Chapter Two

They walked for almost fifteen minutes before they reached their destination. They arrived at a gigantic wroshyr tree that looked to have several homes built into it, like a skyscraper or complex but from one glance Murata could see it was a little more convoluted than that. Enacca had walked ahead, seeming determined but Murata lingered for a moment, waiting for RA to catch up. They hadn't walked particularly fast but her droid still managed to be a few metres behind.

Once he caught up, they continued and both Murata and RA followed Enacca into the complex. They passed several natives, only a couple taking any notice of them but Murata took note of them, keeping an eye out for any danger that could suddenly cross their path. Before long, they headed upwards; stopping at one of the top levels and went down a narrow boardwalk. A few pieces of wooden creaked; suddenly making Murata feel nervous but she said nothing.

Enacca knocked on the door she stopped at and it was answered almost immediately. A male Wookiee stood just inside the door, his dark eyes glancing at the two guests. Without uttering a sound, he stepped back and allowed them inside. Murata nodded her thanks and walk further into the short hallway, RA close behind. Their host silently headed down the hallway and the three of them followed him to a small living room. It was smaller than Enacca's, to Murata's faint surprise.

"This is Murata and her droid RA-S15," said Enacca to the other. "She's... an old friend. She can fight. She'll be able to help." Enacca then turned her attention to Murata. "This is my cousin, Karra."

"Nice to meet you," said Murata, politely.

"How are you going to help us?" asked Karra brusquely. "You are just a small, human child."

Murata opened her mouth to answer but Enacca cut across her in a sharp tone. "She's a good fighter," defended Enacca. "I would not just tell anybody about this. Murata can help. Her skills with weapons would even rival yours and her being small could be an advantage. Trust me."

Karra seemed to back down a little and after a hard stare at Murata he offered them a seat. Murata sat down but Enacca remained standing, looking a little on edge. RA moved closer, to stand beside Murata and she glanced up briefly at him but said nothing before looking back to Karra who had sat down across from her.

"Tell me everything," said Murata, meeting Karra's gaze.

"Satakk and I were going to marry by the shores in a few weeks time," said Karra, his demeanour a little softer at the mention of his mate. "It's been almost a week since I've seen her. She went hunting with a few others. Kinrath, that's what she was hunting. Skilful at it too, she is; the best. But they were captured on the way back. Trandoshan slavers. They set up a trap and ambushed them. We found the tracks and surveyed them for a little while, scrutinised their every move but we were never led back to them. It felt like they were looking for something else or perhaps some others to capture."

"What else?" asked Murata when the Wookiee stopped.

"On the way back here we managed to find another group of Trandoshan's and one got separated," said Karra. "He wasn't willing to say much but he did squeal about where their camp is."

"How do you know he spoke the truth?" asked Murata, frowning slightly.

"Have a Wookiee pull out your arms from their sockets and you can get them to tell you anything," said Karra knowingly.

"I see," said Murata, understanding what he meant. "How do you know the camp is still there?"

"I don't," admitted Karra. "Not for certain but capturing one of us alone is difficult and a group is even harder. They're greedy and they'll stay until they've got plenty."

Murata nodded, believing what he said as she knew about Trandoshans and not just slavers, but some from all walks of life and most were not to be trifled with. Although, Murata could see why the Wookiees were certain about this and she knew they were right. Capturing a lone Wookiee would be extremely tricky, not to mention life threatening.

"What's your plan?" asked Murata curiously.

"Enter the camp and find out what they've done with my mate," said Karra honestly. "I doubt they could have had her or anyone else moved off world yet and I intend to stop that before it happens."

"And when are you planning on proceeding with this... attack?" asked Murata, unsure of how to phrase her question.

"Now," said Karra decisively. "Are you ready to join us?"

"Not quite," said Murata, getting to her feet. "I need to return to my ship. There are a couple of things I will need. I won't be long, I promise."

"I will go with you," said Enacca, heading for the door first.

Murata nodded silently in agreement and the three left the house without another word. In silence, they left the complex and walked along the boardwalk. RA followed behind and when they reached the ship both he and Murata went on board while Enacca waited outside for them, her stance rigid as she looked out into the distance.

On board, Murata sent RA to fetch her weapon while she went to her private quarters to change. When she had time to prepare for any sort of battle she preferred to wear her other outfit. It was similar to the one she wore now except it wasn't sleeveless and the top was shorter, leaving her midriff exposed and she wore thick, high boots to give her legs extra protection. But the colour remained the same; yellow and white with a thick black outline.

As soon as she was ready she met RA by the main door and saw that he was holding a long, black case in his hands. Instantly she knew what it was and said nothing as they left the ship and she locked it down again. Enacca was still on the landing platform, a few metres away, waiting for them. They joined her and they went back to Karra's home. The trip back seemed shorter and before she knew it, she was back inside the sitting area, noticing the weapons that lay on a nearby table that hadn't been there before.

"How are we getting to the camp?" asked Murata, her eyes lingering on the amount of weapons present.

"Gunship," replied Karra as he inspected his bowcaster. "We stole it from right under their noses."

With one guess Murata would say that Karra was speaking of Imperials as there weren't many others they could steal such a ship from. Murata moved from where she stood and went to middle of the room to see what weapons were there. There were a few blades, extra bowcasters and long-guns. Beside her, Enacca appeared and picked up the largest warblade on the table, her eyes examining it curiously. Murata quickly hid the look of surprise on her face and focused on Karra again.

"When do we leave?"

"Now," said Karra. "Grab a few weapons and follow, quietly."

Murata picked up the remaining warblades as well as one bowcaster and followed Karra out the door. The small group walked for several minutes, going down quite a few levels along the way and the world seemed to get darker and darker. When they arrived at the last lift, Murata stopped and turned to face her droid.

"RA, go back to the ship," she ordered quietly.

"No, mistress," said RA. "I must stay with you."

"No," said Murata quickly. "I'm ordering you to go back. This could be dangerous and I won't see you harmed or damaged. Go back."

Both Enacca and Karra stopped up ahead and watched the small exchange. "Protecting you is part of my programming," said a reluctant RA. "It is my duty to see to your safety, regardless of my own."

"That's touching," said Murata, patting the droid's cold arm. "It really is but RA, I'm in charge and you must obey. Go back. I won't be long. I promise."

There was a pause as RA looked at her, as though pondering on whether she was being serious or not. But it didn't take long for RA to nod as best he could and step back.

"I will go back, mistress," he said. Murata watched as he began to walk away but then he slowed and turned to look at her again. "Be safe."

Once he was out of sight, the three of them entered the lift and went down in silence. It was slow as though attention to it must be kept to a minimum and after getting past three hundred counts, they hit the bottom. Murata looked around, squinting as the darkness had become substantial. The silence was heavy and thick, the noiselessness causing her to hear nothing but the thump of her heart. Without any hesitation, Enacca and Karra moved forward and after a moment, Murata followed.

They went deep into the forest and Murata soon lost count of the small twists and turns they took and before long, in a small clearing, she could see the blurry outlines of others. They all approached, Murata falling back a little, staying weary. Karra greeted all of them and Enacca did the same albeit a little less vocally.

"None will hurt you," assured Enacca, noticing the look on her face. "I give my word."

Murata nodded but said nothing, acknowledging the other Wookiees who all did the same. It was then that Murata noticed it. Behind the new group was a sizeable transport. It was a Low Altitude Assault Transport and it definitely belonged to the Imperials. From where she stood, Murata could see the door was open and once she was closer, she could see the weapons lining the inside. It seemed they were ready for anything.

The Wookiees got on board the transport and Murata watched Enacca and Karra join them before she did as well. The engine started up with a heavy hum and just as Murata took hold of a side panel, they were off, heading even further into the dark forest. The amount of trees that went by was astounding and Murata even saw a few wildlife creatures when she managed to look down from the ship.

It felt like an hour passed before they landed and the door reopened. Murata was the first one to step out and she looked around. Nothing looked different than before and she watched as the others disembarked and Enacca stood beside her. For a moment, the other Wookiees talking amongst each other, trying to decide on what was the best cause of action.

"We'll take cover through the trees," said Enacca, taking notice of what the others were saying too. "And we'll surprise them."

"And then what?" asked Murata, looking up at her friend.

"Leaving survivors is not suggested," said Enacca, knowing what the young girl meant. "I will not ask you to slaughter anyone but remember what this is for. They are monsters and we are only trying to protect our kin. Ask yourself how far you would go for your own."

Murata nodded her understanding. She could sympathise but she didn't know what it really was to fight for someone she was losing. For years it had just been her and RA. The group started moving off and Murata went with them. The forest continued to look the same as they moved through the throng of trees. It was denser than anything Murata had yet travelled through and by the time they stopped, she could feel her chest rise and fall sharply and the dull aching in her sides.

Just beyond the ridge voices could be heard; sharp voices that sounded like a horde of hissing. Murata met Enacca's eye but neither of them said anything. The Wookiees at the front were first to lead the charge. A couple gave a war cry that echoed through Murata's ears but she trailed them in the camp.

The camp was bigger than Murata expected. Four tents littered the area as did a fire pit that was currently wet, as though a fire had just recently been doused. There were several Trandoshans that scattered as the attack began, the hissing increasing in volume. Murata went for the ones furthest away, making sure they didn't escape. She ran as hard as she could and once she was in range, she retrieved her blaster and fired three shots, all of them hitting the targets.

Murata gave herself a small smile before turning and facing the battle again. A hard whack came out of nowhere and hit Murata on her side of her head, sending her to the ground. A pain of shock rippled through her knees and travelled up her spine. The one that hit her came closer, her eyes focusing on him, trying to shake the blurriness from her vision.

The Trandoshan was tall with dark green skin and even darker eyes. But he didn't get any closer as a large warblade passed through his middle, slicing him in half. Murata looked up further and saw Enacca standing before her, offering a hand. Murata took and was pulled back to her feet. The dizziness still swam in her head but she could focus just enough to see what was happening.

"Are you alright?" questioned Enacca.

"Yes," replied Murata. "Thank you."

Enacca nodded once and went back into the thick of the fight. Murata moved to the side of the camp, close to one of the tents. Murata took out her special weapon and as easy as it was to breathe, she put it together. The strap went over her head and she steadied the gun easily with her body.

She fired off the first round and it hit two Trandoshans that went down. Murata then removed her gun and put it away, seeing that the others were under control. She moved in closer to the middle of the camp and watched as five were brought in and shoved onto their knees. Murata took a quick glance around and noticed that most of the slavers were dead while only a few had only been knocked out.

"Tell us what we want to know and I'll consider letting you live," said Karra, stepping forward.

"Never," breathed one of the Trandoshans.

"Fine," said Karra. "Have it your way."

After a single nod from Karra, four of the Trandoshans were killed, their necks snapping easily. The four bodies fell forward, landing with a nauseating bump. For a brief second, Murata looked away, wondering if she was going to throw up the piece of pie she'd eaten. But once everything settled her attention went back to the only Trandoshan left, noticing that it was the one who'd just spoken before.

The Wookiee holding him let go and Karra stepped forward and took a strong hold of him. "My patience is gone," he informed angrily. "Tell me where you took the people you captured!"

"No..." hissed the Trandoshan.

Karra let out a huge roar and pulled on the Trandoshan's arms. A whimper soon accompanied the roar and the pressure slackened. Karra then repeated his actions and he did so a few times before a distinct crack was heard, telling him that the arms had been freed from the sockets.

"Where are they?"

Murata took a small step back. From where she stood she could fell the anger radiating off the Wookiee and it wasn't something she wanted to be particularly close to. An intense scream ripped from the Trandoshans throat and without mercy, Karra dropped him to the ground, a vicious growl escaping from him.

"Where are they?" repeated Karra.

"The Imperials..." said the Trandoshan weakly. "Sold them... to the Imperials."

"Where is their camp?" asked Karra, eyes narrowing.

The Trandoshan took in a quivering breath before answering. "Not far. Walk further north and you will find them."

"Let's go," said Karra to the others.

All the Wookiees turned away, leaving Murata staring at the injured Trandoshan. It was a few seconds before she turned and followed, getting into step beside Enacca. "Are we just going to leave him here?"

"What would you do with him?"

Murata shrugged, having no answer to that. She soon realised they were heading back in the direction they'd come from but she said nothing, realising that they were going back to the ship. It seemed this wasn't yet over and as Murata boarded again, she inhaled deeply, preparing herself for the next part.