Added on May 08, 1999
Category: Science Fiction/Star Wars
Author: R. John Burke

Flights Of Fancy

STAR WARS: By FREEDOM'S Light Episode Six

DESRIPTION: Multiple plotlines open up: The crew of the FREEDOM now has a navigator AND a captain to save.

NOTICE: Star Wars is copyright Lucasfilm. This is a totally non-profit work of pure fan fiction, and is not for sale.


The specialized sensor pack whirred for a moment, then bleeped as it achieved its results. From his astromech slot, R2-B0 chirped out his analysis.

Evverd frowned. Halfway around the arc of Pollis from his mothership, the NEBULON-class frigate FREEDOM, he'd been assigned an important mission, one that could decide the fate of their navigator, Lieutenant Taryn Clancee.

And it looked like he'd failed.

"Evverd to FREEDOM," he said, "There was a Star Destroyer here, all right. I've got traces from an old ion trail, looks like Kuat Drive Yards work. But nothing on the hyperspace-emissions band, which either means that they didn't go to lightspeed..."

The R2 unit tweedled again.

"Or, like Bo says, that this fancy new sensor pack doesn't work."

On the comm, the FREEDOM's first officer, Kerri Lynden, sighed. "Well, we had to try it. Besides helping with Clancee, it would have been very nice to have a way to detect a hyperspace course after the ship was gone."

"Well, let's not give up on the first option," said Evverd, "Maybe they never went to lightspeed. Anyplace around here big enough to hide a Star Destroyer or two?"

"What do you think?" Kerri asked. The Pollis system had only three planets. a grand total of two moons, and almost nothing else.

"I think we're back to the drawing board," said Evverd, referring to the tech stuff and to Taryn.

I owe Clancee, he thought. We gotta find her. He'd even insisted on flying with a fractured wrist, just to do something to help.

Evverd turned his X-Wing around in a slow, lazy loop, and started off towards the other side of the planet.

On the bridge of the FREEDOM, Kerri Lynden found herself leaning forward in the command chair, tapping her feet and drumming her fingers.

I can't remember the last time I was this nervous, she thought.

Kerri Lynden was a Jedi Knight, in hiding from the Emperor. Her mother, the great Knight Kaelin Joth, had been dealt with personally by Lord Vader. Kaelin had taught her daughter well; there were few occasions indeed when Kerri could not reach into the Force for insight and clarity.

And yet, when she reached into the Force to calm herself, she could find no comfort. It was almost as if her nervousness was coming from the Force.

"I have a bad feeling about this," she said suddenly.

About WHAT? she wondered.

Lieutenant Weeilka spoke from the Nav/Comm station. "Commander, I have a transmission from Lieutenant Covell on the planet."

"Put it on."

Lieutenant Sedra Covell, their Weapons officer, had gone down to the planet with Captain Garreth to search for Taryn there.

She said, "The captain's been taken prisoner!"

"What?"

Covell went on, "Boba Fett was here. He took the Captain!"

Chief Okel, their Calamarian head of security, looked up. "Boba Fett? Are you certain?"

"Unless there's somebody else with Mandalorian armor and no sense of humor."

Lieutenant Harkin sounded off from Weapons. "I have a new contact, incoming fast from the planet surface! Transport class, heavily armed!"

"That'll be him," said Covell, "You've got to stop him!"

"We're working on it," said Kerri. She watched the magnification-overlay on the viewport as the tarnished attack craft SLAVE I blasted up from the planet.

Something's wrong, she thought immediately. That ship feels wrong.

An image flashed into her head, perhaps brought on by the Force, perhaps not. "Is Evverd in position to scan that thing with our new sensor package?"

"He's still around the axis of Pollis," said Harkin, "Why?"

Kerri stared at the viewer, not sure how she knew. She just knew. "That's not the SLAVE I..."

"Maverick One, this is FREEDOM. Repeat, Mav Leader, this is FREEDOM. Please respond."

Evverd slapped the comm on. "This is Mav leader. What's the problem?"

"Rik, stay sharp over there. Boba Fett is in-system. He seems to be trying to fool us with sensor ghosts, which means his real exit vector is probably on your side of the planet."

"Um, copy that..." said Evverd. Something pinged on his scopes. "That might be him now..."

"All right," said Kerri's voice, "We're going to meet you over there. Head back now."

"Why are you coming towards him?" Evverd asked. If it was up to him, he'd get as far away from that particular sentient as he possibly could.

"He's got the captain," said Kerri.

"Oh..." The Corellian pilot whistled softly. "That's different, isn't it? Bo, turn to point-04."

"What are you doing?"

Evverd flicked his S-Foils into attack position and began to accelerate. "I'm going to slow him down. You might want to hurry and get over here..."

"Rik, you can't take on the SLAVE I in an X-Wing!"

"I can't lose my captain, either," said Evverd, "Not without a fight. Bo, lock in the auxiliary power."

The droid did so, though he didn't like the idea. Evverd had to admit it was not one of his best. He just hoped his wrist didn't slow him down.

Kerri said, "Will you ever stop taking stupid chances?"

"Let's just take it one stupid chance at a time, huh?" He streaked towards the ascending shape of a FIRESPRAY-class attack ship.

"Break off, that's an order!" said Kerri, "We'll be there in..."

Evverd snapped, "If we let him get by us, we'll never see Garreth again!"

Kerri sighed, the traditional sign that she didn't agree with him but had given up on trying to stop him, and that was good enough for Evverd. The Corellian gunned the accelerator, trying to catch SLAVE I before it could get out of the gravity well.

Garreth felt the ship accelerate, and pressed forward against the bars of his force cage.

"What's going on?"

Fett did not answer, which Garreth gathered to be rather typical. The bounty hunter was not a man to engage in idle chitchat when there was business to be completed.

The ship rocked, just slightly, with low-power laser blasts.

From the pilot's compartment, Fett muttered, "Must be out of his mind..."

"Who? What's happening?"

Fett grunted. "There's an X-Wing incoming. You'd have to be a lunatic to assault the SLAVE I in a snubfighter."

Garreth sighed. "That'll be Commander Evverd. I advise you to surrender now."

"Don't get your hopes up, Captain," said the bounty hunter, "I am perfectly capable of out-flying an X-Wing."

The star captain laughed. "Well, some people you just have to let make their own mistakes..."

The ship rocked harder, and Garreth thought, this is a little extreme, even for Evverd. I hope he knows what he's doing...

The SLAVE I cleared the upper atmosphere and started driving hard for space. Evverd locked proton torpedoes onto the attack ship's engines, and fired twice. They impacted, slowing the other ship down but not penetrating the shields.

I'll never take him out this way, thought the Corellian. I have to make him stop thinking about light speed...

He routed all power to engines and aft shields. His X-Wing roared towards the SLAVE I. Concussion missiles soared towards him, but Evverd threw the X-Wing into an improbable twist at the last second, and they fell hopelessly behind. Soon he was so close to SLAVE I that he could almost hear her engines through the barely-existing gasses of space.

At length, he overtook the other ship, and dropped down right in her sights.

His aft section lit up immediately. Bo screamed and yelled and cursed at the Corellian in his binary tongue as he tried to lock down the damage.

Evverd grinned. Here's where the fun begins...

"What is he doing?" Fett asked. Garreth suspected that reducing the laconic bounty hunter to talking to himself was no mean feat.

Repeat blasts whined from the SLAVE I's powerful laser cannon. "Can't get a lock on him..."

"You're wasting your time," said Garreth, "I advise you to get to light speed."

Fett grunted. "I'm not in the habit of allowing Rebel hotheads to open fire on me with impunity."

Garreth chuckled. He wondered if Evverd even knew what a rare feat it was to be so annoying that even one as cold-blooded as Boba Fett had it in for you personally. "You're wasting your time. You'll never hit him."

"I'm not in the habit of missing, either," said Fett.

Carbon blasts scored his fighter's upper-right wing, and Evverd grimaced. "That was too close..."

Evverd's broken wrist was killing him, but the pain was not so bad that it damaged his piloting skills. Which was good, since one slip would disassemble his atoms.

Bo asked, rather politely under the circumstances, if Evverd had ever considered checking himself into some sort of mental health facility.

"It's crossed my mind," said the Corellian, "Now that we've got his attention, let's do something really special..."

Bo said he didn't like the sound of that.

The X-Wing fighter threw itself straight upwards, and Boba Fett followed it, cutting in right on its drive trails.

As a rule, Fett kept business foremost in his mind at all times, but honing his skills was one of his few pleasures. That was how he'd stayed the best, by preparation.

And that was the reward for this snubfighter pilot: By proving himself a worthy adversary, he'd earned the right to be killed by the best.

It seemed only fitting.

Something exploded in back, and Evverd's fighter throttled back by 15 percent.

"Well," he groaned, "We can still outmaneuver 'em..."

He skimmed low over the outer atmosphere, then slammed on the cutoff, skidded around into a circle, and dove straight towards the oval-shaped FIRESPRAY.

Fett opened fire, but Evverd dove back down into the upper atmosphere witha jolt, then circled back up and around onto the hunter's tail.

"Just to keep your attention..." Evverd launched another proton torpedo. He did not allow it to hit, however. He opened fire with quad-linked cannons, detonating the torpedo just as it would have collided with the SLAVE I's shields.

The larger ship pitched forward, sparking as it made contact with the tenuous gasses of Pollis' upper atmosphere, then continued it's lunge into a loop, coming back towards Evverd.

The pilot said the foulest Corellian word he could immediately think of, and veered off just as lethal energy would have collapsed his cockpit. As it was, it scored the nose of his snubfighter badly enough that one more hit on that area would finish him.

Bo twittered an observation.

"Yeah, I KNOW he's good, too! You're not helping!"

The SLAVE I's forward cannons began firing away, and it took all of Evverd's skill to avoid becoming wampa meat.

"I have you now," said Fett.

The X-Wing remained, just for an extra millisecond, in Fett's crosshairs, and the bounty hunter smiled beneath his helmet.

"It's been an enjoyable hunt," he said, and squeezed the trigger.

He fell forward against his console as multiple turbolaser blasts rocked his aft shields.

On his scanners, a NEBULON class frigate had appeared, driving hard towards the SLAVE I.

Another time, Fett thought at the still-functional X-Wing as he plugged in his hyperspace course. Testing his skill in his spare time was one thing. Losing a bounty was another.

He reached for the hyperdrive lever...

On his screens, Evverd saw the SLAVE I straighten out its course, in preparation for the jump to lightspeed. He laughed. "You think you're gonna just half-slag MY ship and then leave? Oh, I don't THINK so..."

He fired another proton torpedo at the weak point FREEDOM had opened up in Fett's shields. It was a tiny weak point, and closing fast. His torpedo streaked in...

Fett was slammed against his restraints again, and his hand slipped from the hyperdrive lever. SLAVE I spun away from the planet, out of control.

With an effort, the bounty hunter got her straightened out, but half the lights on his console were blinking yellow or red. Including hyperdrive.

"I warned you," said Mykel Garreth's voice.

"Shut up," said Fett.

His comm crackled to life. "Bounty Hunter, this is Commander Lynden on the FREEDOM. You have two choices. Shut down your engines and prepare to be boarded, in which case we will take Captain Garreth and be on our way, or continue to resist, in which case I will open fire with full ion cannon and short out every electronic system on your ship, and you will be taken into custody for crimes against the Alliance.

Boba Fett sighed, a rare expression of emotion. "I copy, FREEDOM. Prepare to come on board."

He hit the proper control, and his pilot's area descended from the viewport of the SLAVE I. Fett walked back into the hold, disarmed his security system, and keyed off the force grid.

After all, it was nothing personal. Just business.

"Consider yourself fortunate, Captain," he said to Garreth, "I rarely lose."

The Rebel captain stepped out of his cage, just the barest hint of relief showing on his features. "I won't bother with another 'I told you so...'"

"Give my congratulations to the X-Wing pilot," said Fett, "I intend to kill him one day."

"High praise," said Garreth.

Fett nodded. It was high praise, in a sense. He would wait until he had sound business reasons - in the form of a lucrative bounty, which all prominent Rebels accrued sooner or later - to kill the X-Wing pilot. In the end, everything came down to business with Fett.

Still, he had to admit privately that when the time came, it would be a particularly rewarding piece of business.

Her opponent came forward, lunging in with too much speed and too little thought. Taryn placed a foot in his path. His legs tangled up beneath him, the bulky man went flying.

"Clancee, Taryn" said the stormtrooper Lieutenant, "Victory. Eleventh in a row."

Taryn found a seat on the bench at one end of the small combat circle, and wiped her sweaty brow with a towel. "Tell me I win a brand-new Z-95 Headhunter. Or better yet, a vacation someplace. I'll send you a holocard."

"What you win," said the stormtrooper, "Is another day's worth of rations, and a possible assignment tothe Elite Division."

"Elite Division?" she asked, drying off her neck and face as well, "What's that?"

"It means you could be a stormtrooper," he said, "Though I've never served with a female one."

Taryn grunted. "Stormies are totally loyal to the Empire, even I know that. You really think I fill those qualifications."

"Believe me," said the armored man, "By the time your mental training is over, you'll be loyal."

Some part of Taryn's brain said, this cannot be a good thing. Mental training for a stormtrooper would translate to brainwashing, and even had Taryn fancied the lifestyle of a vegetable, the simple fact was that Kris was probably not on the stormtrooper track.

They had to stay together. That meant it was time to start losing a few matches.

The stormtrooper was apparently not as dumb inside his armor as he looked on the outside. "Don't even try it. Coasting around here will get you executed. Besides," and Taryn thought she caught a hint of sympathy in his voice, "You'll be split up from your friend sooner or later anyway. The Empire has found that personal ties detract from loyalty."

"What about you?" Taryn asked, "Do you have any ties?"

The stormtrooper seemed honestly puzzled. "There were people I cared about... once. They must not have been very memorable..."

Taryn was a guest of the Imperial detention center on Rorsh. Taryn knew of the place, and knew escape would not be easy. More people had escaped from Kessel itself.

Between the energy grid and the asteroids and the planet's own defenses, nothing left or arrived at the planet without Imperial knowledge. And even if you could get off the planet, Rorsh's swamp-like environment was so deadly that escapees were invariably drowned, eaten, or infected with a pathogen before they could reach a ship.

Oh, yes, Taryn thought, real fun place. I must come here again, the next time I'm stupid enough to land on a planet the night before an Imperial conscription raid.

Taryn had been on a world called Pollis near the unknown regions, visiting an old smuggler buddy named Leila Narr. The stormtroopers had come that night, taking with them Leila's teenage son Kristoff and, of course, Lieutenant Taryn Clancee of the Rebel Alliance.

Well, she thought, at least they don't know I'm a Rebel yet, or they'd have shot me. Could be worse.

A door set into the far wall opened. An officer with a shaved head and a scruffy red beard - Commander Harrick, Taryn recalled - strode in with a pair of stormtrooper guards.

"Is there a problem, sir?" asked the lieutenant.

Harrick's eyes were on Taryn. He nodded to the two stormtroopers. "Bring her."

The stormtroopers came, and Taryn knew better than to offer resistance. There'd be time enough to fight later, but now the odds were stacked against her.

"Sir," the lieutenant protested, "I'd like to know where you're taking her. She's my best recruit." "That doesn't say much for your judgment, Lieutenant." Harrick smiled, just the tiniest bit. "Your best recruit is a Rebel spy."

Taryn suppressed the urge to groan. Now, she thought, it's worse.

"I don't think this is gonna work," Sedra Covell announced.

"Why didn't you say so before?" asked Evverd from the pilot's chair.

"I believe my exact words before were, 'This plan will never work.'"

"Say it louder next time," Evverd said. In front of him, alive with sparkling energy from its protective deflector grid, was Rorsh.

A few smaller Imperial ships - Carrack cruisers and the new Lancer frigates - held a blockade of the system.

Evverd's comm crackled to life. "Please identify yourself and state your business."

Evverd looked from Covell to Leila Narr to Cheif Okel and Gaar in the seats beside and in back of them.

"You sure this code goes with this freighter?" he asked the former smuggler.

Narr said, "Of course. I got it directly from Mazzic."

"I don't TRUST Mazzic."

"Nobody trusts Mazzic," said Leila Narr, "But he sells quality merchandise."

Evverd un-muted the comm. "Uh, Freighter DUROS GOLD, cargo of field rations and tech supplies."

The controller paused. "You're not on the schedule."

"What? Did Juros screw up again?" Evverd put all his Corellian-swindler talents to work, trying not to think about how very dead he was going to be if this didn't work.

"You're not on the schedule," said the controller, more dangerously. "Yeah, well, I'm supposed to be. C'Mon, I've got perishable goods here!"

The controller said mildly, "Imperial field rations have a shelf-life of two hundred Standard years."

"Yeah, well, I didn't say they'd perish SOON..."

"Just transmit your clearance code," said the Imperial officer, "I'll see what I can do."

Evverd punched in the code and held his breath.

"They do not believe us," said Okel.

"Trust me," said Evverd. He leaned over towards Narr, in the copilot's seat. "Let's keep our distance, though. Just in case."

After a moment, the controller replied, "Freighter DUROS GOLD, you are cleared for docking in Dome Thirteen."

Evverd grinned. "I knew it'd work."

"I have a bad feeling about this," said Covell.

The beaten Durosian freighter settled to its landing pad inside one of the atmospheric bubbles of Rorsh. Its hatch popped, and a mixed crew of two human females, a Wookiee, and a Calamarian got out.

Two dozen stormtroopers appeared from the surrounding ships, weapons at the ready. The Wookiee roared, but it was apparent that the rebels were badly outgunned.

Harrick and his two goons dragged Taryn out of concealment to stand in front of the captured Rebels.

"Excellent work, Miss Narr. You have delivered the terrorists on time."

"WHAT?" said Taryn.

Leila Narr did not meet her eyes. "Now where's my son?"

"Your son?" The bearded officer adopted a look of confusion, "Oh, yes... the young man taken off Pollis."

"That was our deal," said Narr, "The Rebels for Kris. Where is he?"

"I'm very sorry," Harrick said, "But there seems to have been some sort of mistake. He was transferred off-planet this morning."

"You SNAKE--"

Harrick drew his blaster pistol. "We'll have to find another way to pay you," he said, and shot her.

Leila Narr fell to the ground, gasping, and Harrick idly toed her broken form with a boot. "The Empire doesn't make deals with scum, Miss Narr."

Enraged beyond thought, Taryn swung her fist hard into the bald officer's neck. He choked and doubled over, and Taryn grabbed his blaster pistol.

The attention of the stormtroopers was deflected to their commander. Covell, Gaar, and Okel started shooting up the place, not even aiming at anything in particular, just trying to cause confusion and fill the dome with concealing laserlight and smoke.

The stormtroopers opened fire on Taryn, as she'd known they would, be she'd already grabbed Harrick as a shield. The troopers, reacting more than thinking, had covered most of their superior's body area with laser burns before they knew what was happening.

She shoved Harrick's body into one of them, and shot the other.

"Come on!" yelled Covell from the freighter's ramp.

Taryn dove towards the freighter, using the other ships in the docking bay as cover. She darted between fighters and transports, a step ahead of the Imperial blaster fire.

She rounded the corner of a Sorosuub cargo lifter to find herself facing down a pair of stormtroopers. Their weapons rose, and Taryn thought, this is it...

From behind her, a pair of laser blasts whined, and both troopers were cut down. She looked over her shoulder, and saw a stormtrooper lieutenant, indistinguishable from all the others in his polished white armor. He nodded to her, his actions lost by the other stormtroopers in the confusion of battle, and resumed firing - widely, Taryn noted - at her friends.

What do you know? she thought, they're not ALL totally loyal...

Taryn broke for the freighter, and scrambled up the ramp just as it closed.

"Get us out of here!" she called to the dark-skinned Corellian in the pilot's seat.

"Hey, that's a thought!" Evverd snapped back, and gunned the acclerator.

"Why didn't you open up on them with the freighter's gun?" Taryn asked as she found the co-pilot's seat.

"I tried! Your pal must've disabled them!"

Taryn pointed at the dome hatch, which some Imperial lackey had at least remembered to close. "How are you going to get that open without guns?"

"Corellian overdrive," said Evverd with a tight grin, "Don't look, if you can help it..."

He drove the freighter towards the closed hatch in the dome, then smashed right through it at full throttle, angling for the atmosphere above.

"You can all thank me later," said Evverd, "Now just hang on!"

Turbolaser towers opened up on them from all sides, and winds from the atmospheric storms slapped at their freighter, but Evverd just shot straight up, heedless of all of it.

"You can't fly through the storms at this speed!" Taryn protested.

"It's the Solo Asteroid Field Principle," the Corellian told her, "The faster you're moving, the less chance something really bad will hit you..."

He continued at that incredible clip past the asteroids, and somehow skated through a shield gap that Taryn wouldn't have tried in a snubfighter. Though she wouldn't have thought it possible, a moment later they were clear.

Clear, except for the Imperial blockade. Whole new turbolasers began to sight and fire.

"You've got to go evasive..."

Evverd chuckled. "This IS evasive."

From the back seat, Gaar thundered, "I will never again fly with a human..."

"I'm tired of humoring these guys!" said Evverd, and strained the engines harder. Thuds sounded all around as the freighter's bare hull began to be scored by turbolaser blasts.

He shot between a pair of Carracks, heedless of their repeat fire.

"Will you cut power already?" Taryn demanded, leaning forward in her seat, "Before you tear us all apart?"

"Hey, c'mon, Clancee, I thought you were a blockade runner from way back..."

"Running a blockade is different from charging headfirst through it!"

And suddenly they were beyond the Carracks. Heading straight for the LANCER-class frigate just beyond them.

"Where'd HE come from?" Evverd demanded.

"I warned you!"

"It's not my fault!" said the Corellian, "Hang on!"

The LANCER opened fire, its specially designed anti-fighter turbolasers driving hard into already-damaged hull plates. Evverd tried to swerve above it, but Taryn knew there wasn't time.

The LANCER exploded a hundred meters in front of them, and their freighter shot right through the onrushing flames. Evverd gave a Corellian battle cry, with Gaar adding a hunter's roar for counterpoint.

On their screens, Taryn saw a dozen X-Wing fighters swarming around the blockade, and just beyond them, a NEBULON-class frigate.

"There's a Star Destroyer incoming from the outer system," said Kerri's voice, "Are you able to jump to lightspeed?"

"Are we?" said Evverd, reaching for the levers, "Watch THIS!"

Something chugged in their aft section, and the old freighter just continued on course.

"Watch what?"

Evverd pounded the console. "Some buddy you had, Clancee! It's not my fault!"

"Just get to the docking bay!" Taryn said, pointing at the FREEDOM's perilously unshielded open docking port.

"We're gone..." said Evverd. Easing off only a little on the throttle, he brought them straight for it.

The port grew larger in their viewer, holding Taryn's attention. Dimly, she realized turbolasers were still striking their aft section.

The freighter soared in at inadvisable speeds. Evverd cut all thrusters, but still slammed the freighter's nose into the far wall.

Sedra Covell looked up from where she was sprawled on the floor. "One of your better landings..."

Evverd groaned, and looked to Taryn Clancee. "We're even," he said, and passed out.

Taryn hit the comm, hoping it was still functional. "Lightspeed anytime."

Dimly, she heard the hyperdrive whirring to life and the FREEDOM blasting into the safety of faster than light travel. Then she joined Evverd in falling into darkness.

Rik Evverd was conscious and sitting up when Kerri entered the med bay, which meant he hadn't hurt himself as badly as he deserved to. The Onebee droid was fussing with him, trying to get him to go to sleep, but Evverd ignored it, continuing to read the datapad in his hand.

"I hope you don't feel as bad as you look," Kerri said teasingly.

The Corellian ignored her.

She tried again. "By rights, you should be dead. Between Boba Fett and Rorsh... have you gotten crazier since I've been back, or have the odds just gotten worse?"

Evverd spared her half a second to glance up. "Kerri, not now, huh?"

"Rik, are you listening?" She sat down at the edge of his bed, "I'm trying to say how glad I am that you're okay."

"I said not now."

Kerri's first impulse was to leave the medical bay on the spot, but she paused as she really saw the look on his face. "What's wrong?"

Evverd waved the datapad at her, looking tired. "Jev is doing very well in the simulator."

Jev Parrak, one of the pilots from Evverd's Maverick Squadron, was a young Alderaan survivor, a fine pilot, and a potential Jedi. Kerri had elected not to train him because of his anger at the Empire, which could be turned to the Dark Side.

"So? You said yourself he's a good pilot."

"Everyone in Mav Squadron is good," said Evverd, "And he's won nine sims in a row."

"He's on a hot streak," Kerri suggested.

"It's not that he's winning. It's the way he's winning. The people get headaches, and the other day Serlin was on the floor, and Jev said he was dancing..."

Kerri smiled. "Are you sure you're dazed from the medication?"

"Sorry," said Evverd, "I'll spell it out for you: Jev is doing better than he has any right to, and the people he flies against usually end up in here, complaining of disorientation and confusion."

Evverd stared at her. "I think he's using the Force to bend his opponent's minds. Now, that's got to be from the Dark Side."

Kerri frowned down at the patient profiles of Evverd's pilots. It didn't really matter what they said - she trusted Rik's assessment - but she ran them over anyway. The symptoms were all consistent with heavy use of Jedi Persuasion and mind-altering. Kerri tried not to think of how hideously bad this could get.

"I'll talk to him," she promised.

Continued in Episode 7

R. John Burke



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