Smithies stole Fallin from the Smurths, which resulted in Trevor’s capture. Trevor subsequently met Jemma, they fell for each other, and she helped him escape.
Soon after, I stole a beanbag from Smurthwaite and then, after several unfortunate events, Pedro met Jewels, I learned that Trevor was being tracked, and I let the Smurths borrow my lightsaber… ahem. Upon my rescue, accomplished by the madman Justin, we removed the tracking device from Trevor’s arm and I fell asleep on my way up the stairs to the barracks. Ouch.
Which brings up a distressing question: Where is the beanbag?
Yes, that was the question on my mind when I awoke at the crack of noon the day after my less than triumphant return to Smith House.
The fact was that I missed my lightsaber. Normally it slept under my pillow, but last night it had chosen to stay at Smurthwaite… not that I blamed it. My thought process was this: Find the bean bag, take it to Beth, trade it for my saber, escape Smurthwaite alive. The last part was optional.
Other people were thinking strange thoughts that morning. Trevor, after only two days of separation from Jemma, was longing to see her again. We should have given him a mind wipe, as I’d suggested to Master Shawn, but the wise one had frowned on the idea.
And as the Force has a way of bringing people together at the appropriate time, Trevor and I sat down to lunch together at about two o’clock, and Pedro soon joined us. Now whether it was the Dark Side of the Force trying to get us killed, or the Light Side trying to get young men back to their loved ones I don’t know, but for good or for ill we all began discussing those we left behind in Smurthwaite.
It started when Trevor sighed. I recognized that type of sigh, and then heard its echo issue from the Brazilian.
“Look at you two!" I exclaimed, “Falling for Smurths! Fate, it seems is not without a sense of irony."
I frowned at him, “You’ve been talking to Zach about the time I spent in Bespin, haven’t you?"
Trevor nodded and Pedro smirked into his glass of milk. I gave them both my severest of glares for as long as I could before laughing.
As my chuckling ceased, I appealed to them, “Look, I too left the object of my adoration in Smurthwaite."
For a moment they were confused, and then gave me looks as if to say, ‘Are you serious?’
“My lightsaber is held captive in Smurthwaite, same as your hearts. Who’s up to retrieving it… them… whatever… Do you want to see your bonny lasses or what?"
They smiled conspiratorially and I went on. In my excitement my vocabulary was on a rampage.
“So let’s storm the castle walls, sweep ‘em off their feet, carry ‘em off in style! One for all and more for us! Cry ‘Havoc!’ and charge forth! Damn the torpedoes…"
“Shhhhh!? my voice dropped quickly as my Force sense tingled. “Here comes, Shawn!"
Master Turner entered the dining hall and headed straight for us. Instinctively I put up some mental walls to hide my thoughts, and I felt as Trevor and Pedro did the same.
“Hark!" I cried, “What light through yonder doorway breaks! ‘Tis wisdom and we are but fools before it!"
Pedro punched me in the arm, “Speak for yourself, man!"
Ruefully I massaged my arm, knowing I would have a bruise on top of the ones the rancor monster had given me. I grinned at Shawn, and it was clear from his expression that he did not like this gathering of infatuation.
“Kinda late to be having lunch, isn’t it?" he asked.
“You gotta love this guy," I commented. “He’s really got a way with words."
Trevor elbowed me sharply in my still much bruised ribs, and I grunted and barely kept from crying out.
“Secretary Ray made us fill out reports about Smurthwaite," Trevor replied, “Its insane how much he likes adding to the Smith House records."
Shawn frowned, “And you probably mentioned the Smurth girls you met?"
The other two nodded, and Pedro said, “And there’s a warning for you to consider adding to the rules at Smith House."
“And what’s that?" Shawn asked.
“Beware of Victoria," the Brazilian answered with a slight shudder.
I made a face in disbelief.
“What about you, Jesse?" our leader asked, fixing me with a stare.
“No, I didn’t mention any Smurth girls. Didn’t see any the whole time I was there. I did meet a very big chupacabra though. Oh yea, Pedro, he said you’re in charge of the next family reunion." I was really on a roll.
“Jesse, what is wrong with you?" Shawn asked, a tad irritated.
I sensed someone coming down the stairs to the dining hall and my eyes lit up with glee.
“I don’t know," I said, slipping into a British accent, “I’m just trying to have afternoon tea, that’s all; I didn’t expect a sort of Spanish Inquisition!"
“NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!" Sebastian cried, leaping through the door into the room, brandishing his lightsaber in a ridiculous manner.
Shawn turned and regarded Sebastian blankly as the Frenchman went on about surprise and fear and nice red uniforms for about three minutes, while Trevor and Pedro laughed. I fell off my seat and rolled on the floor positively howling.
By the time Sebastian left, Shawn was tired of the conversation and so took his leave. How much he guessed of our intentions I still don’t know but before he left he had one last thing to say to Trevor, Pedro and myself.
“I think it’s best if you guys stick around here for awhile. An old farmer once told me not to plough in neighboring meadows, but to lure the turf to your own field. Beware the bosom."
I was too confused by the first part to laugh at the second, so I just looked like I understood and waved goodbye.
With Shawn gone I was uncharacteristically silent for a moment as I gave thought to the retrieval of my lightsaber… and setting up a rendezvous for my amorous friends.
“Do either of you have any clue how to get in touch with the girls?" I asked.
Trevor shook his head, and Pedro replied, “No. Jewels actually warned me not to come back."
“We’ll have to meet somewhere else… look, I think I can set up the meet. See, I stashed one of Beth’s beanbags in a tight corner somewhere near the open market where Matt Uhler does business. I think we could trade the beanbag for my lightsaber."
“Jesse, just how do you think you’re going to get just Jemma and Jewels away from the rest of Smurthwaite?" Trevor asked.
“Hmmm… you’re right. They do tend to travel in herds, don’t they." I paused. “I’m thinking an ambush is in order!"
“You’re crazy!" Pedro exclaimed, “They would just as soon kill you as look at you, man."
“Yes, and yes," I replied, “which is why your timing will have to be perfect when they ambush me."
“Ambush you?" Trevor sounded disbelieving.
“Yes, now look," I pulled out my palm pilot and opened the Smurth profiles, “Jemma carries a lightsaber, but prefers her E-11 blaster. If we arrange a meeting, they’ll station her to watch their backs. All Trevor will have to do is get her attention and they’re scot-free.
“Now Pedro, your darling is a bit more difficult. She carries a bowcaster, nasty weapon, so her presence carries a lot of clout. She’ll be stationed ground level somewhere where she has a wide open shooting lane. And convincing her to do anything other than putting a bowcaster casing in my skull will be difficult. You’ll have to move through the buildings, and fast, to get close to her. I’m sure you can manage if we pick a suitable place.
“When I get my saber, I’m gone. I will be sprinting for the far side of safety, so watch your backs, and make sure your darlings check in and give reasons for being absent."
I sat back with a grin, pleased with the plan, but my comrades stared at me like I was nuts.
“Um Jesse, they will shoot you before you even see your lightsaber," Pedro pointed out.
I continued to grin and spoke through my clenched teeth, “Yea, I thought of that. That chance can be lessened by making this exchange in a busy marketplace. I thinking we make this exchange in the New Quarter market, on top of the spaceport wall. That will force Jewels onto the rooftops and keep her very… far… from me."
I frowned at Pedro for picking up such a dangerous Smurth. He just chuckled.
So it was that I was squinting in the noon sun of the next day, standing at the base of the stairs leading to the spaceport wall top. We had made arrangements with Crow and he’d encrypted our com-links so the Smurths would have trouble listening in and Zach had arranged the meeting with the Smurths, speaking fast enough and charmingly enough that Victoria was, for once, agreeable. We told them that we’d only have one person at the exchange, but we employed Jacob and Seth with their Tenloss Disruptors to take sniper positions and watch our backs. Taking the Tenloss Disruptors from storage attracted Justin’s attention and he demanded to be included.
I could see Justin now, moving from booth to booth in the market, nonchalantly examining trinkets and paying no attention to me. He had opted to just be on hand for whatever went down. That made me nervous. There was no telling what he might do if events started to turn sour on us.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Smurths. Force sense guided my eyes from face to face: Laura, Victoria… I caught a glimpse of Jewels just before she disappeared into a building… Ashley, A-Ndrea. There were a few more around the corner, but they stopped and took up positions out of sight. I was fairly certain Jemma was among them.
For a moment I thought I sensed Shawn nearby, the power was great enough to be him but… and then the feeling was gone. I shrugged, figuring Shawn had probably bent his thought towards me upon finding out I had left Smith House with a substantial crew. I checked my wristband for the time. Yea, he would be noticing just about now.
“Jesse, get a move on, Victoria’s already on the wall," Jacob informed me through my earpiece. I looked up and confirmed that and quickly bounded up the stairs to meet her. Danielle’s E-11 blaster jangled in its holster on my back, reminding me that Jewels wasn’t the only Smurth with a vendetta against me.
‘I should probably return this,’ I thought. I reached back over my left shoulder and drew the weapon, snapping out the clip so Victoria wouldn’t have cause to worry. Hopefully this would sweeten the deal and the Smurths would be more inclined to let me go home in one piece.
Upon the wall top I stopped about five paces from Victoria and set down Danielle’s blaster.
“Victoria, thank you for coming…," I began. Suddenly Victoria was holding the blaster I had just set down, drawn to her hand by the power of the Force. She smiled thinly at me.
I grinned right back. “Very well, take it on good faith. Give Danielle my regards and tell her it’s a nice weapon but she probably shouldn’t hunt rancors with it."
“Tell her yourself," was the reply. I looked past Victoria and watched as Danielle came up onto the wall, a vibrosword sheathed across her back. The sword was a surprise, but at least it was sheathed.
“Danielle!" I tried to sound welcoming, “Sorry about borrowing the blaster. I wouldn’t have troubled you like that, but I have this thing against dying."
Danielle rolled her eyes, took the blaster from Victoria and went back the way she came.
Victoria turned back to me, “So Smithy, I don’t see the beanbag. That doesn’t improve your chances of survival any."
I gulped, “Uh huh…yes well, I have its location here. You hand me my lightsaber, and I’ll give you the location."
I held up a handheld 3-D projector, clicked it on for a moment so she could see that it did indeed have directions stored inside, and then flipped it off again. I gripped it very tightly, though Victoria probably could have snatched it from me by Force if she’d wanted.
She eyed me, trying to determine if I was really telling the truth. I felt as she attempted to probe my mind, but I’d put up walls and she withdrew her thought.
“Alright, here’s your saber." She unclipped it from her belt and carelessly tossed it aside, down into the market square.
I glared and hissed through my teeth at that, but now she had her own saber in her hand. “The directions, Smithy! Now!" she demanded.
With a growl I tossed the 3-D projector to her and dove headfirst off the wall into the market below. I rolled as I hit and came up with my lightsaber, spinning to head off an attack that never came. Victoria was still standing on the walltop, ignoring me and looking at the directions to the beanbag. All around me, Mos Eisley citizens were looking at me askance, wondering why I had dropped in in such a strange manner. I ducked my head and headed for my escape route. I came to the stairs that took me up into a large villa and stopped short as Justin grabbed my arm.
He startled me with his sudden appearance and I snapped at him, “What! Do you think! You’re doing?!"
“Lying low, until you practically shouted. You can’t get out that way. Rebecca and Jewels were covering that exit," he replied, voice low.
“Sith spit, did Pedro get to Jewels?" I asked, trying hard to think of an alternate route out.
“Don’t know, about him or Trevor. That’s not our concern now. They’re outside this net of Smurths and we’re inside. Now how do we get where they are?"
I sighed, seeing few options. If they could afford to block this minor exit, there was a lot of Smurth around.
Shrugging, I made a decision, “Let’s just walk out. They can’t fire off their big guns in this crowd."
He looked around, “You’re right. Lottsa people here. Do we split up?"
I glanced around, Force sense giving me the general vicinity of some of the nearer Smurths, “I don’t think they’ve seen you yet, so see if you can get out through the streets. I'll head into the spaceport. More cover through there, and I think I’ll need it."
Suddenly we both sensed tremendous Force power nearby. It wasn’t Shawn.
The feeling passed and Justin looked at me, raising an eyebrow in mild concern. I shook my head, “Forget it, go."
We shook hands and parted ways as again the feeling of power made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was beginning to get a good idea of who was the cause, but I held out hope that there was an official Jedi in the area on business for the New Republic. Then it vanished.
‘Lure the turf to your own field…’ I thought to myself. Suddenly Shawn’s words made sense and I realized I'd much rather leave the turf where it was.
Ahead of me, I could see Smurths moving through the crowd, searching…
The mention of Smith House records is, in the interest of canon, actually a reference to personal records kept by Ray. Ray's eagerness to keep records, or do work period, is exaggerated.
The mention of the Spanish Inquisition, however, is canonical, as I found out later in the story.
Accusations of being a player were often directed at me, and sometimes still are. Zach used to play Tech Nine's "I'm a Playa" everytime I entered his room. I continue to deny these charges.
Smurths "travelling in herds" is something I got in trouble for when I honored the great Hawkeye Pierce line "Hark, a herd of nurse!" Obviously I said "Smurth" instead of "nurse," and the Smurths were offened at the suggestiong that they moved like cows.
Additionally, you may be able to tell that this chapter was written with rather madcap humor. The trouble with writing and posting this series chapter by chapter is that each chapter comes across reflecting my mood during those weeks, days, or months I spend writing it.
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