Through ragged breaths, the Jedi sought to calm himself but meditative calm aboard the bounty hunter's ship [i]Apostasy[/i] would not be found. Still kneeling in the center of the ship's small common area, he remained quiet seeking whatever rest he could to salve his weary spirit.

Sighing, he rubbed the freshly treated blaster wound on his thigh. It was healing but not as fast as he would like or should. His exhaustion was getting the best of him.

Pale blue eyes alighted on the box of lightsabers and padawan braids and draped in a worn blanket he had found. No matter how deep in a corner he pushed it, the box always remained to haunt him.

The box should be taken and buried someplace nice. He would not allow those items to be desecrated as their owners had once been.

Needing to look away, Obi-Wan's gaze miserably settled on the black helmet of his new identity that sat before him and was reminded of Emeute's words. Her accusations had damned him but he could not blame her. He had known the moment he stared into the masked face of the bounty hunter. It was like the face of death that had led the charge to wipe out the Jedi. The face he had created. A feral howl escaped the Jedi and in fierce retaliation he lashed out and sent the helmet flying across the room.

"Hey, Boss?"

Obi-Wan's breath caught at the interruption. Casting about the ship and his immediate surroundings, he was quickly assured there was no one physically with him. Staring up at the small comm speaker attached to a support the Jedi relaxed slightly. "Yes, Dahla?" He hoped she had not heard his previous outburst, in fact he wondered how often she listened in on the ship's happenings.

"You okay?"

"Of course," he shrugged off the question hoping it would end there.

There was a long silence before Dahla spoke up again. "You wanted me to tell you when the Imps showed up. They just came out of hyperspace. Must have been right on your tail. You might want to bug out, Boss. That girl isn't worth your life."

The Jedi winced at the matter-of-fact tone his unseen companion had.

"I don't have the girl yet. Another hunter arrived and the girl's protectors took to hiding.

"You know Hashaar has never liked you, not since that Twi'lek on Selis Prime. Besides, you know he's got a lot of interest in the Jedi kid."

"What kind of interest?" Obi-Wan asked, wondering if he should already know the answer.

There was an unsettling pause. "Come on, Boss, you know he likes pretty little girls and that Jedi is supposed to be real cute." There was a pause. "They will do everything to take her alive. If you get in the way, you give him an excuse to take you out."

"I don't think he needs much of an excuse." After a moment of thought, he spoke evenly, "I will get the girl first." Straightening slightly, he turned to face the armor collected on the bench. If Emeute Farrago were fated to death at such a young age, it would be with the least amount of suffering. Smoothly, he rose to his feet.

"You know best." There was a hint of worry in her voice. Suddenly changing the subject, Dahla piped up, "It just came down the line a little while ago. They got another one of those Jedi in Corellia. There's just a handful of bounties left Kenobi notwithstanding. Pretty soon you'll have to go back to tracking scum again."

"After hunting Jedi, everything else seems boring. I might have to consider retiring.

"Yeah, getting you a girl and raising a couple of pups? Sure, Boss, we all got to have dreams."

"One must sleep to dream." Stalking silently across the common area of the ship, Obi-Wan grasped one of the silver blasters. He twisted it about in the white lighting and made a slight adjustment to it. Holding the weapon out, he studied it and made another adjustment. "I'll take care of the girl and contact you later."

"Sure, Boss."

He listened carefully until he heard a soft electronic click of the link closing. Approaching the small communications unit, he studied it momentarily before reaching for the brushed silver chest plate. Before pulling it on, he paused again and activated the recording device.

"Dahla–"

________________

Emeute wore the simple, pale blue outfit of an average Vegoian schoolgirl and her hair tamed with a simple blue ribbon. Over her shoulder was the requisite shoulder pack with a few lessons in it for authenticity. She walked silently between Assari and a tall man in the elegant, deep purple robes of a Vegoian priest.

Assari placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. "You understand, child, why we could not find your biological parents."

A sad nod was Emeute's only response.

"It is not safe for either you or them. We have already missed a shuttle to the arrival of more bounty hunters."

"I know. I just wanted a family. My master–"

"We will find you a family," the rich voice of their male companion, Ia Picairo, said. He smiled warmly at the frightened girl. "We will take you to my cousin on Alderaan. As far as anyone is concerned your parents were killed in a pirate attack and you will be living with her and her family." He gently tipped her chin up revealing tear swollen eyes. "You will be just like any other child. They will not hunt you anymore.

Shaking her head, Emeute stopped. "I am Jedi," she defiantly announced, her fingers reached up into her tied back hair searching for the buried padawan braid.

"The Jedi are gone. You must now be nothing that draws the attention of the Empire," he replied. "You still have their teaching and someday, when it is safer you will pass that knowledge on to others who will want to learn the ways of the past. For now, you must be nothing special. You must be a child with the hopes and dreams of a child."

With those final words, the spirit fell in the girl. Tugging at the blue shirt, Emeute nodded offering up a little sniffle. Picairo had said nothing different than Master Geya had. She had made the girl promise to hide, promise to do what was necessary to survive. She had seen that same put into action in the form of Jedi Kenobi in the armor of a bounty hunter.

Another thought came to her. Master Geya did not train a coward.

In the middle of the cobblestone street, the fifteen-year-old stopped, automatically and she reached for her hip where her lightsaber had always been. Panic washed over her at the reminder she had lost it when her master had been killed. Quickly grabbing hold of herself, she ripped the pack off her shoulder and pulled it open. Her guardians had told her to get rid of the lightsaber Obi-Wan had given her but she could not, just as she could not bring herself to cut her padawan braid. From the bottom of the school pack, she found the familiar heavy weight of the hilt.

Throwing the bag down, she activated the pale violet saber blade revealing a well trained, if not very young, Jedi padawan. "Get back!" she ordered separating herself from her protectors. Warning rippled all around her and she didn't know which direction she should expect the attack from, but whatever happened she would face her fate as she had been taught.