Posted by: Natasha A. Morea | 12/09/2010

Kashyyyk part 7

The trek to the work-camp seemed long. A well-worn trail wound its way through the treacherous sea of plant-life, suggesting that Czerka corp. or someone, had been in this area quite often. I had no idea what they could be doing down here and frankly, I didn’t want to dwell on it. I had one purpose in this dark and dangerous forest, to get my crew and confront Vel. Anything else would just be asking for trouble. I had enough trouble of my own.
Off to my left, somewhere in the blackness, that was so prevalent, an unknown creature shrieked loudly. It didn’t sound like something I wanted to tangle with tonight. I hoped that we would make it to our destination, well before the creature headed in our direction.
Aiden and I silently followed our guide, Liakkat, keeping close behind him. He knew where he was going and getting separated would not bode well for us. At any other time, I would have been absorbing myself in my surroundings, taking in all there was to see and hear, but all I could think about was confronting Vel and getting Sinka safely back.
Liakkat came to a sudden stop ahead of me and motioned for us to stay hidden. I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins and hear my heart pounding loudly in my ears, as I crouched down, slowly inched my way through the tangle of plant-life and looked into the clearing just ahead of us.
A small circle of lights encased an area, where the forest had been beaten back. Rows of crates and containers dotted the clearing, casting shadows in the dim lighting. I maneuvered my way, as close as I dared, trying to get a clear view of what was going on, yet trying to stay well hidden. I didn’t want my prey to know I was there. This had to go smoothly. I was glad to see that they hadn’t left the camp. I had been afraid, that they would have too much of a head start on us. Vel, Sinka and the Czerka employees stood in the far corner, facing a line of large metal cages. A closer look, revealed that the cages were occupied by what appeared to be tattered Wookiees, arms and legs bound with heavy restraints. Osik! Vel was getting involved with slaving. I eased closer, listening to their conversation.
“These are our latest acquisitions, a hunting party that came down here a few weeks ago. They were tough to capture. The biggest one escaped. His name is Shorcuk. We have special plans for him. He ran off a few days ago. We have him cornered in another area of the forest, he has killed several of our men. Capture him for us and you will be well compensated.”
“I will have him back here in no time. One Wookiee is no match for me. Point me in the right direction, I will have him subdued shortly.”
Wayii! Vel was going after an enraged, trapped, desperate Wookiee.  Di’kut! Even I wasn’t that dumb. One of the employees stayed in the clearing and the other one led Vel, Sinka and HK off into the darkness.
I motioned the others to follow me. I wasn’t letting them out of my sight. I could have just jumped in and stopped Vel right there, but that Wookiee, Shorcuk, would be left out there, trapped and probably starving. I should have stayed out of it, I knew I should, but I just couldn’t do it.
My companions and I slowly made our way through the darkness, following behind our quarry, careful not to make any noise that might alert anyone, especially HK, that we were trailing them. We inched along in the darkness for what seemed like hours, with small, unseen creatures scuttling along nearby, sounding their calls all around us, as we trekked on to an unknown, unseen destination.
Just when I thought that we would never reach our journey’s end, Vel and his party stopped ahead of us. Liakkat hung back, while Aiden and I inched closer. We watched Vel; weapons in hand, slowly make his way into the area where the Czerka employee pointed. I noticed that there was only one other person there. Another Czerka worker, who had been left to watch the Wookiee. I saw in the dim lighting, provided by randomly hung lanterns, that several automated turrets were scattered around the area, blocking the trapped Wookiee’s way to freedom.
Aiden leaned in close to me and whispered.
“I think I can sneak in and disable a few of those turrets. They are fixed inward, meant to keep something in, not keep me out. I will make my way to the turrets in the back first. You stay close to Vel and keep hidden. I will signal to you when I have accomplished my task.”
He placed his hand on my arm as he spoke to me. Unthinking, I placed a hand on top of his, briefly. I could feel him smile at me in the darkness. Suddenly, I felt a great comfort at having him here to help me.
Vel stayed close to the front turrets. He peered into the area, gauging the situation carefully. He couldn’t afford to take any chances with a trapped Wookiee. Sinka eased along side of him, I saw him push her back. He had no intention of letting her help. He wanted to have the bragging rights. Sinka fell back to stand next to the Czerka employee. Just as Vel began to make his way toward Shorcuk, I saw Aiden motion to me that he was finished. I was impressed with his speed at disarming the turrets. I guess a Jedi can be useful after all.
I quickly, but quietly moved over to where Aiden was crouched. Together, we moved in behind the now disarmed turrets. In the darkness, I could make out Shorcuk, leaning against the trunk of a tree. He looked exhausted. I knew he couldn’t hold out much longer, but I also knew that he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Just as I finished calculating Shorcuk’s chances against his enemy, I saw Vel step out into view.


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