CHAPTER 2 – The arrival in Chibias: Harris saves Mara’s life
Within the expected time, the ship left the hyperspace. Harris was seating on the pilot´s seat and waited for the clearance to land on Chibias port #4922B. It took some three minutes to be cleared. He moved down the atmosphere and landed it exactly where the air command had ordered. “Now the fun begins, Mara”, he stood up and grabbed the backpack which he had already prepared. He hit the button on next to the door and walked out, examining the surrounding before Mara did. There was no one in the space port and he found it odd. He scanned the area looking for some danger in vain – he felt that as part of his mission, he should protect her. “Come”, he said to Mara as if he had control over her.
She threw her backpack over her shoulder and walked out the ship. She focused her senses in the Force, trying to perceive any anomaly around them, it was in fact odd that the place felt so empty. She stepped ahead and looked around, the place looked dirty, almost abandoned, but this place wasn’t exactly famous for being nice or tidy, except of course for the palace and the rest of the places the powerful and rich would go around and live in. She hated that world, so vane and artificial. “We should stay alert, this people are not precisely predictable, and they don’t like strangers” she said to Harris, taking the lead and heading to the streets.
Harris nodded. He followed her in silence, paying attention to every detail and by stander in their path -. He was slightly tense as the space port was unusually empty, even for a small world.
After some 200 metres, when they were about to leave the space port through a narrow corridor, the blast door hissed and slammed ahead of Mara before. There was something odd as he saw a couple of reptiles running from one side to the other.
Everything happened in a fraction of second. Harris listened to a couple of clicking sounds coming from behind them – Harris could recognize two blasters being armed anywhere in the galaxy. Suddenly, he realized that they were the targets. Without thinking and acting by his own instincts, without any force influence, he threw onto Mara, protectively, his chest covering her body. Four bolts of laser flew over them. His heart raced; Harris rolled out of her, laid on his back, took his own blaster from holder inside his jacket and shoot at the first Twil”ek, hitting his head. In the next second, he was shooting at the second seal-like species, an Aqualish.
Harris was unprotected as the creature shoot at him repeatedly. All he could do was to roll to the sides in a couple of times. After the creature missed him six times, Harris finally shot the alien in the head.
She thought of an ambush set in place given the odd silence, but she trusted her senses in the Force to alert her. Then it happened, with no warning, Twi’leks came appeared and begun to shoot their blasters. She felt her body pushed down to the ground as Harris protected her from the fire. She saw him pull his blaster and roll away firing back at their attackers. She immediately went on her feet but she couldn’t anticipate their enemies intention, it all made sense. She took and activated her lightsaber, the magenta blade ready to block the fire, but despite being on the ground Harris managed to shoot the las one down. She kept looking for more, but all she saw was the reason she couldn’t sense any of her surroundings through the force, the Ysalamir. She walked up to Harris and extended her hand to help him on his feet. She was embarrassed, and angry, she trusted to much her force senses, she should have anticipated the chance of Ysalamir in the place, especially if the criminal organization wanted to keep force sensitive authorities, weather the Jedi or the Sith lords at bay.
“Are you alright?” She asked Harris, a shadow of concern and guilt tinted her voice as her eyes examined his body for wounds. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see this one coming so quickly” she admitted to her companion.
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Harris took a deep breath – he had no idea of how to use the force, although it had helped him a couple of times. Their mission had hardly begun, and they had been unveiled.
At least, he had scored with the Emperor’s Hand and that was not irrelevant. He stared at Mara who was visibly uneasy with the situation. When asked whether he was alright, he held her hand.
“You look great from under”, he joked in the hope she would smile back. He felt her strong arm helping him to stand. “Do not be sorry. I am glad you did not kill me earlier after all.”, he paused. “We can’t go to the hotel that was booked for us. Someone knows we are here…”, he stood next to Mara and whispered close to her head. “A traitor within the Empire, no big news”, he used a data pad to check a new place for them to stay.
“I have the proverbial bad feeling about this” she said, picking up her backpack from the ground and walking up to Harris “Forget about it, I’ve been here before, I know of a place” she added gesturing with her head for him to follow. It was about 40 minutes standard time for walked before they reached the less charming corner of the city. It was the zone where most of the people who didn’t have much would end up living, but it was safe, most of them where only native families struggling to survive in contrast of the opulence of the main city.
“Thanks, for saving my life back there” she started talking while they walked. “I shouldn’t favor my sense in the Force over my physical awareness” she confessed, still scolding herself for failure, a habit she had developed from an early age under the Emperor’s training.
Harris also had a bad feeling about that. He had no idea about the effects of those reptiles on Mara Jade. Were they placed there on purpose? Harris just attached his data pad back in the backward and started walking behind her. As they walked, he wondered whether they would be disguised properly – after all, both were good looking and Mara was always a girl to be looked at. “You are welcome, Mara. It is my pleasure to be useful to the Hand”, Harris replied, unwilling to mock or make a joke again – that situation had somehow impacted on her. Soon was he walking next to her.
As Mara spoke about the force, he didn’t understand it quite right. Was it something related to the old Jedi religion? For a second, he wanted to make a question, but he remained quiet. “Perhaps we should abort the mission, Mara. Who could possibly know about us coming? What if they are working for the Black Sun? What if they spring a trap tomorrow for you in the Concert Hall?”, he asked truly concerned about her wellbeing.
She had to keep herself from walking faster while considering the trooper’s option. Someone knew they were there, and someone wanted them dead, those were the facts. But backing up from a mission was not something she could think of doing. If anything, the more dangerous it turned, the more it spiked her interest. Or perhaps she was being reckless. It wouldn’t have mattered if she had been on her own, but she had Harris with him, and for some strange reason she felt responsible for his safety, maybe she liked him enough to care. She shook her thoughts away, she had no time to be emotional, she had to focus, forget about the Force and rely only on her own strength and skills. She stopped for a moment and turned to Harris. “I think I may have underestimated the situation, maybe you should go back and bring back reinforcements, but I’m going to stay”, she finished.
“Go back without you? No way!”, Harris replied immediately. Whether she could understand him or not, he equally felt responsible for the girl. He did not want to give the wrong impression for her. “Moreover, I am worth one battalion of stormtroopers”, he friendly punched her right shoulder. He held her shoulder. “We are going together to the Hell’s Gate. Are we far?”
The redhead sighed but smiled. “We’re almost there, this way”, Mara answered, starting to walk again.