Chapter Thirty-Two

Dorme and I's arrival on Tosuna was a stark contrast to my original visit a little over a month ago. Maybe it was because we appeared to be going into battle, our armored bodies decorated by blasters and grenades.

Or it possibly could've been because we had no reservations.

Because of that, the reception staff were not quite as courteous as they'd been before, nor quite as welcoming.

"I'm sorry, Miss Naberrie," the docking official who blocked our entry told us in tones which mocked any remote possibility of politeness, "but only resort guests are allowed beyond this point. I'm afraid you're going to have to await another transport, and another one won't be arriving until tomorrow morning. My advice is for you to find a place to get comfortable. You're going to be here a while. There are 'fresher facilities available for your convenience in the waiting area."

I had no intentions of getting comfortable! I just wanted some answers, and apparently I wasn't going to get any from him! How was I supposed to locate Obi-Wan, if I wasn't even allowed through the door?

I gazed up into the beady eyes set in the narrow face of the mixed-race Falleen and mustered my most authoritative voice, thinking what I wouldn't do to have the ability to use a Force suggestion right about now!

"Listen, there's been a misunderstanding. I'm not a guest. I'm here to investigate the disappearance of a friend of mine who recently arrived on Tosuna."

"And what would this friend's name be?"

I understood Obi-Wan's name was not going to be on the registry, but I was hoping maybe the mention of it would help the official remember him. And maybe, just maybe, he could tell me where Obi-Wan had gone.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi," I told the tall, green-skinned being, and then waited patiently while he checked his datapad.

"There has been no guest registered under that name. I'm sorry."

"Of course there has been," I argued. "We were both here not a month ago. We stayed the entire week! Check again," I demanded.

The docking official hesitated, eyeing me suspiciously, but he did as I asked, smiling smugly when the task was complete. "There is no record of an Obi-Wan Kenobi in the system, madam."

My guess was, my name wouldn't be listed either. It seemed that not only had our memories had been erased, but any evidence of our visit to Tosuna had been as well.

I thought for a moment, not being able to recall meeting this particular individual during my holiday. However, there was one employee at the resort I'd had several discussions with: the manager, Ril'Shi.

"I would like to speak with the resort manager," I demanded, placing my hand upon my holster in an obvious threatening gesture - one which merely increased the skeptical brow on the official's face.

"Wait here," he said, before walking away toward a wall of nothing but windows and doors.

What do you know? It worked!

I was quite pleased with my attempts at intimidation and was about to brag about them to Dorme, when I noticed a frown etched deeply upon her face. She was worried, as she should be, as I should be, I reminded myself. I needed to check my cockiness and watch my step.

Within just a few minutes, the familiar face of the resort manager made her appearance, her long strides carrying her to our location rather quickly.

"How may I assist you today?" she stated, once again stunning me with the false courteousness I had failed to notice before.

"We're here looking for a friend of ours," I explained. "A man by the name of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He arrived on Tosuna fifteen days ago and hasn't been heard from since."

"I'm sorry, but that name doesn't sound familiar. Are you sure he came to Tosuna? There are several resort planets located throughout the neighboring systems."

"I'm sure," I told her, exasperation threatening my previously calm demeanor. "It was Tosuna. He's been here before. I've been here before! Perhaps you remember me? Senator Amidala from Naboo? You and I spoke on several occasions. It's been about a month."

Her piercing yellow gaze studied me for a moment before an oily grin split her narrow face. "My apologies, but neither your name nor your face is familiar to me. Perhaps you spoke with someone else."

"No, I'm sure I..."

Ril'Shi didn't allow any further questions, drawing herself up to her full height, her chin jutting out proudly. "If there is anything else you require, please contact our docking official. He will be happy to assist you. Have a pleasant day."

With confusion written on both our faces, Dorme and I watched the resort manager simply walk away, taking all our hopes of entering the resort with her.

Dumbfounded, we glanced about the docking port, deciding to relax while we gathered our wits, fought off travel fatigue, and came up with an idea of what we were going to do next.

We sat together on a long wooden bench, apparently carved from one of the trees lining the beaches we could see in the distance. It's back depicted scenes of tranquil waters and a variety of fish and other sea life. It was very similar to the artwork located throughout the resort.

What I had once considered charming, however, was nothing short of aggravating now. Stupid resort! Obi-Wan was here, and I couldn't get to him!

"What are we going to do?" Dorme asked, breaking the silence.

There were few options available to us. Surely, the abductor was watching the ports and knew of our arrival. I had almost expected him to greet us, not as kindly as the resort staff, of course, but to at least let us know where we may find Obi-Wan and make the exchange. But, I saw no sign of anyone vaguely resembling a Dark Force user. All I could see were resort staff hustling about, unloading guests, moving luggage, and checking reservations.

Perhaps, the man was testing our patience, or possibly our ingenuity, I decided. Maybe he was expecting us to be uncooperative. It would definitely make things more interesting. I didn't have a problem with fulfilling that desire, however, the trouble was, I didn't quite know how to go about doing it. From where we sat, the landing dock was the control center of the resort. Everything came and went from it, and nothing did so without the explicit supervision of resort staff members. The entire docking platform jutted out over the water, and we had flown in from the sea in order to land next to it. There was one exit, dutifully guarded, an assortment of offices located on the opposite wall, and two 'freshers on the wall directly next to us. In the middle of the lobby were benches, and behind those was a bank of windows next to the open landing platform overlooking the sea.

And that was all there was to it, which told me one thing: If I was going to get to Obi-Wan, I was going to have to go through that exit, and make it past those officials.

However, my decision had come too late. A loud alarm suddenly blared out, followed by a kind female voice sounding over an intercom system.

"Docking procedures are complete. All guests need to move to the resort entrance and have their passes ready. Docking bay number one now secure."

When the announcement had finished, another alarm sounded, a red light situated in the ceiling flashed, and the only exit was closed to us by a set of durasteel doors slamming and bolting shut with a loud clang.

"It looks like we're going to be here for the night," I informed Dorme with much disappointment. "We'll figure something out in the morning."

Dorme had moved to the bench across from me and lay herself upon it. We were the only beings stuck here, and we figured it didn't matter where we made ourselves comfortable anyway. I spread my own legs out on another bench, and stared up at the shadows and light reflections playing off the ceiling. Soon, I could hear Dorme's soft snoring, the light was overtaken by shadow, and I finally surrendered to the heaviness weighing down my eyelids.

It was some time during the night, I felt a gentle tug on my utility belt. Dorme and I had packed light, adding everything we could to the belts around our waists, with Dorme placing the other essentials such as food, water, and explosives, in a pack she carried upon her back.

I realized the annoying movement which had awakened me was centered around my blaster, and I came full awake quickly, strangely disturbed with the idea that a rodent could be chewing on me.

Instead of a rodent, however, I discovered a youngling crouching before me, his huge black eyes staring blankly at me. I had apparently knocked him backward when I jerked upright, although he managed to get up to his oversized feet fairly quickly, shuffling away with great speed.

"Wait!" I called out to him as I followed, turning only for a second to make sure Dorme had come awake as well and was following us. He headed across the waiting area and entered one of the 'freshers. Upon entering into the unit ourselves, I was amazed to discover the youngling had completely vanished.

"What was that?" Dorme asked, her voice bouncing off the cold plastisteel floor and walls.

"If I'm not mistaken, that was a Gildan," I told her, keeping my voice low while I searched the interior, opening the stall doors, and looking beneath the handwashing stations.

"The Gildan are supposed to be extinct," Dorme unnecessarily reminded me.

"And there aren't supposed to be any mines left on Tosuna either," I pointed out.

Indeed, the small being appeared to be a Gildan, a native of the planet Deyer. I was pretty sure it was a male, although I wasn't sure of his age. He was small in stature, but if memory served me correctly, the Gildan were not a large species. They were miners; compact, with big feet for navigating rocky terrain, and huge eyes for taking advantage of minimal light sources.

If I were that small, where would I hide? I wondered as I entered the last stall and looked around. It was Dorme who tapped on my shoulder from behind and then pointed up at the ceiling. There, we spied a misplaced tile.

With her assistance, I stepped up on the disposal unit and removed the tile completely to reveal a wide duct system, which seemed to travel out and away from the dock. That had to be where our friend had gone, and where we were about to head ourselves.

If the Tosuna Resort staff weren't going to help us, then maybe this little Gildan would.