Added on May 01, 1999
Category: Science Fiction/Star Wars
Author: R. John Burke

Corellian Overdrive

STAR WARS: The FREEDOM Adventures Episode Nine

DESRIPTION: This story, and the next, will wrap up the Thrawn plotline, as well as giving Kerri Lynden her first brush with the Dark Side.

NOTICE: Star Wars belongs to LucasFilm, Thrawn, Bel Iblis and Mara Jade belong to Timothy Zahn, and the computer I'm writing on belongs to Sears, at least until I make a few more payments. No infringement is meant to any of the above parties on a purely non-profit work of fan fiction.


"Here she comes," said Lieutenant Covell, from her post at Weapons. She nodded at the giant shape of I.S.S. EXECUTOR lumbering towards them on the viewport. "If anybody has any last requests, make them now."

Mykel Garreth, captain of the Rebel Alliance frigate FREEDOM, drummed his fingers on his chair arm to bleed off some of his nervousness.

"If this doesn't work," he said softly, "We're all in a lot of trouble."

"It will work," said Commander Kerri Lynden from beside him, her dark eyes serene despite the pressure. "I know what I'm doing."

Garreth looked from the Weapons station to the Nav/Comm pit and back. "Where is Marta Janzen, anyway?"

Lieutenant Sedra Covell, returned just a few minutes ago from her mission to contact General Bel Iblis and the Corellian resistance cell, shifted uncomfortably. "I really think it should wait until we have more time, sir."

"She's not hurt, is she?" Garreth asked. Covell and Janzen had been trapped behind enemy lines for two days while the EXECUTOR, secretly under the command of Garreth's old friend from his Imperial days, Thrawn, had blockaded Corellia. Now FREEDOM had drawn the humongous ship away, to the outer planets of Talus and Tralus.

Drawing EXECUTOR was one thing. Defeating it was another.

On the subject of Marta Janzen, Covell said, "No, sir. She's fine, but..."

"But?"

Covell nodded at the EXECUTOR, already twice as large in the viewport as it had been before. "But there's really not enough time to explain."

Garreth reluctantly shifted back to the matter at hand. "Range?"

"Too close," said Covell.

Just as Garreth was about to reprimand her for the series of pithy answers, Lt. Harkin, a dark-haired Chandrilan who had swung over to Nav/Comm to replace Janzen, said, "Mav Squadron is reporting in."

"Put it through."

The gruff voice of Rik Evverd, FREEDOM's X-Wing squadron commander, said, "Mission on Tralus accomplished. You want to tell me why I had to swung down to the planet to evacuate an art gallery?"

"Well, it would be rather callous to destroy it with the people still inside..."

"WHAT?"

Garreth smiled, enjoying having the upper hand on the unpredictable Corellian for once. "Get you people out of there, Commander. FREEDOM out."

Just as Evverd snapped off the comm switch, the message light blinked again.

"It's from EXECUTOR," said Harkin.

"She's almost in weapons range," Covell reminded him.

Garreth took a deep breath, and gestured for Harkin to put the Imperial ship on speakers.

"...tain Niriz, commanding the Super Star Destroyer EXECUTOR, to the Rebel frigate over Tralus: You will disarm your weapons and prepare to be boarded, in the name of the Emperor."

"Some incentive," Garreth muttered, then said more loudly, "Captain Niriz, I'd like to speak to the captain of the Executor before I agree to any terms."

"I command the Executor."

Garreth laughed. "That's cute. Now why don't you let me talk to Thrawn?"

Niriz choked slightly, and when he came back on, Garreth recognized the cool tones of a carefully calculated reply. "There is no officer named Thrawn on board this ship."

"Isn't there?" Garreth said, trying not to consider the idea that he had been mistaken about his old friend's presence on the other vessel. "Well, why don't you tell the officer who isn't there that if I don't speak to him, I'm going to proceed with my business without his input. And he doesn't want that."

Niriz said, "You Rebel scum, we'll..."

But the comm cut off, and when it returned to operation, confident, alien-accented tones filled the air. "This is Thrawn. It has been a long time, Captain Garreth."

"It has." Garreth hesitated. "Sneaking around, Thrawn? Having to hide your true influence? All because of your heritage? Isn't that a little degrading?"

"I prefer a low profile," the voice said drily.

"The Alliance welcomes beings of all species," Garreth said, remembering that there had been a time when he had called Thrawn friend, and meant it. "Why don't you join us? Defection has worked out quite well for me, I assure you."

"Alas, I am afraid the idea of commanding such traitors holds little appeal for me." Thrawn paused. "We are wasting time, Captain. What is it you wish?"

"Merely to warn you," Garreth said, "I remember you used to be very fond of art. If you ever wish to see any of the priceless original pieces at the Tralus Central Gallery, you'd best go take a last look now. They won't exist much longer."

Thrawn actually sounded surprised. "You would resort to common terrorism?"

"And what is your blockade of this system?" Garreth asked rhetorically, "But an attempt to spread terror? Remove the blockade, Thrawn, or I will destroy those works forever."

Thrawn hissed softly. "It is true that art is one of my passions, but I am above all a warrior. You know that, Captain. You cannot expect that I will submit to this."

"Perhaps I can't," Garreth said, and gestured to Covell, "Destroy it."

Sedra Covell nodded, and on the viewscreen several rounds of concussion missiles lanced out at the surface of Tralus. Covell checked her readouts, then looked up.

"Target destroyed."

"Do you realize what you have done?" Thrawn's voice was tight with barely-controlled rage, "A thousand years of culture and beauty recklessly incinerated!"

"Sorry about that," said Garreth, "Incidentally, I plan to do the same thing to the Third Age Gallery on Talus." He hesitated, then added, "Catch me if you can."

Garreth cut the comm off, then said to the officer at Helm, "Course 3-0-1 mark 0-5-9. Take us right past Centerpoint station, through the heart of the double gravity well."

FREEDOM banked and sped off towards the massive round starport on the sensors, the EXECUTOR's turbolasers beginning to nip at their aft shields.

"And now, Thrawn, old friend," he said quietly, "You will follow, won't you?"

"The frigate is heading towards Centerpoint Station," reported the sensor chief.

In his command chair, blue-skinned Grand Admiral Thrawn nodded. "He wishes to draw us in. Why?"

"I don't know, sir," said Captain Niriz, "But we should not follow them that close to Centerpoint. There's too little room to maneuver. If the rest of the Rebel fleet is out here..."

"There are no other Rebel ships," Thrawn said, "Not right here, at least. There is only Mykel Garreth, and whatever trap he believes he has set."

"With respect, sir, that would be suicide!" Niriz said, "Attacking the EXECUTOR with a ship of that size!"

"Yes," said Thrawn, "Therefore I must believe that there are other ships. Or so my old comrade hopes."

He gestured forward, towards Centerpoint. "He knows me well. He know that I would never fall for such an obvious lure as this. He acts as though he wishes for us to follow him. Which means that it is actually the last thing he wants."

"Then what does he expect you to do?"

The admiral frowned. "I do not know. Perhaps he believes that I will go around the perimeter of the planet to attack from that angle, bringing us further away from Corellia, and giving the main Rebel fleet time to launch an attack there. Perhaps he hopes I will simply ignore him, and use his terrorism against Tralus to justify an even harsher stance against Corellia, one that would unify the Corellian rebels against us."

Thrawn kept his eyes on the fleeing NEBULON frigate. "Or perhaps it is some even more subtle trap. In any case, we will do exactly what Garreth appears to want." He gestured at the helm, "Plot an intercept course past Centerpoint Station."

His red eyes glowed brightly. "I want that ship."

"EXECUTOR has entered the planet's gravity well," Sedra Covell announced, "Though I don't know why. You told him right where we going. He could have just met us there."

"Yes," Garreth said, "But that's not the way Thrawn's mind works. He's incredibly complex. Given the chance, he'll outthink himself."

From the engineering pit, the Wookiee Gaaraanzi rumbled, "And it seems that we do not think enough. How can we defeat him, even now?"

"Maybe we'll get lucky." Garreth glanced at his first officer. Low enough that only she could hear, he whispered, "Kerri?"

Kerri's eyes were closed, olive-toned face perfectly composed. "I'm already working on it."

"Closing in," said one of the EXECUTOR's bridge officers, "Frigate's aft shields are gone. Taking hull damage."

Captain Niriz turned to his superior. "Shall we launch TIE fighters?"

"After his barbaric destruction of the Central Gallery?" Thrawn's expression was dark, and Niriz only knew that he most certainly did NOT want to be the Rebel captain at this moment. "Garreth is mine."

Unseen by the two officers, the face of the EXECUTOR's helmsmen went suddenly blank, his arms hanging limp at his sides.

On the FREEDOM, Kerri Lynden reached out with her secret talent in the Force. When she found the proper mind, she touched it. It was a relatively weak mind, just some poor stiff obeyeing orders. Kerri hoped he would not be too badly disciplined.

And Kerri planted a compulsion in his mind.

Engage the hyperdrive, she told him...

"Frigate's hull integrity is down to forty percent," said the weapons officer.

"Excellen..." Thrawn stoppped in mid-word as an unfamilair sound touched his ears. "Our engines have engaged..."

On the viewscreen, stars turned into starlines as the Imperial Super Star Destroyer jumped into hyperspace inside a gravity well. Something blew belowdecks, and the emergency cutoffs disengaged the hyperdrive before they'd gone half a lightyear. The lights on the bridge winked out, then came back on with dim emergency power. Consoles and panels shorted out, and hull plates cracked.

When it was ove, EXECUTOR was floating unpowered, cavitating to starboard and slightly upwards, for all intents and purposes dead in space.

It would take days to complete repairs, probably. And their hyperdrive was probably burned out altogether. Even less than a lightyear out, it would take months to return to Corellia without one.

"What happened?" Niriz asked.

Thrawn's fingers dug into the upholstery of his chair so hard that Niriz feared it would rip. "Somehow he caused our hyperdrive to engage."

"But that's impossible!"

The glowing eyes closed again. "If you believe that, Captain," said Thrawn, "Then you do not know Mykel Garreth..."

"What happened?" Covell asked. "Why'd she go to lightspeed?"

"I... er, remembered some of Thrawn's old command codes," Garreth said, knowing that Kerri's identity as a hidden Jedi Knight must be preserved.

"He hasn't changed them in years?" The weapons officer was rightfully skeptical.

"It was a gamble," said Garreth, "It paid off."

Kerri Lynden said, "Do you think the Emperor will have Thrawn killed?"

The ex-Imperial considered that. "I doubt it. He's too valuable for that. Most likely they'll just ship him back to the Unknown Regions and give his command to Screed or Ozzel or someone."

"And good riddance," said Rik Evverd as he exited the bridge liftcar. "Not bad, Captain."

"Thank you, Mister Evverd." Garreth enjoyed the other's respect while he could, though he felt a little guilty in accepting praise when it was Kerri who had done the job. Of course, Evverd, as Kerri's longtime friend, would doubtlessly hear the whole story from her later.

"Now," said Garreth, "I believe we should contact General Bel Iblis and tell him to use what time we've bought him."

"Before you do that, sir..." Sedra Covell ascended to the main level from the Weapons crew pit. "There's something you should deal with. We may have a big problem."

"You did WHAT?" Mykel Garreth was livid as he faced his Calamarian security chief in the wardroom.

Okel's salmon color flushed, and he said, "I did not want to, Captain. But I felt the responsibility to detain Marta Janzen until the ship thief's claims were investigated."

Sedra had led Garreth and Kerri to the wardrom, where Chief Okel had explaned about the Imperial stealth comm unit that the new passenger, ship thief Niles Ferrier, had claimed to find in the possession of their navigator.

"Listen to me carefully, Chief," said the captain, "I don't care what Niles Ferrier says. The man is a ship thief, and that is his best point! I certainly would not take his word over Janzen's! That transmitter was probably his!"

Okel's facial expressions were usually unreadable, but he was clearly tired and frustrated. "That was my first impression as well, Captain. But my people have examined the transmitter, and it is keyed to the specific bioreadings of Lieutenant Marta Janzen. Furthermore, it contains a number of security codes and protocols that are undoubtedly Imperial."

"Isn't that a little convenient?" said Kerri. "I mean, would the Empire really make it that easy for us to uncover one of their spies."

Now Okel looked really uncomfortable. "That also occured to me. Thinking it might be a set-up, I checked Captain Ferrier's ship for any similar patterns or encrypts that might reveal deception. It checked out clean."

Garreth heard an unspoken "And..." in his voice. He nodded for the Mon Calamari to continue.

"I... also checked out FREEDOM's computer system for similar routines, as a precaution. I found Imperial codes and files full of classified data in Janzen's personal file."

"That's insane!" said Garreth, "No halfway decent spy would give themselves away so easily!"

"Perhaps not," said Okel, "But that is what I know. In addition, some of Janzen's information suggested the presence of a partner onboard this ship."

"Oh, now come on, Chief," said Kerri, "One spy, maybe, but two Imperial spies on the same relatively unimportant ship? That's got to be false."

"It would seem likely," Okel agreed, "Still, as Chief of this boat it is my duty to inform you, captain, that we have located similar incriminating information in the personal files of another officer."

"Who?" asked Garreth.

The Calamarian averted his eyes, "Commander Lynden."

"WHAT?" said Kerri, "You can't believe I'm working for the Empire!"

"I, personally, do not," said the chief, his large, round eyes swivelling around in dismay. "But it is my duty to request a search of your quarters."

"Go ahead!" said Lynden, "I'm not hiding anything!"

Garreth believed her. For one thing, she'd just helped them defeat - or at least stall - a ship 100 times their size. Besides, Kerri was a Jedi. She was hiding from the Empire, not serving it.

Unless she was a Dark Jedi, like Vader, and her fugitive story was just a cover. She had been late returning from her mission to infiltrate Imperial Intelligence in Sluis sector. Sharing information with friends?

No, Garreth decided. Ridiculous. If they started jumping at shadows, doubting their allies just because some ship thief had made an accusation, if the Alliance fell victim to paranoia and distrust, they were finished.

An ex-Imperial officer himself, he trusted himself to know the Imperial type, and Kerri wasn't it.

Now Janzen... she had always been rather cold-blooded, and Garreth had been wondering from the beginning where it was he knew her from...

First things first, he decided.

"Conduct your search, Chief. In the meantime, Lieutenant Janzen is confined to quarters."

"Understood," said Okel. Then, rather hesitantly, "And Commander Lynden?"

"Is not a suspect," said Garreth. "Thrawn is very good at this sort of thing. I wouldn't put it past him to plant information here to sow distrust."

Chief Okel seemed greatly relieved not to have to take his friend into custody. "And what of Niles Ferrier?"

Garreth almost smiled. "I'll talk to him."

The yellow eyes glowed within a black hood, but instead of seeing that image on a holosender, Mara Jade - Marta Janzen to the FREEDOM's crew - saw it inside her mind. To the outside world she appeared to be sleeping, but in truth she was open to the Force.

"Why have you contacted me in this manner?" asked the Emperor.

"I know it's dangerous to use this degree of Force power near Lynden," Mara answered his unspoken objective, "But I wanted you to know the operation has begun."

"Excellent. How long?"

Mara's mental image of herself shrugged. "Depends on how hard she is to turn. No more than a couple of months."

"This is a risk, My Hand," said the Emperor, "If they fail to suspect the Jedi, but instead focus on your own Imperial ties, they could discover your true nature. All could be endangered."

"Don't worry, my master," said Mara Jade, "Ferrier is being very well-paid to sow confusion. Thrawn helped out with some Imperial encrypts and files. And there's another element we can count on to cause trouble..."

Evverd leaned against the doorjamb, somehow managing to look angry and disinterested at the same time. Beside him, Gaar was flexing his furry hands in anticpation and growling every so often.

Leaving Garreth as the voice of reason. "Now, look, Mister Ferrier, it's not that we doubt your claims. It's just that these two people are very good friends of ours. We'd hate to see them suffer because of some sort of mistake. We're only interested in the truth."

"Translation," Evverd deadpanned, "If you're lying, we're going to hurt you."

"Look," said the heavyset man with the cigarra from his place at the wardroom table. He glanced up at the Rebel soldier whose blaster rifle was covering him, winced, and said, "Look, I told you, I don't know anything about the other lady. All I know is Janzen. I caught her talking to Captain Niriz on the EXECUTOR."

"When?"

The big man put his feet up on the table, blowing a puff of tabbacc smoke. "When we were in the warehouse, before we left Corellia. I couldn't risk tellin' anybody until we were safe."

"Why would she contact the Empire with you so close?" Evverd asked, "That'd be real stupid."

"She didn't know I was back yet. When I got there, she cut the comm, but I already saw who she was talking to."

"And I suppose you're telling us this out of the goodness of your heart?" The starfighter pilot took a step forward.

"Course not. I expect a reward." Ferrier spread his hands apart, to indict a space as long as his reach. "A big one."

"You scum..." said Evverd.

Garreth motioned his junior officer back. "Now, Commander, he is perfectly within his rights to ask for a reward for this information. Provided it is accurate."

"Oh, it's accurate," said Ferrier.

"You know," said Garreth. He leaned in over the table, close to Ferrier's ear, "We might be able to make an even better deal. We understand that Niriz isn't really commanding the Imperial force at all, that they've got him as a figurehead for some other officer. Perhaps Janzen mentioned something?"

Ferrier's eyes lit up. "How much?"

"How much can you imagine?"

The ship thief blew another gout of smoke, and Garreth struggled not to cough. "I can imagine lots."

"It can be arranged."

Evverd slapped a palm against the wall. "Oh, c'mon, captain! I can't believe you're gonna pay this loser!"

"You stay out of this," said Ferrier. Stroking his beard thoughtfully, he said, "Fifty thousand. Half up front."

"Seventy," Garreth countered, "But all after we have the name."

And Ferrier's greedy little thieving heart could take no more. "Thrawn. The name's Thrawn. I heard Niriz say it to Janzen."

"You're certain?"

Ferrier nodded. "Real sure. Where's my reward?"

Garreth straightened up and walkerd away. He gestured to his squadron leader. "Pay him, Commander."

Evverd took two steps and swung from the heels, snapping Ferrier's head back and tossing him right off his chair. Ferrier and his chair landed on the deck in a heap, the thief cursing all the time.

"What do you think..."

"Niriz wouldn't have just casually mentioned Thrawn's name over the comm," said Garreth, "It was top-secret. So either you saw Jade talking to Thrawn - in which case you've already lied to us--"

"Or you're working for Thrawn," finished Evverd, and Gaar roared enthusiastic approval.

Ferrier got unsteadily to his feet. He seemed to consider retaliating against Evverd, but thought better of it when Gaar growled at him.

"I don't believe this!" said Ferrier, "I gift-wrap a spy for you, and now you'd rather believe her than me!"

"We like her," Evverd explained, "We hate you."

"Yeah, well, I just hope Bel Iblis is a little more reasonable..."

Evverd grabbed a handful of the Corellian's shirt. "You think you're going to Bel Iblis, tough guy? You think you're even leaving this ship, now that we know you're lying?"

"I don't have to," said Ferrier, and he spat blood from his now-swollen lip onto the floor at Evverd's boots. The Corellian backed off in distaste.

Ferrier said, "I already sold her to Bel Iblis."

At that moment, Sedra Covell's voice came through on the comm, "Captain, there's a courier ship approaching. She's got Alliance markings, and she's transmitting clearance codes. I guess General Bel Iblis decided to risk the blockade after all..."

Garreth cursed, and glared at the ship thief. Then he looked to Gaar. "I'll handle this. If he speaks, moves, or breathes, maul him."

The Wookie hooted with glee, and directed a fang-filled snarl at the ship thief.

"Come on," the captain said to Evverd, "I've got a bad feeling about this..."

The shuttle settled to the dock, and Garreth's bad feeling intensified. "Looks like you'll get your shot at talking to the Corellian resistance after all, Commander."

Rik Evverd shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, well, I guess it won't be so bad. As long as it's Bel Iblis himself, and not..."

The ramp opened, and two figures strode down it. One was a tough-looking white haired woman. The other was a heavyset tall man with dark skin, a shaved head...

And a definite facial resemblance to Rik Evverd.

His flight leader muttered an unrepeatable Corellian curse, and Garreth said, "Friend of yours?"

The man stepped forward. "You're Captain Garreth?"

"That's right," he said, and shook the other's hand.

"We represent the Corellian resistance. This woman is Irenez, one of General Bel Iblis' aides. I am Captain Rasir Evverd."

The big man glanced down at the thinner, more athletic version of himself with something bordering on distaste. "I don't imagine he's mentioned me."

Rik Evverd had become fascinated with the shine on his boots. "Hi, Dad."

Irenez appeared to be as surprised as Garreth was. She looked from one to the other, her face probably mirroring Garreth's own.

"Well," she said, "I can see it's going to be an interesting negotiation."

"Negotiation?"

The white-haired woman nodded. "We're here to bring Marta Janzen into custody for crimes against the Corellian resistance."

"You don't seem to understand, Captain," Rasir Evverd said, inside Garreth's cluttered quarters now. He and Irenez sat in fron t of the desk, while Garreth sat and Rik stood behind it.

"That battleship arrived in-system very soon after you did. Niriz blockaded our planet only hours after she landed here. It seems obvious to us that Janzen is co-ordinating Imperial activities in this sector through her position on this ship."

"That's just stupid," said Rik, "Janzen has been on this ship for months! You can't think it's a grudge against you, personally!"

"Don't you ever speak to me like that," said his father, "Perhaps she has done damage to the whole Alliance, but it has had the clearest impact on Corellia. She was caught here. She's ours."

"I can't allow that," said Garreth. "Not until we're certain..."

The door hissed open, and Chief Okel entered, alien eyes swiveling. "I apologize. I did not mean to..."

Glad for the break, Garreth said, "It's okay, Chief. What is it?"

"We have completed our search of Commander Lynden's cabin," said the Mon Calamari. His large, sad eyes told Garreth that he'd found something.

Garreth got up from his desk, half-ran across the room, and steered the alien by the shoulder out of his office.

"Will you excuse us, please? Won't take a moment..." He had no intention of involving Kerri in this until he knew what was going on.

The door slid shut behind them.

"Interesting people you've gotten involved with, boy. Protecting a spy from what she deserves."

Rik Evverd grunted. "Not now, dad, huh?"

Irenez nodded agreement. "Perhaps it is best that we put our personal feelings aside..."

"Now, this Commander Lynden," said the older man, "She's the first officer, right? How is she connected to all this?"

Evverd took a step forward, but halted himself with a visible effort. "She's not. Forget about her."

"I'm not going to forget about anything that could be important to the Alliance. Now, who is she?"

The younger Evverd leaned over the desk, eyes meeting his father's from a distance of about two centimeters. "I'm warning you right now. Stay away from her." He stormed across the room to the door. "And stay away from me while you're at it..."

Seeing Evverd storm out of the office, Garreth motioned him over. "Problem?"

"You better clear Janzen fast, Captain, or he'll have her head. No one can be stubborn like my dad."

"It gets worse," said Garreth, "Chief?"

The Calamarian gestured in what Garreth guessed was apology. "We found another holosender in Commander Lynden's quarters, along with additional incriminating files. It looks very much like she is aiding Janzen in treason."

Evverd laughed aloud. "Come on, you can't believe that?"

"It's not a question of what I believe anymore," said Garreth, "It's what they believe. You tell me, Commander. What will your father do if he finds out about this, and we fail to turn over Janzen and Kerri?"

"My dad?" said the other man, chagrined, "He'd rip up the Corellian treaty with his bare hands."

"I was afraid of that." Garreth set his jaw. "I will not jeopardize the stability of the Alliance over this. Nor will I turn in an innocent woman. I need options."

"You need to let me beat Ferrier to a pulp," Evverd said, "That'll get us some answers."

"Actually, that's our other problem." Garreth hissed softly. "One of Okel's people found Gaar unconscious in the wardroom."

"Ferrier? Took down a WOOKIEE?"

Okel said, "However he did it, he successfully reached his ship and made it into hyperspace. He is gone."

"I don't get it. I thought he was so keen on going to Bel Iblis. Why would he leave without even talking to the General's people?"

"I don't know," said Garreth. And, the FREEDOM's captain knew, it hardly mattered. The key point was that Ferrier was their only link to what was really going on. "I need options."

Rik Evverd brightened. "I have one. And don't even ask what it is, because if you know you can't deny it later."

Garreth frowned. "What are you planning?"

"I'm gonna buy Kerri some time," the Coreelian said, "Just get in there and stall them. Me and Okel will handle this."

"We will?" said the Calamarian.

The trooper was unconscious on the floor, Kerri Lynden had been brought to the brig, and Rik Evverd operated the controls to open Marta Janzen's security cell.

Janzen looked up. Before she could speak, though, her green eyes took in the unconscious guard. "What's going on?"

"We're taking a vacation," said Kerri, "Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"You," said Evverd, "Are gonna get your butts out of here so the Corellians can't do anything crazy until we know what's going on."

"Good enough for me," said Janzen, immediately on the move, "I'm sick of this whole business."

Okel led her out, to the waiting supply shuttle that would take Kerri and Janzen to a safe port until their names could be cleared.

Evverd and Kerri stopped at the door. "You be careful."

Kerri frowned. "You're not coming?"

"And miss out on the family reunion?" He laughed. "No. You talk to Janzen, see if you can figure out where she found that ship thief, where he might've gotten an Imperial transmitter, why he'd set her up. That kind of thing."

Kerri frowned. "What are you going to do?"

Evverd handed his friend her lightsaber, then checked the charge on his own blaster. "I'm going after Ferrier..."

Continued in Episode 10

R. John Burke



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