Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Tara McLaren.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:9:35) in the Rhinnal system: Caritas Ascendant and Rhinnal (Rhire).
Doctor Pilaq Tohan and Valeria.

Doctor Pilaq Tohan was enjoying a lovely day on Rhinnal after guest lecturing at the Rhinnal State Medical Academy. The aging Ithorian doctor had to rely on his walking stick as he made his way the winding streets from the Academy to the marketplace. He was glad to be rid of his Imperial handlers for the time being, as it was the only time he felt truly at peace. He was wearing an elaborate robe of varying shades of blues and gray, proper of his stature as one of the foremost medical minds in the Oversector. He was looking forward to a pleasant day of shopping and would try and remember to pick up something for Htaere and the children.

Valeria adjusted the rear view mirror of the rented landspeeder she now sat in. It was a convertible, the roof currently lowered down as she observed the Ithorian moving at his measured pace. Her eyes moved to look at her expression in the mirror, appearing surprised as she saw the hesitation in her eyes. She was wearing a black cloak over her normal clothing, something that was a major change for her. Her leather jacket had been left behind at the ship, but she wore her usual Thinsuit beneath the cloak. It seemed she was not completely incapable of caution, given her compromised position. As she watched him making his way along she would glance with nervousness at her Karflo visual wrist com, reading over the file on Ithorian biology. She would hate to accidentally kill the man. That was not what she was here for. Valeria did not know what to make of this situation in the slightest. Nervousness was not a normal part of her personality, and what bothered her the most was that she did not know why she was nervous. Even her own personal welfare being on the line did not fully explain it.

Doctor Tohan stopped for a moment beneath a fruit bearing tree and raised his staff up to began swatting at a few pieces, which descended to the ground. He gave out a tired groan as he reached down with his long, Ithorian digits and scooped one up. He put one of the fruits into his left mouth opening and began eating happily as he enjoyed the feeling of the sun on his brown flesh. It was much more desirable then his life aboard the dim Star Destroyer.

Valeria looked into the rearview mirror again and drove off, heading down a side street in order to come up from behind the Ithorian. This gave her an opportunity to doubt herself. Her body was trembling, and she was not really sure it was her physical condition or something else that was causing it. In the end she convinced herself to go forward with the plan. She would bring the landspeeder up to within 75 meters of the Ithorian and cut off the engines, letting it ride on forward motion with the aid of the repulsorlift. The speeder, a convertible version of the Mobquet A-1 Deluxe Floater, complied. Once she had the landspeeder aimed in the proper direction, Valeria would leap out the side and run alongside it, her body screaming in pain as she did so. She was not used to running in a cloak and it showed, but her physical condition was definitely a part of her discomfort. By the time she reached the Ithorian she had managed to outpace the still coasting landspeeder, which would hopefully make no noise with its engines cut off. She would draw one of her pistols from beneath her cloak and fire a stunblast, making sure to catch the good doctor when he fell.

Doctor Tohan was oblivious to what was going on around him and in mid-bite the stun bolt connected with him and his large, bulbous eyes suddenly closed and he began to fall to the ground like a sack of root vegetables. His large frame fell into the Zeltron's arms, totally unconscious as the fruit and his walking stick dropped to the ground.

Valeria let out a small yelp as she caught him, her body protesting every last move she made. She had to struggle to pick up the walking stick after slinging the Ithorian over one shoulder, but she managed to get onto the still coasting landspeeder as it finally caught up to them and rolled past her. Once they were both inside she close the canopy on the landspeeder and darken the tint on the windows. The whole job had only taken 20 seconds at most. She hoped no one had noticed. If they had, she was not going to last very long against the authorities in her current condition. Valeria began to take the long way back to the spaceport, making sure she was not followed and being careful to avoid anything like a traffic ticket. This was, she reflected, totally unlike her. It was a terrifying thing for one normally so uncautious. She had rented a private docking slip for her ship, one where she would not be disturbed by others landing or taking of, or pesky maintenance crews. In ten minutes she had arrived there and parked next to her gunship. It could not rightly be called a gunship at the moment, however. The dorsal turret was gone, and the only forward weapon that had not been temporarily dismantled was the ship's ion cannons. She was playing this one extremely carefully, not risking any undue attention while on this Imperial controlled world.

Doctor Tohan's eyes began to open slowly, revealing small orange irises in a deep sea of black. His head felt very numb and he wondered where he was at the moment. His eyes blinked repeatedly as he looked around, his training as a physician alerting him to the fact that he had been stunned. He could not speak yet, however, and weakly he attempted to move his arms around in a vein effort to stir himself.

The Ithorian would find restrained by binders, ones that looked to have been applied with great care. The person who had abducted him had placed him on what looked to be a rather large bed, and the bulkheads around him indicated he was inside a ship. His apparent kidnapper sat in a chair across from the bed, a lightly pink skinned humanoid female wearing only a black Thinsuit and armed with two blaster pistols. She looked tired ... no, exhausted ... and would be currently staring at the floor when he came to.

Doctor Tohan struggled against the restraints to no avail as he became increasingly more aware of his situation. "Release me!" he pleaded in his unique, Ithorian stereophonic speech that emanated from each mouth simultaneously. The man attempted to sit himself up and his eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of the woman seated opposite him. "What is the meaning of this?" he again asked, in his native Ithorian tongue, that sounded increasingly agitated. He wondered if he had been kidnapped as part of a plot to get credits or information from Admiral Rodney and his family.

"I just...want to talk." She stood slowly from her chair, and walked over to him. "You speak Basic, right?" The female looked quite fatigued and walked with a limp. It was an odd defect considering her body looked like that of a toned athlete. A rather attractive scent was heavy in the air, though the female's mannerisms did not seem at all intent on seduction. The look in her eyes expressed different emotions entirely: Nervousness, desperation, regret.

It took a while for the stun to work its way out of his system and for his brain to even remember how to speak Basic. "What is the meaning of this? Release me!" he demanded as he struggled against his shackles and attempted to adjust his position on the bed. He was becoming increasingly annoyed as he realized he was aboard a vessel and could be halfway to anywhere, but he did not seem to feel the ship moving. Perhaps he was stll on Rhinnal ... or perhaps he was already on a nearby world. For once he wished he had his Imperial handlers with him.

She turned away from the Ithorian as he protested, the look on her face looking extremely..guilty. It was not an expression you often saw on the face of kidnappers. "I'm...I'm not going to hurt you." She turned back to face him, dark circles beneath her silver-blue eyes,, and managed to force herself to remain facing him. "I just want you to hear me out, and then I'll let you go. Agreed?"

 "If you do not want wish to harm me ... then remove these binders!" Pilaq said as he held the two binders in front of his face and displayed an anguished look. He was not the least bit interested in hearing her out as long as he was a captive. He was not an aggressive sort, and Ithorians were known throughout the galaxy for their pacifist behavior.

Valeria bit her lip, looking hesitant. In the end, however, she could not take the man's anguished pleas any longer. Her hand reached into a small pouch at her belt and retrieved a key. She would move forward to undo the binders and then step away from the Ithorian.

Once the binders were released he took no aggressive action, not did thrust his hands up and down several times as if to shake them out to relieve the strain. "Why have you abducted me?" he asked, his large eyes blinking in rapid succession as he spoke through both of his mouths in unison. He was quite annoyed by his present situation and wondered how many were board this ship. "Are you a Rebel?" he asked finally, it being perhaps the most obvious suggestion.

"No, I..." That heavy alluring scent was thick on the air, one that a visitor to Zeltros would recognize as being a pheromone produced by the species that lived there. She did not look like she was trying to seduce him at the moment, however ... perhaps a stress oriented reaction? Someone familiar with Zeltrons would also note that her skin was a bit too light for a member of that species - that, and her hair was wrong, though that could be dyed. "...You're a doctor. A surgeon. The best one on this planet right now, according to my sources. I...need you. I can pay you...a lot of credits, or...a donation to some charity."

Doctor Tohan could smell the pheromones, but it did not seem to have the effect on him that she might expect. That part of his heart died when he left Ithor. "You do not need to use ploys and parlor tricks on me, young lady," he said, as he laughed slightly at her attempt. "I do not aid criminals," he explained, as he folded his arms in front of his chest defiantly, and turned his head from her for the time being.

"Tricks?" Her eyes showed genuine surprise, and the smuggler clenched both of her fists as she tried to summon some degree of self-control. " tricks. I just need...your skills...for myself. I have supplies, t-tools." She picked up a datapad from a nearby table and tossed it to him. It contained a listing of her inventory. "My medical droid can assist you. I even have an area set up here, credits are good. I can pay you." Suddenly one of her hands reached to her chest near her heart, but she bit down on her lip and lowered her clenched hands to her sides again.

"If you are sick why not go to the hospital?" the Ithorian physician asked her, as his eyes looked over the datapad carefully. She seemed to be well stocked ... stolen no doubt. "You are not telling me the whole story. Sick people do not have to kidnap their doctors," he explained to her, shaking his head in disgust at her behavior. "Criminal then?" he asked inevitably, noting the irony of her statement, as kidnapping were one of the most serious crimes there was.

"My medical droid told me if he tried...fixing me.. I'd probably die. He's better than most living doctors, and all the big hospitals are monitored by the Imps." She looked exhausted, like she had not slept in a great deal of time. Maybe she had been pulling all-nighters in a last ditch effort to arrange to kidnap him. "I'm sorry about...kidnapping you. I've never...done anything like that before. Bounty hunting, sure, but.." She trailed off she continued to pace, a muscle spasm going through her leg as she did so. "...I'm sorry. a new experience for me. I don't...get sick."

"So you thought a good way to avoid the attention of the Empire was to kidnap the personal physician of an Imperial Admiral?" he said, as he rose from the bead and slowly walked towards her. "You do not look ... well," Pilaq confided, as he placred a reassuring hand on her shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. "What is the nature of your condition? Where are the readouts of the scans your droid has taken?" he asked, as he realized he was inevitably got sucked into it.

"...I...have credits?" Her large silver-blue eyes blinked as she realized she had somehow convinced him. Recovering, she would hand him another datapad as she moved to sit on another table. "A..few years ago I had some cybernetic enhancements done. Neuro-Saav devices. Cardio-Muscular and Hifold sensory packages. They did not remove anything, but the enhancements are...laced throughout my body." She winced and shook her head. "It seemed like a good idea at the time, but apparently I have...unique medical factors at play."

Doctor Tohan's eyes went wide as he listened to her report and he pulled away from her suddenly. "Why ... why would you have such things done to you?" he asked, sounding a bit startled by her admission. In all of his years he had never heard of such elective surgeries used for these reasons. It concerned him greatly, and he lowered his head dejectedly as each of his mouths unleashed a powerful and sorrowful sigh.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time." She smiled, though it quickly turned into a wince. "I'm a bounty hunter, smuggler, gambler and all-around party girl. The enhancements have probably kept me alive. My body...never failed me before, though." She raised a hand to brush long red and gold tresses away from her face. "MEV ... that's my droid, you see ... MEV says my body is trying to heal itself of the implants. They can't be removed, but...MEV doesn't have the right kind of skill to fix the implants - or fix me - so the two of us will work together again." It was true that removal of the devices was not an option. Her body had already healed around them to such an extent that they could not be extracted or otherwise deactivated. According to the scans taken it seemed that her body had a capacity to heal far beyond what was normally seen in a human or a Zeltron.

"I do not know how that could ever have seemed like a good idea!" Doctor Tohan protested as he considered her predicament. "It is possible that I can treat the problem, but you should know that there is also a chance the procedure could fail and you could either become disabled ... or even pass away..." he explained grimly, as he felt it was important to be honest and forthright with all of his patients. "I cannot accept money for my services, however. I do not believe I would be comfortable with where the money came from," he said, as he shook his head at her yet again.

"A charity then? And maybe I could perform a service?" Valeria seemed to be struggle to think of things that were legal that she had the skills to perform. "I could maybe...make a delivery somewhere, or a message? Or I could...write a song for you?" It was obvious that the criminal was not prepared for a kind of scenario in which she had no control.

"Promise me that you will never abduct anyone in this manner again," Pilaq said, defiantly as he looked over the young Zeltron. He had been a diplomat before a physician and long learned how to tell when someone was lying to him. "I cannot in good conscience allow myself to perform such a service just for you to turn around and perform said action against another of gentlebeing," he explained to her, as he rose from his seat and began to move towards the MEV droid to check to see if it was programmed to assist him in such a manner.

"Kidnap someone to perform a medical procedure on me? I can safely say that." She nodded and limped along with him as she led him over to the small medical bay that had been set up. The MEV droid was there as she had described, with all the likely tools he would need set out. "There's something which you should probably know before you do this operation. I'm, uh...well...there are no references you can use for treating me. I'm of one-of-kind. Not as proud of that at the moment as I usually am."

"I can tell by your complexion that you are not entirely what you seem," Pilaq said as he assisted in moving her to the medical bay. "What is the other species?" he asked, as he lay her down onto the bay and prepared to do one last readout of her before putting her under. He wondered if they were looking for him by now. He half wondered if the woman intended on releasing him when she was done. He could have fled when she was under the affects of the medicine, but he was too honorable for such a thing.

She unzipped herself from her Thinsuit ... the armorweave-reflec polymerg would obviously make the surgery more difficult, let alone the climate controlled system that was a part of the suit. Soon she would be left wearing a bikini manufactured by the AthleticGirl brand. It seemed her skin was just as pink beneath the Thinsuit, and flawless save for a Blazing Claw tattoo on one bicep. Tattoos were rather easy to remove or add these days, but she had just the one. Once she had stripped she would lay down on Kariel Thornwynd the medical bed. "Firrerreo." She spoke the words softly, a distant look in her eyes. That species had lost access to their planet forever. There were few Firrreo still alive, thanks to the Empire. Those who had been on their home planet when the Empire's Starcrash Brigade struck had died horrible, victims of a flesh eating hive virus.

"Firrerreo?" Doctor Tohan replied, sounding a bit amazed at the notion of such a rare species being in his presence. "Then I shall endeavor to be all the more careful in my work. The galaxy can ill afford to be one less Firrereo," he said with a polite smile on both of his mouths as he brought the breath mask over her face and be proceded to sedate her so that he could begin his treatment. His hand gently brushed at her hair as he eased her off into a state of peaceful sleep. "Sleep well, young one," he whispered, as he attempted to put her at ease.

"I'd have never..." The dose of sedation had to be heavier than it would have been on a human. Her metabolism was already starting to fight it off. "...kept you...if you weren' do it. I wouldn't..." Valeria did not even sound sure of herself as she mumbled those words, her voice full of confusion and guilt. Finally she faded out, her silver-blue eyes shutting.

The young woman had been asleep for several hours and Doctor Tohan had never left her side. His long digits stroked through her long red hair, comforting her in the best he could. It had been a difficult procedure and at one point he feared he was going to lose her, but with the droid's help he had prevailed. The Ithorian had noted the presence of the R3 unit and likened it to a loyal pet, concerned about its master. He expected her to awaken soon as orange eyes looked to the chronometer.

Valeria's large silver-blue eyes would eventually flutter open as she found herself lying on the medical bed in the area she had designated for such care within her ship. She was naked and likely covered in bandages, the cybernetics having been laced throughout her body probably required a solution applied universally. Valeria started to speak, before wincing. The pain-killing medication she was filled with was being fought off by her body's immune system. "How...did it go?"

The Ithorian tilted his head and examined her facial features carefully. "You are alive, are you not?" he said, as a loud laugh emanated from both of his mouths and created quite the stir throughout the ship. He always attempted to put a positive light on situations, and he was renowned for his bedside manner. "There was a complication during the procedure, but there is nothing you need to worry about," he explained with a firm nod of his head, as his hand continued to stroke her forehead. "For now you must rest and gather your strength. In time you will be your old self again ... although it is my sincerest hope you have gotten kidnapping out of your system," he said, with a firm nod of his head as he reminded her of the payment for his services.

She nodded almost imperceptibly, as the fingers from her right hand start to move. The smuggler was starting to recuperate. "I think...I could make a donation to some charity, if you'd accept that. Or I could make a gift of song." She paused, pursing her lips as she winced. "How soon before I can climb...into the bacta tank?"

"I do not know where your credits come from, nor do I wish to know, young one," Doctor Tohan informed her as he pulled away from her and moved to the bacta tank. He studied the control panel intently and remarked it was nearly industrial grade. "Very impressive facility you have here. Do you get wounded often?" he asked, as he folded his arms in front of his chest and looked at her disapprovingly. A few quick presses of the panel and the tank appeared ready. "Do you feel up to it?" he asked, as he moved back towards her to offer any assistance.

Evidently Valeria felt no shame in letting an elderly Ithorian see her naked. After all, he had had plenty of time to get an eyeful while she was a proverbial knife. Besides which, she was not exactly sure what Ithorians had in the way of...those kinds of parts. The smuggler nodded in response to his question and slid off of the table, climbing up into the bacta tank with a burst of energy. She floated up to her neck in the fluid, but did not put on the breath mask so she could still talk. "I get wounded enough, but the real reason is my medical skills leave something to be desired. When I have people onboard here they've usually come onboard under heavy fire. I tried to outfit it as thoroughly as I could with the space considerations I have." She nodded towards the MEV-droid on the other side of the small medical bay, hovering there. "MEV has been able to handle nearly everything that's come up, but there's limitations when it comes to thinking creatively." There was a slight pause. "On the other hand, this ship probably has the most extensive database on treating Firerreo-Zeltron hybrids in the galaxy."

"A droid is no match for a skilled physician," Doctor Tohan said, as he turned and placed a hand atop of the MEV droid and patted it lightly. He noted the cold metallic feel and both of his faces fell into a steep decline. "Emotion is one of the paramount skills in healing," he explained to her, as he walked back to the bacta tank and raised a finger to scold her. "Now into the tank with you!" he said, as his left hand raised to tap at the glass separating them.

"R3 will let you out of the ship. If you don't mind, I might send you a holovid message some time. I'm hoping you can think of an excuse why you were gone for...hours." She floated there as she reached out to grab the breath mask. "And, um...thanks." The smuggler looked very vulnerable at that moment, obviously feeling uncomfortable about thanking someone she had previously kidnapped. She placed the mask on her face and would submerge fully into the task, her eyes open in the fluid, their nictating membranes protecting them. The R3 unit had instructions to launch as soon as the Ithorian was off the ship.

"I am sure they did not miss me at all. I am just an inconvenient Ithorian to my Imperial handlers," Doctor Tohan replied as he offered a polite bow at the waist. He took one last look at the woman before moving away from her and following the droid to the exit of the ship. It certainly proved to be an interesting day, he thought to himself as he struggled to descended the ramp without the aid of his walking stick. Once he was on the ground he turned to watch the ship fly away, holding up to wave a single hand at the ship. "Now about that fruit..." he murmured, as he looked around, wondering where he was.

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