Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 15.7

Tcho lets go of the scaffold and swiftly checks the Trandoshan at his feet. Out, but not dead. He glances around anxiously, but everyone’s attention is still on the Blue Streak. It still looks as though nobody knows Tcho is here. The person in charge of this mess is seated at the central table, her empty hands spread flat across the surface. If he can just get to her, maybe they can end this all. There is no way someone so high up in Zann would surrender, of course. They have to take her down. Tcho checks his stim injector. There is one sedative left. He makes his move, rushing up behind her high-backed seat. When his plan to go undetected fails, as evidenced by one of her ears twitching in his direction, he switches from stealth to force. Tcho slams into her chair before she can get up, pinning her against the table edge as he brings the applicator in.

The Selonian twists around and brings her arms up, the flowing sleeves of her blouse concealing wiry muscles beneath. She catches the arm of her assailant, straining to keep the needle from her flesh. It has been at least a year since they have seen each other, and his hair and tattoos have changed, but Mukry Boze recognizes the blue man who has been harassing her forces. “Tcho Praetor. I shouldn’t be surprised,” she says calmly, despite the tension in her limbs.

Tcho did not leave the Zann Consortium under good auspices. No one ever does. In his case, they were funding his education at the Corellia University School of Medicine, and he was doing typical second-story work for them, basic thefts, breaking and entering, and such. What he did not realize at the time was the full reason that they were training him in close combat and paying for his medical degree. When he was told to assassinate one of the patients that he had access to at Coronet Hospital, everything changed. That was the first really violent thing he was expected to do for Zann, and it grated against his personal ethics. Thievery was one thing, but harm—and certainly murder—was another. He told them no. It cost him his degree, the illusion of propriety he was building for himself, and a life with a woman he thought loved him.

“Fallen in with vigilantes, have you?” Boze mocks. “There’s still no escaping Zann.”

“Not everybody you train is going to agree with what you do,” Tcho replies.

“The ones who live will.” Boze’s lips curl up into a smile, revealing her sharp teeth. “Thanks for taking care of the shipjackers. Saved me some money.” Tcho finally gets the needle in close enough to deliver the shot of sedative, but Boze continues to smirk. “Really? Do you think we are so foolish as to not inoculate ourselves to such approaches? You’re hardly the first.” She wriggles out of the chair, and the struggle turns into one of kicks and tail-slaps and precise jabs.

The entire room shudders with yet another jarring noise, this one more of a squeal. There go the maneuvering thrusters, JT thinks glumly. This time, the shaking is sustained. Could have been worse, I suppose. Could’ve been all systems shutting down. Good thing my suit’s sealed. And there are lots of escape pods… though those wouldn’t do so well out in the Maelstrom, either. When she returns her attention to her immediate problems, she sees hands reaching up onto her level of the scaffold. Behind her helmet, she grins as an idea comes to mind. JT yanks a piece of ammunition from her whipcord launcher. With a snap of her wrist the end of the sticky string winds around the scaffolding at her feet. With the other end still in her hand, she jets away, pulling the entire structure with her. It turns out they are easier to overbalance from the ceiling than from the floor. As the scaffold starts to tip, she lets go of the rope and continues toward a landing spot on the opposite side of the room. The crash of pipes and shelves leaves most of the climbers sprawled in debris. A Weequay is left standing near the top of the fallen scaffolding. He unwinds the whipcord from it and hurls that at the Blue Streak, but the improvised bolas goes wide. He glances over at the Zann executive, but her attention is fully on her own issues. The Weequay must decide that he has had enough because then he dashes toward the foyer, escaping the same way he came in. The Blue Streak lets him go.

Tussling with Praetor, Mukry hears an enormous crash behind her. She spares a glance, hoping her underlings have finally knocked the vigilante out of the sky. Instead she sees the crimefighter flying bold and unopposed over a mess. “Kriff that Blue Streak,” Mukry growls. “I’ll get you next!” she shouts. She is naturally rather strong and a bit taller than her opponent, but Praetor knocks aside most of her unskilled blows. The consortium trained him exactly for what he is doing now, and he knows her physiology well from years of treating Selonian patients on Corellia. This is not a fight Mukry can win, not unarmed. The room is dim and full of dust, but Selonian eyes are sharp. Mukry spots her heavy blaster, and when she ducks Praetor’s next blow, she launches herself in that direction.

Blue glitter sparkles in all the construction dust that the shaking ship is stirring up. “Hang in there citizen! We’ve nearly dealt with this evildoer! You’re truly a member of the Blue Streak’s Junior Citizens Brigade!” JT flies closer, but with Tcho and Mukry Boze so close together, she does not want to risk a shot with her whipcord launcher.

Although he is in the middle of a serious struggle, JT’s words still make Tcho smile. He is not alone here, and they can get this done. He senses Boze’s change in posture and catches her for a moment, managing to hold her in place just long enough to see what it is she is going toward. He lets go of her suddenly and she stumbles forward on the shaky ground, tail thrown out for balance. Concentric blue circles of light strike Boze from the side; she wobbles but keeps her feet. “Now, you can’t just come and take a ship that’s not yours. It doesn’t belong to you,” an irate drawl declares. It seems the captain has found that shipjacker’s blaster and set it to stun. Tcho dives forward and rolls up into a crouch, his hand reaching Boze’s blaster just before hers does, thanks to that delay. He is not the killer she is, though, so instead of firing it immediately into the easy target she presents, he slams his empty hand into her knee. 

Mukry pivots away to soften the incoming blow and redirects herself toward the captain, from whom she is far more likely to be able to wrest a blaster. Praetor changes to a grab, entangling her leg for a moment. She manages to shake him off and then lurches toward the captain. “No minions to do your dirty work anymore!” the kriffing Blue Streak heckles from above.

JT knows from personal experience just how ruthless Zann Consortium executives can be. Mukry is not likely to surrender. But what if she wanted to surrender? JT muses. Using the Force to nudge towards a peaceful resolution is not at all like using it to make someone flee in terror. She flies in close to Mukry and touches down, leaning in as she intones, “No one else needs to get hurt. You need to just relax. This battle is over.” Mukry may not be convinced by these words, but JT hopes to at least cause some cognitive dissonance. “Justice comes for us all. You know this. It doesn’t matter where in the galaxy you flee. Wherever you go, Zann, the Blue Streak is right behind you.” Realizing how that last part could be misinterpreted, JT quickly clarifies, “But not in a supportive way.” Between her collar bones, JT can feel Val Isa’s pendant thrumming where it lies against her skin, the resonance a validation of her approach here. “Justice is inevitable.”

Another loud groan sounds, followed by an enormous tremor and then a whistling noise. Oh no, a breach! They need JT now, not the Blue Streak. “Take her in!” she yells to Tcho. “I’ll deal with the ship.” She takes off, more steady in the air than on the shaking floor. As she looks around for evidence of the breach’s location, a stun blast from the captain below her goes wide, missing Mukry and splashing against the detritus around them. JT spots movement in the dust and blue glitter and heads in that direction. Putting broken starships back together is definitely one of her areas of expertise.

Everyone on the floor is working hard just to retain their balance. Rather than trying to close the distance, Tcho flips the heavy blaster in his hand from lethal to stun and fires a shot at Boze. The shuddering is too much though, and he misses just like the captain did. 

As a Selonian, Mukry Boze is capable of comfortable movement on four legs, as well as two. She takes advantage of that, fleeing more steadily than her pursuers can. However, the environment itself is just as much danger to her as the beings trying to thwart her plans. She is so focused on evading them that she fails to notice the boxes tottering on the scaffold she runs under. When she passes out the other side, they plummet, sending her—and her schemes—crashing to a most ignominious halt.