Thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter!
Seeing the title of this chapter, you can probably guess that a certain Jedi Master will be making an appearance... ;)
The YT-1300 light freighter entered hyper-space once it was clear of Florrum and the attacking Star Destroyers, and only then did its passengers allow themselves to relax.
The escape from the planet had been quick; upon arriving in the secret underground hanger which held the backup fleet, Hondo had wasted no time in boarding the best and the fastest out of all the ships. Since the hanger was so far away from the main base, it had taken the Imperials some time to notice them.
When they'd left the atmosphere, Katooni had sensed the familiar dark presence from before; the Sith Lord who had once been Anakin Skywalker was on one of the Star Destroyers, and it explained how they were able to arrive unnoticed.
The girl left the cockpit and sat herself down in a back room, in order to get some rest. The adrenalin from the battle was wearing off, and the pain from the cuts and bruises she'd gained were finally catching up with her; she stretched out, using the Force to minimize the pain.
Pilf and Pikk hurried in, taking seats on random perches in the room, before Hondo himself wandered in.
"Just stretching," said Katooni; she knew he'd been inquiring about any injuries she may have gained, but also knew he wouldn't say it outright. "Using the Force to dull the pain."
"Can you do that for me first?" he asked. "You brilliant leader must always come before yourself."
Katooni suppressed a giggle.
"Doing that for someone else takes a lot of skill and concentration," she explained. "Only Jedi Masters can do it, as far as I'm aware. I'm just a Padawan."
She reached up and tucked the loose Padawan braid behind her ear. With her headdress gone, there was nowhere to hide it, and she figured that it would be a good idea to cut it off. The girl wondered if she could tie it around her lightsaber.
Speaking of lightsabers... Katooni peered into the bag she'd placed by her side, just to make sure the four lightsabers were still there. She sighed when she saw that they were.
"You know," began Hondo, upon seeing the bag, "those lightsabers would be worth a fortune. Have you considered selling them on the black market?"
A glare from Katooni was enough of an answer for him.
"For starters, a lightsaber is a symbol of peace," she explained, as if the glare hadn't been enough. "They're meant to protect and defend, and in the wrong hands they would do the opposite. And I would be disrespecting the memory of the Jedi and my friends if I sold them."
Hondo held his hands up in defence and took a step back. The last thing he wanted was for her to take one and use it on him.
"OK, OK, I understand!" he said hurriedly. "I thought maybe the profit would make you consider it."
Katooni thought for a moment.
"Is there one thing you have which you know is worth a fortune, but you keep anyway because it means a lot to you?" she asked.
The pirate paused to think.
"No! Not a thing!"
Katooni rolled her eyes.
"Never mind," she said, before changing the subject. "Where are we heading?"
"To a sandy dustball of a planet I hoped never to set foot on again," the pirate replied. "Tatooine."
Hondo had his remaining men land the ship in the Jundland Wastes, so as not to attract any unwanted attention. Katooni had spent most of the journey through hyper-space listening to Hondo as he told the story of why he never visited the planet; he'd angered Porla the Hutt some years before. The pirate specifically stated that it was the Hutt's own fault, but Katooni doubted it; she knew Hondo too well.
Long story short: if the Hutts ever found Hondo on one of their planets, he'd be killed. It was really that simple.
But with no other backwater planets to go to, they had no choice. And Hondo reasoned that what the Hutts didn't know wouldn't hurt him (gaining a massive eye roll from Katooni).
Upon landing, the pirates got to work in repairing their ship; it had been damaged during their escape, and it was a miracle they'd even been able to make the jump to hyper-space. While Hondo oversaw the repairs, Katooni began to climb the rocks surrounding them; she reasoned that it would be best if someone kept an eye on the area, in case there was danger.
As she was doing this, though, she felt something through the Force. A young and raw – and incredibly strong – Force-presence. So strong that it almost caused her to topple from the rock she was stood upon.
She at first thought it to be another Jedi, but the presence felt too young. Weeks old, at the most. Leaving it be would have been the best option, but then Katooni began to think harder; what if the Sith came and discovered this presence? What if they took whoever it belonged to and trained them in the dark side of the Force?
The girl decided to at least investigate. She turned back to where Hondo and his men were still fixing the ship; they looked busy, and if she told Hondo about it, she knew he would want to use this Force-presence for profit somehow. So she took off on her own.
Unfortunately, she was spotted by R3 and the two monkey-lizards. R3 at first rolled after her, beeping like crazy in an attempt to stop her, but couldn't make it past the rocks. The monkey-lizards could, but they chose instead to hurry over to Hondo and inform him.
"What is it?" Hondo asked when they landed upon his shoulders.
The two creatures chirped and pointed over to where R3 was still trying to figure out how to follow Katooni. Hondo didn't know what they were going on about at first...but when he saw that Katooni had left her position on the high rock, he put two and two together.
"Kids..." he muttered to himself, before going over to R3. "Where did she go?"
R3 beeped several times in response, gesturing in the direction of the rocks. Hondo just sighed and shook his head, before turning back to his men.
"Carry on with the repairs," he told them. "I'm going Jedi hunting."
He began to climb the rocks, taking out his blaster should he need it. Pilf and Pikk followed, while R3 rolled back to the ship to help with the repairs.
Hondo hadn't been searching for very long when he spotted movement up ahead. It was too large to be Katooni, but he followed it nonetheless. When he got closer, he saw what it was; a cloaked figure moving silently, their hood up which concealed their face.
Just as Hondo began to wonder what someone was doing in the Jundland Wastes alone, Pilf and Pikk decided to make a bold attempt and leapt at the figure.
It was almost like the figure sensed they were there, for as they were descending down upon him or her, the figure turned and raised a hand in the direction of the creatures. Both froze in mid-air, before they were hurtled away with cries of shock.
Unsure what else to do, Hondo took aim with his blaster and fired.
The figure dodged the first few blasts, and then to Hondo's surprise, the figure ignited a blue lightsaber and deflected the blasts back at him. Hondo knew this wouldn't end well for him – this person was most obviously a Jedi, although he wasn't sure how this one had survived – so dropped his blaster and raised his arms up in surrender.
"There's no need for this to get messy!" he said. "We can be friends!"
Hondo lowered his arms as the figure simultaneously lowered his hood...revealing a familiar face.
"Kenobi!" exclaimed the pirate, breaking into a wide grin. "You survived! It's been too long, my good man!"
"Not long enough, I'm afraid," said Obi-Wan Kenobi in his usual dry manner.
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