Derek sat in the passenger compartment
of his transport inside the main hangar of the Rebel base on Yavin 4. He
was rotating his left shoulder repeatedly, a grimace of pain forming
upon his lips every time he raised the arm up. He was wearing a white
shirt, stained with grease, that fit loosely on his physique. His short
hair was messed, forehead dripping with beads of sweat ... tell-tale
signs he had been exerting himself. A long day of physical therapy and
maintenance on the ship had taken its toll on him and he seemed worse
for the wear. He had been avoiding his 'partner' Parka for most of the
day, concerned with the talk he had with his superiors earlier in the
day. He was dreading telling her the outcome of that meeting, but he did
not have a choice.
Parka had made herself scarce, venturing
about as far as anyone would permit to silently observe the goings on of
whatever group it is she had been assimilated into. She reappeared some
time later, strolling casually back towards the POS ship of Derek's,
strange flecked eyes taking it in in all its dilapidated glory. By some
miracle, she was actually covered up by a pair of snug khaki pants
tucked neatly into knee-high black boots. The upper half still left room
for improvement with a black sleeveless v-neck shell that was low enough
cut to give any pair of eyes a little sampling of whatever it was she
Derek exhaled deeply as he stopped his
physical therapy. He stood from the sofa and let his left arm hang dead
at his side for a moment. It felt good not to be moving. His ears perked
as he heard footsteps approaching. Assuming it might be Parka he decided
to make himself a bit more presentable. Raising his shirt above his
head, he wiped his forehead clean of the sweat. Unfortunately, he used
the side covered in grease and the sweaty mess soon become stained with
grease causing an even worse sight. A smile formed upon his face as he
waited, ignorantly unaware of his present appearance.
Still donning her usual array of silver
arm bands and rings and electrical tape on each finger, the mouthy
youngster plodded up the ramp, heading through the various parts of the
ship in search of the fool who owned it. She stopped in her tracks as
she came upon him rather suddenly, eyeing him over, greasy face and
shit-eating grin to boot. She lifted her chin arrogantly. "You there,
mechanic..." she issued in a commanding voice...an old déjà vu.
Derek tilted his head sharply at her as
his grin increased in magnitude. "Cute," he said with clear sarcasm. His
eyes rolled quickly down and back up as they performed their routine
daily scan of her body. "No legs today," he thought silently to himself,
"Pity." He slapped his hands together twice, brushing the dirt from them
before sitting back down. Looking up at her, his face turned suddenly
more serious ... harkening back to the days when they first came
together. "We need to talk..." he said with some reluctance.
"Oh...alright" she replied casually with
a haphazard shrug thrown in for good measure. She seated herself on the
old tattered excuse for a couch, crossing her legs and picking idly at
her nails. "What'd I do now.." she asked without looking up.
"It's what you already did, Parka,"
Derek began to explain as delicately as he could manage. "I know it
seems like we've been down this road before," he continued with a bit of
apprehension, "but High Command is very interested in that disk. There
is a lot they've yet to understand about it ... and you're still our
only 'living' link to it." He swallowed as he finished talking, unsure
of her response.
"Come again?" she glanced up, eyebrows
lifting intently. This topic had become black and white to her by all
accounts. This new development was bothersome at best.
"It seems," Derek began, his
grease-stained cheeks reddening with embarrassment, "That those on
Alderaan I gave the disk to were not entirely forthcoming." He ran the
fingers of his left hand atop his right, stroking it nervously. "It
seems that High Command is not sure how the disk was originally
obtained, nor were they sure of its destination. They feel there's more
to it than what is known currently." He looked at her and tried to form
some sort of smile, trying to reassure her.
Parka emerged briefly from her glazed
over bored look to blink. "Uh huh...and the point is..?"
"The point is..." Derek paused, unsure
of how to tell her this. Finally, with some self-doubt, he decided to
just come out and tell her. "Since High Command wants to minimize
knowledge of this disk," he swallowed and took a small breath, "They
want us to track down how exactly the disk was obtained and what its
destination was." He lowered his head, avoiding eye contact, and braced
himself for the worst.
Parka still looked stumped as she simply
could not fathom that this assignment actually applied to her. "Wow.
Well...good luck with that" she concluded, a lengthy yawn following.
"I'm sorry, Parka," Derek said in a
serious, more composed voice than he had used previously, "But you're
going to have to lend a hand on this one. You're one of only a handful
of people that know about the disk. High Command wants it to stay that
At that, Parka's head went back in full
out hysterical laughter. Just as quickly as it started, it stopped and
her gaze dropped back to Derek. "I don't know who 'High Command' is..."
she lifted her index and middle fingers of each hand to create gestured
quotation marks. "...but I don't answer to them. And I can't help you."
"I told them you'd say that," Derek
replied with a wide grin and slight chuckle, "Which is why they've gone
ahead and authorized a substantial payment to be made to you if we get
the info they need."
Parka inhaled deeply, thinking it over.
"Tempting I suppose...but I really can't help you...because I have no
idea who that guy was...where he came from, where he was going...and so on
and so on."
"That's where our database comes in,"
Derek said with a confident grin and equally brazen tone in his voice.
"We've cracked the Imperial records," he proudly boasted, "It'll take
some doing ... but that's where we'll start."
Parka frowned a bit. "I...suppose" she
allowed. She recalled her brief moments in Imperial captivity, and while
a far cry from what she would have considered "unpleasant," it was not
an opportunity she'd jump to repeat.
"Come on," Derek said with a hint of
excitement in his voice as he rose from his seat. "Let's get started..."
he continued as he walked towards the ramp of the ship, waiting for
Parka to follow. Eventually, he made his way down the ramp of the ship
into the temple's expansive hangar. He began walking at a slow pace, as
he expected Parka would make any excuse to 'get lost,' towards a
terminal room where they could privately access the database.
Parka followed begrudgingly. "This
really isn't a good idea. Once they figured out I no longer had the
disk, you became the next viable target..." she said to his back. "...in
case there was any doubt in your mind..."
"I'm only planning to get shot once this
week," Derek said as he turned to look at her just long enough to flash
a smile. "But thanks for the concern," he added as he stepped into the
room with the access terminal in it. He toggled a switch to power it on
and took a seat to the left of the monitor, leaving the seat directly in
front of it for her.
Parka was less then enthused, dropping
into the seat unceremoniously. She started to mouth some remark about
him not flattering himself, but was too sour to even get the words out.
"What exactly are we supposed to be doing here?"
"Enter the parameters of the man's
description into the terminal, Parka," Derek explained slowly as he
motioned with his hand to the various indicators. "It will create a
composite image and profile and begin searching the database," he
concluded. "We'll start with the Imperial database first," he said as he
set the terminal to search those records.
Parka looked as if he'd just asked for
the strings of astrophysics equations that mathematically spelled out
how repulsorlift technology was feasible. Stifling the urge to shake her
head, she racked her brain...for some time trying to recall what the
fellow looked like who'd run into her. She toyed with the database's
input features, trying different combinations based off a loose memory
at best...to no avail. Finally she leaned back. "This is ridiculous.
There's no way I can remember this guy..."
"Maybe he just wasn't an Imperial,"
Derek explained in an optimistic tone. He smiled at her and nodded his
head reassuringly, hoping to boost her morale slightly. "Let's try the
criminal database," he said as he adjusted the settings on the terminal
once again. "Come on," he said in a cheerful voice, hoping to motivate
"You're in an unusually good mood. Did
you get laid after I left" she grumbled, reentering the info into the
next database. The process was tedious and on more then one occasion,
Parka's eyes flickered around for a writing utensil that she could use
to gouge her own eyes out with.
Derek sighed as hours of tedious
database searching had produced nothing. "Are you sure it wasn't a
woman?" he asked her, obviously joking. He slumped his head down on the
desk for a moment, his eyes dry and red, his head pounding. "Let's try
local security forces," he said weakly as he reprogrammed the terminal
It was all Parka could do to not reach
across and punch Derek dead in the face. In fact, she fixed him with a
lengthy gaze while she imagined herself doing so. It almost brought a
smile to her lips. With a good bit of self control, she refrained,
continuing to tap away at the keys for the millionth time. She went
through the motions, eyes half closed...until...something actually came
up. Pulled from her near comatose state, her eyebrows knit slightly,
head straightening up. "I'll be damned..." she mumbled.
Derek lifted his head up as he heard
Parka's surprised response. His eyes began to focus on the individual
for a moment. Eventually his eyes were able to read the information in
the terminal. It listed him as a former member of the Alderaan Guard,
but provided no other information. The rest of the information was
blocked out and detailed records had been sealed. A confused look
appeared on his face as the information began to sink in. "This doesn't
make any sense," he said to Parka slowly, "If he was working for
Alderaan ... my contacts there should have known about this."
Parka shrugged. "Whatever you
say...Well. Let's give 'em this guy and collect our fundage" she
said, her expression brighter then it had been in hours.
"It's not that simple, Parka," Derek
tried to explain to her, "We still have to find out what he was doing
with the disk and where he was taking it." He rose from his seat and
began heading out of the room, back towards the ship. "It's not over
yet," he said over his shoulder to her as he headed towards the hangar.
She got to her feet, hurrying after him.
"I'm not following any of this" she called after him. "Now where are you
"To the ship," Derek explained to her as
he walked towards the hangar bay from which they came. "We've got to go
back to Alderaan and talk to my sources again," he said to her as he
proceeded towards the ship, "It's our best way to track him down."
Parka scurried on board, taking up her
usual place in the copilot's seat. "I don't get why this is 'our'
responsibility. Doesn't 'High Command'..." again she did the quotes
"...have anyone else that can handle this sort of thing?"
"I told you, Parka," Derek said as he
raised the ramp behind him and headed towards the cockpit, "They don't
want this information getting out." Derek slid into his pilot's chair
and strapped in, and then began powering up the ship. "Besides," he
continued as he readied the ship for takeoff, "I want to know why my
contacts held this back in the first place."
Parka seemed to wither more with each
passing moment. She leaned back in her chair, draping one leg over an
armrest and closing her eyes. "Fine. Wake me up when we get there."
"Not the first time a woman's fallen
asleep on me," Derek muttered to himself as he activated the ship's
repulsorlift engines. The aged transport lifted from the hangar bay and
emerged just above the jungle canopy that covered most of the moon's
surface. He activated the throttle of the ship's sublight engine. It
only took a few moments for the ship to emerge from the atmosphere into
space. The coordinates between Alderaan and Yavin well known to him by
now, he activated the hyperdrive and sent the ship streaking into
hyperspace towards it's destination.