir."

One of the other bridge officers looked up. "Captain? We are receiving several automated warnings to depart."

"Source?" Captain Antilles asked.

"A Trade Federation droid controller, sir. The planet appears to be blockaded."

"Vulture droids on long range sensors!" another officer called out. "Two full squadrons have launched!"

The Captain was suddenly very alarmed. "Bring us about! Time to contact?"

There was a pause. "Er, about three and a half hours, sir," the officer replied lamely. "We're a long way short of the usual hyperspace exit point."

Captain Antilles sighed with relief and turned to face me. "Captain Harry, allow me to thank you for requesting we drop out of hyperspace early. Helm, take us out of the system."

"Wait," I said. "I need to go over to that moon. Anakin is there."

"This is not a warship, sir. We cannot face off against two full squadrons of vulture droids."

I shrugged. "I'm not asking you to. I just need you to take me to that moon, have a quick look, and then we can leave. As your man over there said, we've got a few hours."

Antilles considered that for a moment, making a few logistic calculations. Eventually, he nodded. "As you wish, sir. However, should I deem it necessary, I will depart without your leave. Helm, set a course."

At sub-light speeds, we arrived a bit over an hour before the vulture droids. During the trip, HK and I discussed how to deploy onto a moon with a negligible atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, he was rather smug that he would have no issue.

Apparently, internal organs were for the weak.

Once we were in orbit, I used the coin to direct the pilot to a specific point on the landscape. The spot turned out to be directly over an extensive array of caverns. The ship's scanners noted the presence of a power source in them, but the interference from the rocky terrain precluded any more detailed finding than 'some sort of ship running on minimal power'. The grey-skinned fellow in charge of the scanners informed the Captain that without my directions, we would not have located the hidden ship.

It was also obvious that whatever was down there was of great interest to the party blockading the planet. Their demands that we leave grew increasingly shrill and threat-laden the closer we got to the hidden ship. As we stopped and hovered over the interesting spot, they launched a further two squadrons of those vulture droid ships in a show of impotent force.

That amused me. We could depart the system at a few minute's notice, long before even the first group reached us.

I charmed HK's lightsaber as a returnable portkey with a destination of this ship's bridge, then ejected him from an airlock. The droid plummeted to the ground, landed with an impressive impact and circular dust cloud, then ran towards the caverns.

Captain Antilles turned away from his monitor and looked at me with scepticism. "You're sure you'll be able to bring your droid back here? We won't be able to land to pick him up."

"Pretty sure," I replied, checking the monitor for the progress of the vulture droid ships.

Feylis stepped up for me. "Believe me, Captain Antilles, Captain Harry is capable of bringing that droid back to the ship without you needing to land.

Antilles looked sceptical, but went back to his monitor.

A few moments later, one of the officers spoke up. "Sir, the ship below is powering shields!"

Antilles frowned at his screen. "What about their engines?"

"No, sir! Just shields."

He shook his head. "That makes no sense. The caves they're in protect them from bombardment."

"HK is probably entering their ship through the hull, using a lightsaber as a door-making tool," I pointed out, as I charmed my own lightsaber as a portkey back here to the bridge. "Perhaps they think the shields will stop him."

There was silence for a few moments. Eventually, Antilles cleared his throat. "That would explain it," he admitted.

Feylis looked confused. "Er, why?"

I was pleased he asked. It saved me from having to.

Antilles tapped his screen. "Venting the atmosphere of a pressurised ship would kick in the internal magnetic containment fields. They are usually powered by the shield generators."

"Splendid!" I said cheerfully. "HK will be here shortly then."

Antilles looked at me stonily. "I still find myself sceptical of…"

HK winked into being in the middle of the bridge. "Announcement: Success, Master. I have breached the outer hull and located a suitable position on the ship to serve as a beachhead."

"Good work," I said, striding over to him and ignoring the shocked expressions around the bridge. I cast a few preparatory charms on myself, then grabbed hold of his lightsaber hilt. "Let's go."


The ship was different to the ones I'd recently been on. The most noticeable difference was the atmosphere; it was fetid and humid. Clearly the air scrubbers were either overwhelmed or offline. I applied a bubblehead charm and gave it no further thought.

The passages were narrow, cramped. There was not a lot of wasted space, as there were on the Gryphon or the ABPY yacht. That meant that there were opportunities for the present owners of the ship to lay an ambush every few metres. My confidence grew quickly however, as the first enemy we encountered was expertly perforated by HK before he could do the same to me. But with all the flying debris I decided that I needed more protection than a simple magical shield.

To that end, I summoned an internal transparisteel window from its housing, and transfigured it into a half-cylinder about six feet tall and half that in diameter. Levitating it in front of me like a perambulatory wall prevented me from using my magic directly, but I could quite easily banish objects I was standing alongside straight ahead at high speed.

Soon, HK and I were in a rhythm; my transparisteel shield would take the first volley of blaster fire, HK would respond, and I would follow up by magically picking up the detritus in the corridors and flinging it forward at frightening speeds.

The people attacking us wore the same style of armour as the three humans hired to protect Gardulla the Hutt. Either they were the same group or they all shopped at the same wholesaler.

The ship wasn't particularly large, so it was perhaps three minutes before we'd triangulated Anakin's location with the coin. Rather than navigate the hallways to locate the door, HK chose to go through the wall with his lightsaber. Those things were truly remarkable in their scope of application.

He cut an oblong hole sized to allow my hovering shield to pass through. The cargo bay on the other side was cramped, though that was due to the haphazardly organised crates strewn around. I pushed into the room behind my shield, noting that our opponents had been facing the door. They hurriedly shifted to accommodate the unexpected attack vector, clearly now out of position and vulnerable to our flanking attack.

As HK laid covering fire, I affixed my transparisteel shield to the floor. I then evaluated the occupants, arrayed around the bay, most taking cover behind the various bits of cargo. I raised a hand, and HK stopped firing.

They were, almost exclusively, fully armoured; including those face-concealing helmets with a T-shaped visor. The lone exception was a child, hair held tightly in one mercenary's gauntleted fist.

It wasn't Anakin.

Without HK's weapon blasting away, that fellow moved into the centre of a space cleared of crates. The mercenary's armour was decorated slightly differently than the rest. An officer, perhaps?

He jammed his blaster into the child's side. "Not one more step!"

I frowned at the scene. The child was blue skinned, with golden eyes, purple hair – and obviously female. "Where is Anakin?" I snapped.

Whatever they were expecting me to say, that wasn't it. "What?" the leader demanded. The little girl's eyes widened.

I glanced down at the coin. It was pointing directly at the pair. "I'm here for Anakin Skywalker. Not… whoever that is."

Mercenaries around the room started glancing around at each other. Despite the helmets, I could almost feel their confusion.

"What? There is no one here by that name!" the leader spat.

Bugger. "Ah, right," I said lamely. I scratched the back of my head. "Well, this is embarrassing. Sorry to bother you. I'll, er, see myself out."

That definitely confused them. "WHAT?" the leader exploded, clearly fond of the word.

I shrugged. "I thought you were holding a friend of mine hostage."

"You… We are not holding your friend!"

"Obviously," I snorted. "Sorry, this sort of thing happens to me all the time."

The man pulled his blaster away from the child and pointed it at me, the barrel trembling. "You board my ship, kill my crew, and think that an apology is the end of it? You'll pay for what you've done!"

People who threaten kids don't get put on my 'Treat Respectfully' list. "Oh, right," I replied, and scrimmaged around in a pocket. I pulled out a small denomination credchip and held my arm out past the edge of the transparisteel shield. "Here," I said, sending it spinning towards him with a flick of my thumb. "Sorry about the mess."

The tiny coin clattered to the floor with a sound that echoed in the outraged silence.

"Who are you?" the fellow demanded, his voice cracking in his frustrated rage.

"No one of consequence," I replied, hoping this idiot would get it right.

"I will decide that!" he shouted.

I sighed. Another disappointment. "You really should cherish your ignorance."

"Tell me!" he demanded.

I gave a smirk and a mocking bow. "Captain Harry of the Gryphon, at your service."

There were audible gasps around the bay, and the leader jerked back half a step back. "You! You killed Pre Visla!"

I didn't need to fake an expression of confusion. "Who?"

The mercenary stood stock still for a few seconds, unsure how to deal with someone who appeared to be reading from a different script.

"Statement: I have reviewed the public reports of all the fatal incidents you have been involved in, Master. One of the human meatbags guarding the Hutt your concubine obliterated was identified as a Mandalorian named Pre Visla."

I snapped my fingers and theatrically cried, "That's where I've seen your armour before! On the bits of that fellow I left behind!" trying to give the impression that I hadn't noticed they were wearing the exact same outfits.

"Yes!" the confused fellow snapped. "He was the leader of Clan Visla!"

"Addendum: The report of the Hutt's death includes an appendix on the effect of discovering that the leader of a terrorist group was a high ranking civil servant on Mandalore. Close family of the Duchess are also reportedly sympathetic to the terrorist group's stated goals. Apparently, the government is embroiled in scandal, and civil war is considered likely."

I could feel my eye twitch involuntarily. "Let me get this straight. I kickstarted a sodding civil war in a population I've never heard of, on a planet I've never visited, because I chopped up some fellow I didn't know, on the other side of the galaxy?"

"Answer: Apparently."

I took a deep breath, and started counting.

"Statement: Might I offer my sincere congratulations, Master? I never started a war by accident."

I blew out the breath and pinched the bridge of my nose. "No, just deliberately, I bet."

"Affirmative: Of course. Good times."

"Yes, well, I can't say it's my first time either," I muttered. "You could say I once started a civil war just by telling the truth."

"Observation: That sounds most unsatisfying, Master."

"Shut up! Just shut up, both of you!" the mercenary exploded, jerking his blaster from HK to me and back again. "Where is the Darksaber?"

I frowned. "This?" I questioned, pulling out the weapon. I ignited the blade, the crystalline burst echoing in the room.

Once again, there were audible gasps. This time however, the weapons pointed at me lowered.

The mercenary leader, with undisguised longing in his voice, said, "That weapon belongs to Clan Visla! I challenge you! For the right to wield the Darksaber!"

I hesitated. From the way he spoke, I gathered that it was a ritual of some kind. Obviously, the lightsaber had some cultural value to these mercenaries. But I wasn't in the mood to have demands made on me. "I don't think so," I chuckled.

"That weapon is for the Leader of the Death Watch!" he shouted.

I froze. For a second I wondered if, in a previous life, I'd unknowingly been incautious enough to sleep with Fate's daughter or something. I had to have pissed him off somehow. Why else would I be forced into developing a Pavlovian response to destroy the leader of every group with a name starting with 'Death'. "What are your terms?" I said evenly.

"Blades, one on one, seconds out, to the death," the mercenary said greedily.

HK ignited his own lightsaber, filling the room with crimson-lined shadows. "Query: Shall I eviscerate the meatbag, Master?"

I shook my head. "No. I've got this. Why aren't you ready?" I pointedly asked the leader.

He holstered his blaster and shoved the girl to the side. He opened one of the crates and withdrew a vibrosword, like the model that my Wookiee friends modified.

He activated the weapon, and it began buzzing. "Ready," he announced pompously.

I nodded, smiled, then apparated behind him and plunged my lightsaber into his back.

An unexpected burst of power flooded up my arms as my opponent's vibrosword slipped from nerveless fingers. "That's… not fair…" he wheezed.

I fought a sudden, inexplicable urge to mutilate the man before he died, and settled for just pulling the blade out. "Where the hell did you get the idea that I fight fair?" I asked as he collapsed to the floor.

He tried wheezing something else, but didn't manage anything coherent before expiring.

I turned to brandish the weapon at the remaining mercenaries. The impulse to kill them all was still there, it was real a struggle to keep it in check. "Does anyone else hold some idiotic notion that they stand a chance against me?" I growled, feeling more than a little demonic.

As one, the remaining mercenaries dropped to one knee and laid their weapons down.

As submissive gestures went, it was unambiguous. I deactivated the Darksaber and looked over at the blue-skinned child, who was staring up at me with wide golden eyes. She was clearly terrified, whether of me or the Death Watch chaps I couldn't be sure. Probably both.

I turned to one of the kneeling mercenaries, a female, if her armour was any indication. "Who is this child, and why is she here?"

"She is a hostage, Lord; a scion of Pantora's ruling class," she responded.

My eyes narrowed at the title, but I was more interested in other information. "A hostage for what?"

"To reduce political resistance to the blockade of the planet."

I pointed the unlit hilt at the chatty mercenary, causing her to shrink back. "Whose idea was that? Yours?"

She shook her head emphatically. "No Lord! We were paid by the Trade Federation."

I looked around at the rest. They were all shifting uncomfortably, though remained kneeling. "If I told you to leave this system, would you?"

Every head nodded, and a one said, "Of course."

I pointed at the bay door. "Then get out of here. All of you!"

Quailing a bit under my glare, the armoured group rose and hurried towards the exit.

"Observation: Submissive tendencies in vanished foes vanish quickly once the object of their domination is no longer present, Master. It would make more sense jut to kill them all."

"Feel free to open fire in three seconds," I growled.

The last pair of mercenaries collided in the doorway in their haste.

Once they were gone, I turned to the child. "Now, just who are you?"

She stared up at me without speaking, her arms clutched tightly around her legs.

I sighed. Slowly, so as not to startle her, I drew closer and crouched down in front of her. "It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you."

Her expression indicated that she did not believe me. Indeed, she began visibly trembling.

I sighed again, and pulled out the coin. I moved it around, watching the arrow shift, until I'd worked out where the silver chain I'd given to Anakin was. I flicked my wand, and levitated it out of her pocket. "Did Anakin Skywalker give this to you?"

She tentatively nodded.

I rubbed my chin and made a guess based on what I knew about Anakin's character. "Did he tell you to wear it around your neck, and break it off if you ever needed someone to come and get you?"

Her eyes flickered, but she nodded once more.

"Query: Master, shall I-"

"Not another word, HK," I snapped in English, holding up a hand. "Assassination protocols don't have a lot of cross-over with children. Or shouldn't, at least."

"Objection: You killed the equivalent of a Sith Lord as a baby," he grouched.

"And I did such a bang-up job of it he didn't stay dead," I snapped back. "Now shut up for a moment, will you?" I rose from my crouch and held out a hand to the girl. "I'm going to take you home."

It was the right thing to say. She stared up at me for a couple of seconds with hope-filled eyes, then I had a blue limpet around my waist before I could react.


We took my portkey back to the ABPY yacht. The bridge crew were startled by our arrival, but only Feylis was staring at the spot at the time. He jumped at our appearance and said something in his native language that would probably have had Hermione giving him a lecture. "Captain Harry! You're back!"

"Statement: The Bothan meatbag's powers of observation are still calibrated at the disturbingly low level of blindingly obvious."

"Ignore him," I told Feylis with a snort of amusement. "He's just annoyed that I killed the leader of the mercenaries and didn't let him kill the rest once they surrendered."

Feylis stared down at the girl fastened to my torso. "Er, is this Anakin?"

I sighed as the girl's grip around my waist tightened considerably. "No, actually. Anakin gifted to her the object that sent me the message. She was a hostage to ensure the behaviour of the Pantorans."

The Bothan nodded. "I see. What is your name, young one?"

"R-iyo. Riyo Chuchi," she stuttered, in a soft, lilting voice.

I turned to the yacht's captain. "Do you have anywhere Riyo here could rest while we take her home?"

He nodded. "There are several cabins furnished for children."

Feylis cleared his throat. "Er, perhaps the ship's medical droids should give young Riyo an examination first? She has just been through a rather harrowing ordeal, after all. I imagine she would also find a hot meal pleasant too."

I was really starting to appreciate the Bothan. With a nod I looked down at the girl. My childhood hadn't exactly given me a lot of insight on how to treat pre-Hogwarts-age children well. As an adult, I had only really spent time with two kids under the age of eleven.

One was my godson, and that mostly involved the pair of us occasionally adventuring through London, causing havoc (by animating the dinosaur skeletons in the Natural History Museum, or jinxing the Beefeaters to dance a jig while guarding the Tower, or charming Big Ben to give a gentle tinkle rather than the usual impressive toll), dodging all the Obliviators sent to clean up after us, stuffing him to the brim with sweets, and making him to laugh so hard he was sick all over Andy just as I handed him back. Those days were always worth the hexes I didn't manage to dodge. Despite all that, she could never say no to him pleading for another outing with me.

The other was Anakin, and while I thought I'd done a pretty good job of turning him into an anti-authoritarian prankster, he had the inner courage and fortitude to stare Death (or at least, HK) in the face without flinching. Riyo was not so abnormally strong.

"Excellent idea. Does any of your crew have experience with children? I'm already beyond my level of expertise."

The pilot raised her hand. "I have two daughters, sir."

Antilles nodded. "Thank you, Lieutenant. Please escort our guest to the medbay, then return quickly. We still have over half an hour before we need to depart."

Feylis and the pilot led Riyo from the bridge, who looked nervously over her shoulder at me. I gave her an encouraging nod and a smile.

"Sir, we have discovered a message for you while you were… gone," Antilles said once the bridge was once more a child-free zone.

I frowned. "A message for me?"

"I assume so," he clarified. "A slicer embedded it in the demands to leave from the droid controller. It is audio only, and it is in an unknown language at that. Your name however, is exists in the stream."

"Uh, okay. Can you play it for me?"

At the Captain's nod, one of the officers tapped a button.

Anakin's immediately recognizable voice emanated from the console – in English. "This message is for Harry. If you're on the ship that just arrived in the system, thanks for coming. I'm hiding on the controller ship, but my Master is on the planet. We can't talk with each other, so I don't know what's going on down there. I'm doing my best to make their lives awful up here; one of the leaders has already had a nervous breakdown from all the pranks I'm playing."

I grinned proudly at that.

"The same people who blockaded the planet of our favourite queen are blockading this one. They say they're protesting their treatment by the Republic, but I've listened to communications from someone off planet that show that they're following orders. They took a hostage, but I managed to slip her the chain you gave me. Hopefully you've already rescued her."

I grunted.

"I've sabotaged the targeting systems and sensors on all the droids. If you blast white noise at fifty-five kilowatts at a frequency two point four times higher than the one this message is on, they won't be able to see or target you. You'll be able to land in any empty hanger bay. Have someone on your ship explain that if you don't understand."

"Cheeky little bastard," I chuckled darkly.

"If you can come and get me, I'd really appreciate it. The food here is awful, and I'd really like to reunite with my Master. Thanks Harry, Ani out."

I shook my head and laughed at his gall.

"I take it you understood that message, sir?" Antilles said. "Our protocol droids do not recognise the language."

"Oh yes. That's my native tongue. It's from Anakin. He's on the droid controller ship, causing headaches, havoc, and mental breakdowns." I sniffed and wiped away an imaginary tear. "He's grown up so fast."

"I see. Well, we cannot affect a rescue from a fully operational Trade Federation controller. I suggest withdrawing to a nearby system and contacting the Senate to inform them of the blockade."

I grinned at him. "Try this, Captain. Blast white noise at fifty-five kilowatts at a frequency two point four times higher than the one that message came in on."

He frowned. "Why?"

I shrugged. "Anakin claims to have sabotaged the droid targeting systems. He said that they won't be able to see us if we do that."

Antilles raised an eyebrow suspiciously, but turned and nodded at one of his officers. That officer busied himself at his console for a few moments, before tapping a button and looking up at the main screen.

Immediately, the distant vulture droids broke their pristine, arrowhead attack formation and began buzzing around in an expanding cloud, searching for something to attack. The monitor with red flashing warnings of multiple target locks faded to a tranquil green.

"I say! That's brilliant!" Antilles exclaimed. "How does that work?"

I shrugged, not even knowing what it meant. "Not a clue. But so long as we're doing that, we can't be spotted by the droids. As your pilot is otherwise engaged, allow me to take the helm."


Despite Captain Antilles' misgivings, we managed to approach the controller ship unmolested. The trip revealed some amusing sights.

What looked to the human eye to be diffuse debris surrounding the station resolved into Trade Federation battle droids. Most were the model I'd chucked out of the Coruscant hotel on my first day in the galaxy about a million years ago. But there were other kinds too.

The question on how they got there was answered as we drew nearer. We clearly observed a line of battle droids march – with military precision – in single file straight out of a hanger bay, and drift off out into space, their legs still moving as though they were still on a parade ground. They themselves didn't even notice for a while, but at some point, they began thrashing around, occasionally bumping off each other and drifting further away from the controller ship.

"Oh, I can't wait to hear how Anakin has managed this," I said with a grin.

"Statement: It would not strain my circuits to believe that these pathetic droids are unable to discern any appreciable difference between a capital ship and hard vacuum, and simply walked out into space by accident."

I shook my head with amusement. As we drew closer I picked out an empty hanger bay and angled the ship towards it, unchallenged and unacknowledged. As the ship passed the magnetic containment field, one of the bridge crew announced that a new ship dropped out of hyperspace behind us.

"A warship?" I asked, hoping that we could get into the bay without being spotted.

"No sir. An unarmed personal transport."

"Conjecture: Perhaps it is the Jedi coming to meet with you, Master."

I nodded. "Possibly. We'll see, I guess, if who ever it is decides to land on the station rather than the planet. Hang on."

The landing itself was a bit bumpy, as I was not experienced with the size and shape of the ship, but I managed to set us down without damaging anything. I engaged the docking clamps and shut the engines down. From my vantage point out the front window, I could see the droids in the hanger bay acting even more oddly that those floating around outside. It was like a circus where the clowns were in charge.

One group, marching in perfect synchronisation in a double line, suddenly ceased their lockstep and began hopping. Three one-legged jumps later, they all returned to marching, oblivious to their actions. They soon repeated it. Nine normal steps, followed by three hops.

Other droids, big round ones that rolled along, had trouble remaining upright. They would wobble and collapse to one side, before unfolding and whining for assistance to stand. When other droids helped set them upright, they would roll wobbly away before falling over again.

I watched another kind of droid carried past the ship on the shoulders of the common battle droids, as though it were an emperor on a litter. It objected voraciously to the treatment, vainly struggling to get away from them, while held firm.

A phalanx of larger, top-heavy, dark grey droids solemnly 'marched' on their knees, rather than on their feet. It was all rather surreal.

"Observation: Someone has made some esoteric adjustments to the central programming of these droids."

I grinned. "Someone? Who do we know who has that sort of technical ability with droids?" I asked rhetorically.

"Statement: I am relieved that you gave the little meatbag his pranking instruction after he reassembled me."

"You don't want him to give you some upgrades?" I snickered.

"Threat: Should the little meatbag approach me with a logic probe, your fondness for him will not prevent me from indulging in some unadulterated violence, Master."

I smiled wistfully. "I'm so glad my best friends here constantly bicker. It's just like home."


As the ramp descended, I took out my wand and cast a Point Me, searching for Anakin. HK stomped past me and down the landing ramp as my wand quickly aligned itself. From the base of the ramp, my droid watched the transport ship enter the hanger next to this one.

I strolled down the ramp and into the hanger bay. The capers of the battle droids were rather diverting. I could not help but laugh. "I want to find Anakin. Debriefing the cheeky little bugger will be a hoot. George would want to adopt him on the spot."

I swaggered across the bay with HK, away from the ships and towards Anakin's position. I pointed out singularly hilarious robotic antics, inordinately pleased with how creative the lad was as a prankster.

"Statement: The transport has landed in the next docking bay. One elderly meatbag has disembarked. It is armed only with a lightsaber."

"That would be Sinube then. He can laugh at the droids while he waits. I'll chat with him once I've found my wayward pranking apprentice."

Moments later, there was a sudden creaking above me, and HK shoved me hard to the side without warning. I fell hard as something smashed down next to me with enough force to shake the floor.

I felt my leg deform half a second before the pain struck. I hissed through my teeth as I struggled to focus.

A lightsaber igniting nearby flooded me with adrenaline. I managed to pull myself up into a kneeling position in time to see HK activate his own lightsaber, and leap at the Jedi.

It wasn't Sinube. It was an elderly human, with a short-cropped, light grey beard and hair, dressed in dark, tailored clothing. He was slender and more than six and a half feet tall, but despite his age, he did not move with the excruciating snail's pace of the elderly.

The man watched HK's aerial charge with an expression of mild interest. HK brought his blade down so hard it would have bifurcated a tank.

The man almost casually raised his own lightsaber and angled it to deflect rather than block. HK's strike slid off to one side. Overbalanced, HK swung back around, only to be caught once more.

My eyes widened. The Jedi had barely moved!

He stood in a comfortable, almost nonchalant stance, his left hand held casually in the small of his back. Even to my untrained eye, he moved with unbelievable economy of movement.

After a series of rapid clashes, the pair began chatting with each other.

I forced myself to focus. I looked back at my leg and winced. The spike had hit with enough force to push through my leg and pin me to the floor, but my basilisk hide clothes had held, and covered the metal like a reptilian condom. My leg was not just speared, but torn apart and deformed under the pressure of the highly resilient cloth.

I managed a numbing charm, which helped with the pain. However, blood was oozing out from my leg at an alarming rate. I cast a dark, constricting curse on my thigh that acted as a potent tourniquet. The blood loss reduced to a trickle.

I felt perspiration cover my face as I tried to work out how to free myself. Vanishing the spike would still leave my clothes pushed through the wound, which would probably act decently as a bandage. Pulling it out may do more damage, especially if the point of the metal had been deformed by impact with the floor.

I could apparate away, but in my current mental state, that had a high risk of splinching. Not something you needed to deal with in the middle of a fight. The Darksaber was still charmed as a portkey that took me to the bridge of the ABPY ship, which was another option. Given the circumstances, that was probably the best strategy.

But would any part of me stay behind? Perhaps I should just sever my leg? Reattaching it would be inconvenient, and moderately painful, but at least I could act in the meantime.

The surreal battle between droid and self-identified Sith continued, with HK declaring that he found the current Sith like vermin. With nothing more than a dismissive retort, the man raised a hand, banished HK back a few yards, then picked him up and tossed him out through the magnetic containment field and into space.

As expected, HK didn't accept his fate meekly. He hurled his lightsaber at his opponent as he vanished into the black. The Sith casually batted it aside, slicing the weapon in half and sending both ends to different corners of the hanger bay.

Bugger, I really needed to summon my droid back before I portkeyed away. As the Sith turned to face me, I brought up a powerful shield. It wouldn't stand up to blaster fire for long, but it would keep out a lightsaber long enough to cast a simple Accio.

Blue lightning shot out of the Sith's hand, impacting my shield. To my surprise, the shield held up well. As well as it usually did under a barrage of spells.

Finally, something that worked against a Jedi attack.

From the malevolent rictus on the old fart's face, I assumed that the lightshow was intended to inflict pain.

A constant stream of power like that had to be draining. And since facing an exhausted Sith was undoubtedly far easier than a fresh one, I figured it was best to encourage the use of such wasteful power. I allowed my shield to shrink down to barely cover me, and then theatrically howled as though I was under Riddle's Cruciatus.

Like most evil bastards, he loved the sound of his enemies in pain. For long seconds, the Sith poured power vainly into my shield, while I gathered my own strength.

Suddenly, the light show stopped. I gasped a breath and checked to see if he was taking a breather himself. Nope, the bastard was staring off to one side.

Staring at Anakin. Bloody hell, when did he get here?

"Leave him alone!" the lad screamed and began a particularly unintimidating charge. I had a painful recollection of another kid with messy hair leaping into danger without heed.

"Anakin no! He's a hedgehog!" I screamed, begging him to stop and think.

Thankfully, he did. Relief flooded me as he aborted his charge in time, but I still felt horror as he took a deep wound instead of losing a limb. From the way that arm dangled afterwards, the bicep had been severed. Anakin yowled in pain, but managed to stagger back out of immediate range.

"Anakin? You would be Anakin Skywalker, yes?" the Sith said with calm assurance. "Qui-Gon's Padawan. I have heard quite a bit about you, young one. I had thought you more intelligent than to attack a master of Makashi."

"Anakin, get out of here!" I roared.

With one final glance around, Anakin took to his heels, heading towards the hanger bay entrance. The Sith turned to me and smiled malevolently.

"That may buy him a few more minutes of life," he drawled.

I wanted to portkey back to the ship's bridge, where I could prepare a more potent strategy, but I had to give Anakin a few more moments to put some distance between us. "Who are you?" I snapped.

With satisfaction dripping from his tone, he replied, "It pains me that you do not recognise the man you placed a bounty on."

"Tyranus," I spat. At the far end of the bay, I saw Anakin stop by the entrance and examine the wall. Instead of running, he stepped through the door, and leaned against the wall, leaving just his head and one arm in the bay. What the hell was he doing?

"Indeed," Tyranus replied, with a condescending bow. He raised a hand, ready to waste his power electrocuting a magical shield. I readied my wand and waited to act while he was distracted.

Unexpectedly, his eyes widened, and he dropped into a fighting stance, his lightsaber held defensively. He glanced around, and the stress in his expression was palpable.

No. Not stress. Fear.

I jammed my wand into the floor, intending to transfigure a tight group of eight-foot spikes springing up right under the Sith, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw Anakin stab half of HK's lightsaber into the wall.

The glowing red barrier across the hangerbay entrance vanished.

The atmosphere immediately vented, everything not tied down, or pinned to the floor by their leg, was sent hurtling towards the infinite abyss. Every droid in the bay, HK's discarded cannon, every crate, and the lone Sith were unceremoniously picked up by the rushing wind. Anakin was pulled back through the doorway like a rag doll in a hurricane.

The rushing air shoved me to the floor. Even through the numbing charm, I could feel the flesh of my leg tear. The only thing holding it in one piece was the basilisk-hide cloth

Safety systems kicked in as the magnetic containment field failed. A huge metal blast door shot laterally across the gaping hole. A few seconds was all it took to secure the bay from explosive decompression.

Fortunately for him, the Sith was saved by the barrier door. Unfortunately for him, the Sith was saved by the barrier door. It stopped him from being ejected into space, yes, but it did so by providing an unyielding surface on which to break his rapid flight with the back of his head.

Tyranus slammed into the door hard. Even with eardrums abused by the sudden air pressure drop, I could hear the crack of his skull meeting the metal. The sudden stop caused the lit lightsaber, held in a now limp hand, to twist and slice through its owner's hip and abdomen.

The Sith puddled boneless to the floor, almost bifurcated, leaving a blood smear from the point his head encountered the durasteel.

Once more, I pulled myself into a kneeling position, and steeled myself to look back at my leg.

Ugh, it was a mess. Thankfully intact, but barely. However, it was going to be a real pain to fix. And I didn't really have the time right at this instant.

Fortunately, Anakin was all right. The safety barrier had slammed shut quickly enough that he'd only ended up skidding and flopping over the floor. Another second or so would have been a disaster. "Harry! Are you okay?" He shouted as he ran over to me, the sleeve on his arm rapidly turning dark crimson.

I reached out and grabbed a hold of the metal spike that I was having mixed feelings about. It had caused me quite some pain, but saved me the inconvenience of being ejected into space. "I'm fine," I lied. "Your handiwork, I take it?" I asked, gesturing at the blast door.

"Yeah," he admitted sheepishly. "I cut the power conduit to the magcon field." He glanced over at the Sith, swore in Huttese, then raced over to him. He skidded to a halt on his knees, and began giving Tyranus some first aid.

"Bugger," I grumbled, recognising the symptoms. I grimaced, but needs must. I reapplied the constricting curse to fully cut the blood flow, then used Snape's infamous curse to carefully cut the basilisk hide away from my leg.

I took a deep breath and cast a light, medical cutting charm to sever my leg just below the knee. It would be easier to reattach if I didn't mangle a joint.

In the meantime, I still needed to be able to get around. With a complex wand movement, I created a blob of liquid silver, and touched it to my stump. The blob flowed and expanded until I had a naked silver leg from the knee down.

Now that my body thought it was no longer missing a noticeable percentage of body mass, I felt my shock recede and my mind clear.

Burdened by an extremely heavy metal leg, I limped over to Anakin, who was desperately trying to staunch the blood loss from the Sith's horrific abdominal wound. I had a lot of experience at quickly evaluating battlefield wounds, and I guessed that a bacta tank would probably save him. Assuming we could dunk him immediately and without jostling the wound open by moving him about at all. It would have been difficult under the best of circumstances, but I didn't feel so kindly disposed towards the arse that I'd go to the effort.

Anakin however, with his impromptu flight and undignified landing, had suffered enough that his own wound had clearly torn open, causing even more blood to flow freely down his sleeve.

"Anakin, stop," I ordered, picking up and deactivating the oddly-shaped lightsaber hilt.

"No! I can save him, I just need to get him to a bacta tank! Help me!"

Even though moving him would speed up the Sith's mortality quite nicely, I didn't want that on Anakin's conscience. "You need a bacta tank first," I told the increasingly pale boy.

"No! Help me! Please!" he wailed.

I sighed. He was not going to listen to anything I said; not while the Sith still lived. "Avada Kedavra," I cast.

Tyranus expired.

Anakin gasped. "What? What did you do?"

"I killed him," I said clearly, making sure he understood that I, not he, was to blame. "You need help right now!"

He jumped to his feet. "Why? We could have… saved…" he trailed off, swaying alarmingly.

I reached out a hand and gripped his shoulder. "Slow down, Anakin. You're bleeding out. Look, see that ship there? There is a medical bay on it."

"No!" he shouted, slapping my hand away. He turned and bolted away from the ship, but made it about a dozen steps before falling over. Heedless to his own body's failing strength, he pulled himself to one hand and knees. I was honestly impressed at his mental fortitude, but he was going to do himself a greater injury. "Stupefy."

He dropped.

I applied the constricting curse to stem Anakin's blood loss, rolled him over and levitated him. His breathing was clear, but shallow. I pulled him over to my impaled leg, froze the limb solid, and vanished the spike. I levitated the remains too.

The Sith could wait. I made my way back to the ship, and was halfway there before I realised I would never hear the end of it if I didn't get HK back.

Fortunately, the magnetic containment field across the neighbouring hanger bay entrance was still intact. "Accio HK-47," I cast without breaking stride, waving my wand in the general direction of my droid's uncontrolled flight.

Feylis came down the landing ramp at an impressive clip just as I started ascending. He had a small blaster in his hand, which he looked to hold quite comfortably. "Captain! Are you all right? I was just informed that you were attacked, and that the containment field failed momentarily!"

"Oh, I'm just peachy," I snarked. "That Tyranus fellow was on the transport that arrived after us. I was an idiot and he caught me unawares."

"Tyranus is here?"

I gestured over my shoulder with a thumb. "Over there. Or what's left of him."

The Bothan's eyes widened as looked past me and spotted Anakin floating. "Is that… Is that Anakin?"

"Yeah. Tyranus tried cutting his arm off, so I really need to get him to the medbay."

"Of course, of course," Feylis said, stepping to one side and holstering his blaster under his shirt. "This way."

I let him lead me. My silver foot made a distinctive noise on the polish metal floor of the ship, which drew his attention.

"Captain, your leg!"

"I know," I said tiredly.

Feylis stared at it. "It's silver!"

"I know!" I snapped.

"What happened?"

Figuring I wouldn't get any peace until he saw for himself, I pointed at the frozen, floating limb. "I had to cut my leg off and give myself a temporary replacement."

It was only a short walk to the medical bay, but his dark eyes stared in astonishment the whole way. Only when we reached the entrance did he find his voice again. "You… cut… your leg off?" he stammered. "D-deliberately?"

Fortunately, Riyo wasn't here to be traumatised by seeing detached, mangled limbs and friends covered in blood. I dumped my leg on a nearby operating table. "I was pinned to the floor and had to do something," I spat. "Having to cut bits of my body off makes me cranky, so please just stop asking questions. Go and get whatever medical droids we have to check Anakin. I need to secure Tyranus and send HK on a killing spree." I jabbed my finger at the bloody limp on the table. "Do not throw that leg out. I'm rather attached to it."

"Er," Feylis said, unable to formulate a coherent sentence.

Realising what I'd just said, I winced and added, "You know what I mean."


HK was examining the hanger by the time I exited the ship once more.

"Evaluation: Severing the power conduit to the magnetic containment field while you were solidly fixed to the floor was an excellent tactic, Master. I take it the little meatbag stumbled upon our battle after my ejection?"

"What, you don't think I could have come up with that idea?" I snapped.

"Calculation: The probability is remote, Master. I bow to your superior, and enjoyably destructive, knowledge of magic, but your understanding of physics and technology can charitably be described as sub-optimal."

I took a deep breath and rubbed the back of my head. "Yeah, that's fair."

"Query: Were my weapons also lost during the atmospheric venting?"

I looked around the hanger bay. It was far emptier than when we'd first landed, and the stuff that was left was strewn chaotically against the blast door. "I guess so. How was your trip?" I asked as I limped my way over to the mortal remains of the Sith.

"Answer: Irritating. The sensation of being magically summoned is as demeaning as it is baffling," he groused.

I snorted. "As bad or worse than being chucked out the door by the Force?"

"Evaluation: Neither even remotely appeal, Master. Observation: Your new limb appears to have a detrimental impact on your balance. I assume it is a temporary measure after the debilitating injury to your inferior form."

"Bah, it was just a flesh wound; I've had worse," I replied with a grimace. "You know what? You sound annoyed, and I'm seriously pissed off. We're on a ship surrounded by enemies. Here, take the Sith's lightsaber and go and chop up a few thousand battle droids until we both feel better," I said, holding the weapon out.

Huh, even my droids think that I'm the best boss ever.


Back in the medical bay, Anakin lay sedated on a gurney, his arm in a sealed tube full of bacta and angled perpendicular to his body. His colour had returned, and his breathing was deep and regular.

Feylis kept staring at the butchered corpse. "I just can't believe I'm actually looking at a Sith," he said. "An actual Sith."

I grunted in response, focused as I was on preparing my leg for reattachment. It was much easier for the owner to repair a mangled limb while it was detached, but there was a limited time to act. I was already pushing it. I'd set the shattered bones and patched the major blood vessels; but doing more would take time I didn't have. I had to attach it as is, and then use bacta to heal it the rest of the way.

I found it oddly comforting that neither magic nor bacta could individually save my leg, but together they would.

I let my wand return to its holster and wiped the sweat from my forehead. "Do me a favour and call the medical droid."

At the Bothan's request, one of the ship's medical droids rolled over. "My previous diagnosis stands, sir. That limb cannot be reattached."

"Uh huh," I said wearily. "Get me one of those tanks you've used on Anakin's arm, but for my leg."

"My previous diagnosis stands, sir. That-"

"Yeah, yeah. Just get me the sodding tank. If it makes you feel any better, I'm going to use the Force to attach it."

The microphone-headed droid paused. "I was not aware you are Force sensitive, sir. I shall prepare a tank for you now."

Feylis tilted his head to one side. "I recall you saying that you were not Force sensitive."

I shrugged. "Saves time arguing. This is going to be painful, so I need you to just keep talking to me. Keep me focused."

He looked alarmed. "Do you need some pain relief?"

I shook my head. "No. It would be really nice, but I need to be able to feel my leg while I work."

"Very well. If you give me a moment, I shall fetch my notes on the updates to your legal actions."

That sounded better than listening to a lecture from Madam Pomfrey, so long as it kept me awake. Feylis bustled off as the medical droid returned. "Your bacta pod, sir."

I took a couple of deep breaths, and began. The charms were not difficult, but performing them on yourself added a level of complexity. I vanished the silver and felt my heart rate increase immediately.

The medical droid was helpful, holding both the leg and my stump perfectly steady as I reattached the various tissues. The nerves were the worst. It felt like I'd plunged my leg into a vat of boiling electricity for a couple of seconds. Though that was quickly replaced by the far more prosaic sensation of moderate agony.

Once I had enough control of my leg to make my toes twitch, I ordered the droid to help fit the tank. Once on, I released the constricting curse and lay back on the bed, surrendering to my swimming head.

"Astounding," Feylis said from the doorway. "I'd suggest that you could make a fortune in the medical field, were you not already one of the wealthiest individuals in the galaxy."

"I don't have the necessary bed side manner," I grunted.

"Yes, I've noticed that your temperament is a bit on the prickly side," he said as he sat down next to my bed. "As we have retrieved young Anakin, Captain Antilles has asked if we could depart. There is quite some activity among the battle droids on the station. I believe he feels we are exposed."

"HK has a lightsaber and orders to indulge himself. By the time we go through the departure checklist the place will be empty."

"Ah," he said. "Your droid is the single most terrifying combat model I have ever encountered. Where did you get him?"

"I traded him for a blaster."

The lawyer looked suspicious. "I doubt anyone who owned such a lethal droid would be so easily intimidated as to agree to that."

I snorted. "Yeah, you'd think so."

o_ooo000ooo_o

AN: I wanted to add another two scenes, but they aren't coming along as quickly as I hoped. I decided to post what I have and leave Harry and Sinube's conversation to the next chapter.

Thank you to all my reviewers.