Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 13

Furious, Adalat dashes across the vain commemorative space, knocking over everything her long arms can reach to leave a trail of debris behind her. Pedestals hit the ground, along with the smiling plasboard Rowan. She yanks a rack of uniforms off the wall and slings it back, then throws a bust of the captain through one of the display windows, shattering it. When she reaches the accordion fence, she places one hand on top of it and smoothly hops over. As she turns out the doorway into the dim corridor, she notes that the stupid Cerean is following her. When the Pantoran went down, she had hoped that his companion would at least pause to check on him, but that seems not to be the case.

Kerr-Lonn-Ny leaves Tcho in the captain’s care and pursues the mutineer. This Adalat has a bit of a lead, and as Kerr-Lonn-Ny crosses the darkened atrium, she has to pick her way through the detritus, stepping quickly and carefully. That is fine for when her trainer makes her do drills with old tires, but she needs to clear the fence at the entrance and catch up with the Frozian. A metal pole lies on the ground atop a pile of uniforms, and Kerr-Lonn-Ny snatches it up as she goes, planting it and vaulting over both the improvised hurdles and the barricade. The move does not go as smoothly as some of her award-winning jumps, though. The pole, not designed for this use, bends under her weight. Just as she is about to let go, it snaps. She makes it over the gate, but her opponent is already way down the corridor. That’s okay, Kerr-Lonn-Ny tells herself, I can wear her down. Warmed up now, she feels herself slipping into the zone.

She follows the Frozian through a series of corridors and into the sub-adult area. The combination nursery and playground is empty and dark at this hour, but the space provides numerous hiding places, given the assortment of jungle gyms, simulated vehicles, and other toys. She spots Adalat ducking her tall frame down behind a play castle up ahead but then loses sight of her. Force, guide me. She tries to find that peaceful center she reaches in the meditation gardens or when at the peak of physical performance. She lets her feelings, rather than her eyes, guide her movements. Kerr-Lonn-Ny feels the Force flowing through her. Way across the long room, Adalat pushes out through a secondary door, and Kerr-Lonn-Ny presses on. I cannot let her get farther away, she encourages herself calmly, buoyed by the Force. She must not escape. Force, be my guide. Carry my feet, strengthen my muscles.

Adalat has managed to stretch out her lead a bit farther, but she can still hear the steady pounding of flat feet behind her. A new strategy occurs to her, and she redirects toward the nearby holozoo. The projections are shut down at this hour, so when she enters, she briefly pauses to key on the system. She is hoping to set up a fake stampede or something similar to confuse the Cerean, but the regular savannah cycle powers up. With a huff, she abandons her plan and runs across the room through the tall, waving grasses like proto-Frozians must have long ago on her now-dead world. Her pursuer enters the room and does not even break her stride at the fake terrain. This may have started out as a sprint, but it is turning into a marathon.

Adalat is forced to exit via a maintenance access door. The service space is cramped, but she hopes that her superior knowledge of the Dame’s innards will enable her to lose her tail. As she ducks and weaves through the piping she pulls out her alternate comm, the one tuned to the mutineers’ frequency. A blast of steam sprays near her, and as she dodges away from it, she spies the Cerean farther back spinning the handwheel of one of the control valves along the same line.

“Is the captain taken care of?” a tinny voice responds to her hail.

“He had his own secret group of enforcers, that paranoid dolt!”

“You were supposed to know all the security on the ship. You said you—”

“I said secret. Did you not hear that part? I’m being chased through the maintenance corridors! I need you to have someone meet me at junction C32,” she demands.

“Look, we’ve got to deal with this hyperspace thing, okay?” the other speaker brushes her off. “Someone’s screwing with our plans. You just get somewhere safe, then we’ll take care of it.” The suggestion for where that might be is clear on the other side of the ship. Adalat grumbles inwardly at the quality of people she was forced to rely on to make this whole plan a reality.

* * *

The steam Kerr-Lonn-Ny released dissipates as she reaches it, and the mutinous Frozian is nowhere to be seen. From around a bend up ahead, though, wavering bluish light indicates there may be an open hatch. She makes the turn and pauses, teetering on the edge of a ten-meter drop. Down below her, the Frozian flees through a room Kerr-Lonn-Ny knows well, though she has never seen it from this angle. She is at a large vent in the wall way above the Dame’s sector-sized swimming pool. She does laps every morning, but diving is not usually one of Kerr-Lonn-Ny’s sports. Still, there was that one semester…. She strikes the proper pose and leaps, hoping to hit the water without losing too much momentum. She is not in her swimsuit and cap, so she has to deal with the drag caused by her hair and clothes. Even though running is her main sport, she is a good enough swimmer that she gains on Adalat despite improper gear. Both women climb out of the water a bit winded, but they run onwards, leaving small puddles with their squishing footwear.

Adalat continues through corridors, both public and service, and it is not clear to Kerr-Lonn-Ny whether she has a destination in mind or is just trying to shake her. Doesn’t matter; I can do this all night. And as long as the Frozian is busy with this, she cannot be hurting the captain or anyone else. But then they dash through another door and into a far more bustling part of the ship. They pass through a food preparation area and out onto the crowded floor of one of the Dame’s shadier entertainment venues. Deathstick smoke fills the air, accompanied by the clink of glasses and the clatter of sabacc chips. A member of the waitstaff lowers a platter of greasy fried wings from a serving tray to present to a patron, and Kerr-Lonn-Ny snatches it away. “That stuff will kill you,” she warns as she hurls the plate discus-style at her fleeing target.

The combination of intoxicants, lesser drugs, and piles of credits mandates a larger security presence here than in most other gathering areas on the ship. The guards take notice of the two drenched women rushing through. Adalat’s advantage, though, is her ship’s uniform. “Stop that crazy passenger chasing me!” she orders them, as a dish smashes against the wall nearby. A couple guards start to wade through the crowd of passengers, and Adalat glances over her shoulder to check their progress. Something clicks, and she finally recognizes the woman coming after her. Apparently, passenger recuperation did not teach her enough of a lesson. This is the Cerean who was snooping on her and FX-72 in the botanical gardens. Now her tenaciousness makes a sort of sense, but it also ratchets up the danger she poses. This woman knows more about the mutiny plans than just what she witnessed in Rowan’s quarters. I need to take her out. Adalat snatches a stun baton as she runs past one of the guards, arming herself and considering where to head so that she can turn her lead into an ambush.

Then that detestable voice crackles over the lead guard’s radio. “Attention, security staff. This is your captain speaking.” Even over the staticky line, she can hear the smarmy self-satisfaction. “If you happen to encounter Ensign Adalat—for those of you who don’t know her, she’s a two-and-a-half meter tall Frozian with a constant scowl and light brown shading—please restrain her. But this is a cruise ship: no lethal force. We don’t want to upset anyone. Remember, the passengers still need to enjoy their ride. And I need to question her. Subdue her and bring her to my office—” 

The guard flicks off the radio. “All right, we’ve got our orders. You two deal with this irate passenger. I’ll chase down Adalat.” He starts to jog after her, but it is half-hearted at best. He knows which side she is on, and he supports it.

* * *

Kerr-Lonn-Ny easily breezes past the security staff, unconcerned about them and focussed on the finish line, even if it keeps moving. The corridors they enter now give her a sense of deja vu, and once they pass through the doors to the medical wing, she realizes why. When she was last here, she had all those drugs coursing through her system. And indeed, the very perpetrator of that assault is here now, springing up and sending more needles at her. Fully alert and guided by the Force, she evades the FX droid’s appendages this time. He then sends some darts shooting out, not at her, but at the Frozian, who amps up her speed on the juice, crashing through a set of double doors.

As she hurdles over equipment and furniture, Kerr-Lonn-Ny passes cabinets full of drugs, some of which might even be the kind of performance-enhancers that are banned at her competitions. How much longer can I keep doing this? I can’t seem to gain on her. Kerr-Lonn-Ny is well-trained, but Adalat has the natural advantage of those super-long Frozian legs. She briefly considers whether some sort of stimulant might give her the burst she needs to close the gap. However, she quickly dismisses the idea; she could inadvertently make things worse for herself, just like the unbolted droid was trying to do.

Kerr-Lonn-Ny slams through the doors herself, and there, at the end of the hallway, is a dazed Adalat, trying to pick herself up. From the looks of things, she was going too fast to take the corner. Kerr-Lonn-Ny runs over and pounces on her, pinning her in place with a wrestling move. She holds the mutineer until the panting guards arrive. “Thank you for your assistance,” one of them tells her, “but we are going to have to ask you to come with us.” He looks at Kerr-Lonn-Ny warily while the others lean down to grab the mutineer.

“She pulled a gun on the captain!” Kerr-Lonn-Ny tells them. “And she knocked out my friend. We’ve got to take her to the captain,” she insists. She gets up off Adalat, releasing her to the guards’ care, and jogs back down the hall, flinging open the double doors. “And that droid—” she shouts, “for the second time now—just tried to inject me! Bring him along too.” The FX has injectors out waving about, so she does not wait for the guards to take action. She stalks over and grabs two of the arms. “Look,” she says to the guards as they hustle Adalat through the space, “you see this? This is poison! And no restraining bolt!”

That catches the guards’ attention, as all the droid staff have bolts in place as a matter of policy. The FX jerks around, trying to jab Kerr-Lonn-Ny. The injectors scratch her but do not manage to deliver a dose. She loses her cool a bit, surrounded by uncomfortable technology. “Not this time! I’m taking you in. Get ready for the scrapheap, fella!” One of the guards tells her to settle down, and she lets out a deep breath, trying to retrieve the calm she felt while running. “You’re right, you’re right.”

“We’re all going to go to the captain. The droid will come along, too,” he assures her.

“That’s good, that’s good. But we need to send a medical team, too, because she knocked out my friend.” The guard nods in agreement and signals for one of the other medical droids to come along as well, and he double-checks for the presence of a restraining bolt on this one.