Smurths and Smithies Chapter 6 Based on a true story.
“Oh, the trade went fine," I told Shawn over the subspace radio, “Until Victoria threw my saber in the sand. That market was crawling with about twenty more Smurths than I could have dealt with on a good day."
“I could have handled them," Justin announced in the background where he was running diagnostics on the Falsetto’s equipment. We were traveling at 0.3 past light speed through hyperspace, headed for… well at the time I wasn’t sure what destination Sam had picked.
“After Ashley put her saber through my shoulder I headed into the spaceport," I continued, “Tagged that A-Ndrea pretty good too, cut her in half, but they can probably rebuild her so be on the lookout. She’ll be back with a true vendetta."
“Let’s hope they wipe her memory," Shawn replied.
I grumbled, “Don’t count on it. She started out with a grudge against Smithies. They could take one of her halves, build a twin, and each one would have enough Smithy dislike to gut us on sight."
Dustin, sitting beside Shawn, laughed carelessly. He typed a few commands into a computer and then frowned, “Where are you guys headed? The Falsetto’s position is hard to track."
“I don’t know. Sam kicked us out of the cockpit as soon as we jumped to hyperspace. He’s a little mad," I told them.
Justin sat down beside me in front of the camera, sounding frustrated, “The Lady of the Night rocked our starboard shield generators. I’m compensating as much as possible using the port side, but the starboard won’t take more than two hits."
“Then you’d better be careful," Dustin cautioned, “We’re fairly certain that the Smurths are hot on your trail."
“Hot on our trail, or hott on our trail?" Justin chuckled.
I heard the spelling and laughed, as did Dustin as he turned back to type on the keyboard again.
“I’m gonna transmit a video clip to you. Smurthwaite just sent this out to all the Smurths currently not on Tattooine… which is quite a few from what I can tell. Take a look."
The picture on our video screen changed and now Beth was speaking. She startled me, and my saber was in my right hand and I was reaching for my blaster with the left before I realized what I was doing. With a yelp I remembered that my left shoulder was bandaged with a bacta pack applied to the hole Ashley’s lightsaber had burned through my shoulder. It was close to healed.
“Ladies," Beth began, “it has come to our attention that Smith House is harboring a wanted criminal and a heretic in the eyes of several religions. The bounty on his head is tremendous and I would like him brought in. You will find the specs on this Smithie in the files that are being sent in this transmission. This is a just and entirely legal mission; let none of the Smithies stand in your way. Shoffner…," Beth finished, turning and motioning for the camera to shift.
I shuddered in fear as the view panned over to Jessica Shoffner, Beth’s advisor, a fanatic of the Jedi order, fairly neutral herself, but a extremist when it came to fighting the dark side. Ironically her aggression and lack of mercy for dark Force users was drawing her relentlessly to the dark side of the Force.
“Ladies of Smurthwaite, Smith House has been a haven for heretics for far too long. Not a one deserves mercy or compassion, and none shall be spared if they stand in our way. Bring back the criminal regardless of the Smithies you must destroy to get him. The Force will be with you."
The transmission ended there and Shawn and Dustin were again visible on the screen. Shawn’s expression was grim and I struggled to maintain my usual ambivalent attitude. I grinned crookedly while on the inside I screamed. This was obviously not good.
“So what about the files Beth said were sent with the transmission?" I asked.
“They slipped past us, no idea what kind of information they held. Do either of you have any clue as to who this heretic Smithy might be?"
In the next instant, two things happened; we came out of hyperspace and a concussion torpedo struck the Falsetto. The transmission to Smith House was cut off and the video screen went blank, saving me from the conversation.
Sam started shouting at us over the ship’s intercom, “Jesse! Justin! Man the guns, the Lady of the Night beat us here! You gotta hold ‘em off till I get permission to land."
“Sue’s blood!" I cursed, “Sam, just set us down anywhere! We’ll pay the parking ticket later!"
“You don’t just ‘set down’ on Corellia. Their ion cannons will kill us just as fast as the Smurths if we don’t get clearance."
Corellia. Oh damn. Over the intercom I could hear Sam talking to the spaceport authorities. “Identify your ship and all passengers," they demanded.
Sam gave our names. I hooked my comlink earpiece over my ear and listened intently for the response while charging up my gun turret.
There was a pause and then, “Please remain in orbit for a moment while we clear you."
The pause gave it away. They recognized my name. I spoke through the comlink to our pilot, “Sam! We cannot land on Corellia!"
“If I could tell you I would have already!"
“Jesse, this is practically the best port in the galaxy!"
Alarm bells started sounding. Justin yelled from his position as another blast slammed into the starboard side, “The Smurths are closing to tractor beam range!"
Sam gave a porcine squeal and I changed my mind, “Actually, Corellia’s just fine. I like it here. Sam, take us down now, we stand a better chance against the ion cannons than the Smurths."
“Famous last words," I muttered under my breath as Sam engaged the ship’s sublight drives and put us into a nose dive.
The Lady of the Night realized that we were running and opened up with her turbolasers. It took them a moment to lock on at our new speed and we made it into the planet’s atmosphere before they began to pound us. Over our intercom I could hear the Corellian spaceport authority shouting as us to hold orbit, then giving an order to fire.
On the gun turrets, Justin and I battered the hull of the Lady of the Night but to no avail. Her ray shields absorbed everything the small Falsetto could throw at it. To Sam’s credit he kept the Falsetto flying for a long time, but between the ground fire from the ion cannons that fried the ship’s circuitry and the turbolasers that tore at its hull, the ship was quickly helpless and in near free fall over the Corellian coastline.
Yes, I admit that there is no kill like overkill, but whoever was captaining the Lady of the Night was bent on more than destruction. I’m fairly certain the goal was to completely wipe us from existence, and the three proton torpedoes fired at the Falsetto would have done the job if Smithies were normal men.
Force sense and Jedi reflexes allowed Sam to use the nearly unresponsive controls to spin the ship, dodging the first two torpedoes. Avoiding the third torpedo was too much to ask of the dying Falsetto and the explosion ripped the ship into two jagged pieces. Justin, half of the starboard, and the stern was launched back skyward, while what was left changed course, headed inland over the rapidly approaching planet surface.
Back on Tattooine, about three hours had passed since the Falsetto left the spaceport. Seth and Jacob still hadn’t left their sniper position, preferring to wait until the town quieted. From their vantage point they watched the Lady of the Night blast off to pursue the Falsetto and counted the Smurths as they left the marketplace. About half their full number.
But then something caught Reichard’s eye and he nudged Seth.
“Isn’t that Fallin?" he asked.
Seth took a look through his scope and chuckled, “Well well, it is. You suppose that Beth bought him back from that Hutt?"
“Probably at a discount…" Jacob trailed off as his comlink buzzed, “Yo, Jacob here."
Shawn was on the other end, “What’s going on?"
“We’re lying low till the town quiets. What about you?"
“We just lost contact with the Falsetto. We’re pretty sure they were in the Corellian sector and we’re guessing the Smurths found them."
Jacob didn’t bat an eye, nor did Seth when he was relayed the information. Jacob glanced down into the street where Fallin was continuing towards them.
“Well, we’ve got some strange news, too. Fallin is loose in the market. You suppose he has a little info for us?"
Shawn thought about it for a moment then replied, “Bring him in."
Jacob clipped the comlink back onto his belt and grinned at his cohort, “We're supposed to bring in Fallin!"
“He’ll run as soon as he sees us," Seth observed, “Unless he has no knees…"
“My thoughts exactly."
The vicious snipers checked their weapons and charged them. Neither even considered using the stun setting. Two scopes zoomed in on the hapless Fallin. Normally Seth and Jacob preferred a clean headshot, but for Fallin they made an exception.
Simultaneously the Tenloss Disruptors burned pencil sized holes through Fallin’s kneecaps. Fallin subsequently fell to ground in a great amount of pain and Jacob and Seth quickly descended to the marketplace and retrieved the damaged mercenary, hustling him back to Smith House for questioning.
On Corellia the front half of the late Falsetto was screaming in for a crash landing several miles inland from the coast. Through the gaping hole that had been the stern of the starship I watched ground approach, knowing what had to be done if Sam and I were to save ourselves. To my amazement, Sam was completely calm as he watched the ground draw nearer. He also knew what had to be done. Between us we would have to channel enough Force energy to slow the ship.
‘At least it’s only half a ship,’ I thought wryly before closing my eyes and concentrating.
This chapter introduces the idea that Jesse has a more colorful history than he ever let on. When this chapter was finished, I had no idea just what Jesse had been involved in to earn the title of heretic. You'll see the story behind it change a little every time it is told until Jesse relates the full, true story to his former Jedi master.
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