Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 10.1

The next few days are busy, full of planning, monitoring, sabotage, and some shopping—JT does still need to get decorations for the gala, after all. It is still going to happen, eventually. Although large gatherings have been postponed, commerce and entertainment continue aboard Dame Metropolis, providing sufficient cover for the conspirators to prepare for the spectacle of Tcho’s fake death.

Now a black-haired Pantoran without facial tattoos, Tcho spends some time tracking down and shadowing Ursa Diol, their chosen Imperial for getting things rolling once all is in place. He discovers that she has a standing lunch reservation at the Grove Café on the bazaar deck, information that he passes on to JT. He also discreetly checks out the observation deck, which seems the ideal location for the climax of their production. It is already designed for people inside to watch what happens out in space, and it has plenty of escape pods. At that location, they are advertised as observation pods for short trips to get a closer look at stellar phenomena, but they serve a dual purpose. In the event of an emergency of hull-breaching proportions, the observation deck is one of the evacuation rally points.

The bazaar deck is a conglomeration of shops and eateries of all types, and the clientele is just as varied as the goods. As JT moves through the level, she passes by small wagon shops in the center aisle and strolls underneath pennant banners. The whole place evokes the shopping street in Mos Shuuta on Tatooine where Kash and Draac took out a small group of Stormtroopers to cover JT and Cal’s retreat. Indeed, there is even a bustling bar named Border Town Cantina. Seeing this, JT rethinks her potential gala theme. She passes a couple Mon Cal discussing engine thrust—possibly a pair of shipwrights—and inspiration strikes her. Under the Sea! Lo Strimm asked if the gala would have an area for non-oxygen breathers; an underwater theme would be an easy way to provide space for all sorts of sentients without anyone feeling out of place. 

With a smile, JT continues through the bazaar, looking at store names and displays, trying to find one that could sell what she needs. A place called Aquamarine sounds perfect. She pokes inside and picks up a few streamers and coral shells from which to make centerpieces. She will definitely need to return again with her backpack to get more items. As she steps back out into the promenade, craning her neck around in search of another good store, her eyes catch light glinting off a familiar silver chassis.

“Petey!” Arms full of bags, ribbons streaming out behind her, she rushes up to the protocol droid. “What are you doing here?!” she asks, at first assuming he is just out on an errand. Then it occurs to her that he might be doing Rebel things, and she drops her voice to a whisper. “Are you working?”

PD-101 tilts his head at the pale, blue-haired human he keeps hearing about. “I do work on this ship,” he acknowledges. “Are you enjoying your trip?”

JT lets out a long, slow breath. “I’m putting things together for the gala. I’ve almost got it all ready. Still got some details I need to work out…”

“BN-CR told me that you had requested my presence.”

JT excitedly encourages Petey to be the emcee for the gala and to greet people as they come in since he did such an excellent job of that during boarding. He balks at the idea of delivering a proper speech, and his eyes glow in an alarmed fashion when she even suggests he might bear the mantle of keynote speaker. He does agree to introduce others who are talking, though. JT hopes he will have some quippy one-liners with which to amuse the audience.

With the gala discussion wrapped up, PD-101 tries to discreetly broach a topic of concern. “No one has been harassing you in any way, have they? Making your stay on this ship more difficult?”

“Oh! You mean—” JT looks around quickly, checking that no one in authority is within hearing range. Returning to a whisper, she says, “You mean Tcho,” and lightly taps the top of her hair with a flat palm, to make it clear that she is talking about their mutual friend with the frosted tips. “He’s having a really tough time, but… we’re making some progress.” It occurs to her that Petey probably has access to some useful equipment. In particular, there is a large item they need that Tcho has said is beyond his ability to pickpocket. JT smiles encouragingly at the droid. “Actually, we could really use your help. It would just be real quick…”

Exactly what PD-101 feared has come to pass. Tcho has roped this civilian into his Rebel aspirations. “How may I be of service to you, innocent passenger?”

“Innocent passenger?” JT echoes, grinning. “Oh, you are adorable, Petey! Could you get a spacesuit that would fit someone a little taller than I am? With broader shoulders?” She quickly explains the where and when. “I promise we’ll bring it back.”

His circuits whirr uncomfortably at what this might portend, but PD-101 agrees to the request. He confirms he can get the item to the right place at the right time but insists that he does not want to know anything more about the activity. JT thanks the droid and gives him an enthusiastic hug. Unsure of how to respond, PD-101 awkwardly pats her back.