I sat down on the edge of the bed in our room and gathered my kit for the meeting. I was slightly nervous and excited, wondering what was about to happen. It is always like that with me, excitement and worry, all bundled together. I had no idea what was going to happen to us once we reached the track, but I wanted to be well prepared for anything. I checked all of my armor, making certain that all of my gear was in top shape. I did maintenance checks on my blasters and vibroweapons. As Mandos we are taught a very important lesson: Take care of your kit, so it can take care of you. Danger lurks around every corner, down every alleyway and in every cantina; it never hurts to be prepared.
I glance over at Aiden. He was seated cross-legged on the rug, at the foot of the bed, hands folded and eyes closed. I knew that meditation was important to a Jedi, so I tried to keep the noise down. I stopped what I was doing and for just a moment, took the time to really look at him. He had such a peaceful expression on his face, the light from the room, casting an interesting pattern of shadows across his handsome features. His brown hair cascaded to his shoulders in soft waves, giving him a roguish appearance. It was amazing to me, how a Jedi could look so calm and innocent and yet fight with such deadly ferocity.
“Are you going to stare at me all evening, my sweet?”
I blushed, taken aback that he had felt me watching. I should have known that he would.
Aiden opened his eyes and looked at me. “Come here.”
I slid off of the bed and walked the few steps to where he was sitting.
“Sit here, in front of me.”
I sat down and crossed my legs, wondering what he was up to.
“I want you to close your eyes and slow your breathing. Focus only on the sound of your on breath. Let all of your thoughts be empty and your mind calm.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “Why? What can meditation do for me, I am not a Jedi?”
“Please do as I ask of you. Meditation is beneficial to all of us. It will help you to maintain focus for what is to come.”
I relaxed and did as he asked me to. I immediately felt more relaxed, as I tuned in to the resonating sound of my breathing. All the stress I had been feeling, just melted away, leaving me calm and refreshed. For a moment, I felt as if there were no walls and all of the sounds and movements of the city were inside of me, churning and mixing in with my own musings. I felt someone coming and opened my eyes, seconds before there was a knock at the door.
Startled that someone really had been approaching, I stood and went to the door.
“It is almost time to go. Are you ready?”
Dak stood in the doorway. I couldn’t quite read his expression, but it seemed a mixture of excitement and dread. I knew how he felt.
“Yes. Give me a couple of minutes and go get Shorcuk, please. We will meet you both outside.”
Dak nodded and walked in the direction of Shorcuk’s room.
I turned, to find Aiden staring at me.
“You seem more relaxed, but you seem surprised as well. You felt something while you were meditating, didn’t you?”
I walked over to the bed twirling my hair into a tight knot as I walked. I leaned over and grabbed my helmet, sliding it over my hair and down onto my face, covering it completely before I spoke.
“No. Not a thing.”
I picked up my blaster rifle, quickly attaching it behind me, and motioned to the doorway.
“Let’s not keep the Blade Vipers waiting.”
The four of us kept silent as we approached the meeting place, each of us keeping an eye out for and ear toward, anything unusual. The last thing we needed right now was an ambush.
The track was dark and silent. The sounds of our footsteps against the ground were loud and eerie in the stillness. Near the registration booth, we could make out three figures, standing quietly in the shadows. We made our way over to them.
“So glad that you could make it, the boss will be pleased.”
It was Nash that had spoken. I could feel, more than see, him smiling in the darkness.
“We are here, so where is this boss of yours?”
“Now, now, all in good time. This location is not as secure as it may seem. We have orders to bring you to our base.”
I smiled inside my helmet, that is just where I wanted to go. “Well, what are we waiting for, lead the way.”
Nash shook his head. “They stay here.” Nash pointed at Dak and Shorcuk.
“They go where we go.” Aiden said
Nash looked troubled for a moment, as if wondering how much trouble he would get in for taking us all to the base. He obviously decided he would be in more trouble if he showed up empty handed, because he nodded in agreement.
“Our base location is privileged information. I am afraid that we must insist on you being blindfolded for the trip.”
I wasn’t thrilled about the blindfolding part, but we followed the Vipers out to street where they had secured us a transport.
As we were taking our seats and being blindfolded, Aiden leaned in to whisper in my ear.
“Remember what you learned about meditation today. Use it, feel and listen to your surroundings. Make mental notes on what you smell and hear. Perhaps we can use what knowledge we acquire, in the future.”
I leaned back against the seat and closed my eyes, as my helmet was ripped from me and the blindfold was tied around my head.
Well, here goes nothing.