JT slides around on the surface of the trapped crate and worms her way to a control panel. Nothing on this side directly controls the field she needs to turn off, but the overall device has just one network, which she intends to take advantage of. She works with just one hand to disturb her injured arm as little as possible as she overloads the circuits on this side. That sends a sufficiently large pulse across the wiring to fry the other side’s delicate innards.
Finally, JT is free of the energy web, and she lies there staring tiredly up at the tall container walls. I should’ve brought a water bottle; that’s what Renci’s always saying. It is long past time she got out of here, but she is at least three meters down. She finds herself wondering why this device was turned on inside a cargo container anyway. Or was it triggered by me opening it? In that case it is their fault that it’s broken now because their boxes shouldn’t be in my gala space!
JT considers trying to use the Force to move one of the smaller boxes that she climbed up earlier inside the container so that she can stand on it. But that still means hauling herself out of here, and her injured arm would make that tough. And do I really want to do that where Tcho can see? After all, she only told her girlfriend she was Force Sensitive because the other woman saw her using her lightsaber.
The time for subtlety is over, JT decides, but she settles on a completely different approach. Her knapsack contains less gear than one might expect because the bottom portion of it is reserved for her jetpack. One quick-change later, the Blue Streak is ready for action. Time for the tech rehearsal. And if Tcho says anything when she reenters the cargo hold in her regular clothes, she will just tell him, “Wow! Did you see that Blue Streak go by? She looks amazing! I gotta get her in the show.” That is the plan, anyway.
The Blue Streak launches one of her glitter-grenades on a trajectory that will draw the crew member’s eyes away from her cargo container. When the burst goes off, sending blue sparkles everywhere, she rockets up into the air, left hand hooked on her belt to keep the arm relatively braced. As she circles the cargo hold, her voice rings throughout the space, modulated by the synthesizer in her customized and redesigned clone trooper helmet.
“Previously, citizens... War rages throughout the galaxy. Children left without parents. People left without homes. The Blue Streak fights crime where she can. She can’t be everywhere. But your credits can!”
She launches another glitter-grenade to punctuate her appeal for donations.
“The War Orphans Fund charity gala needs you!”
As the Blue Streak circles around for her next pass, her vantage point grants her line of sight on Tcho, who is clearly hiding in alarm. She continues her show, mindful to not appear threatening. She does not approach him closely, but she does throw him a salute before she jets out the door with a final message.
“Stay safe, citizen!”
* * *
At the first sign of attack, Tcho hides among the boxes, a move he justifies as reasonable for a frightened crew member. As the sparkles clear, he sees a figure flying around the cargo hold, leaving blue contrails behind her. She is clad in a gray and black bodysuit with blue piping, and her helmet is reminiscent of the old ones from the Clone Wars, though it is crystalline and various shades of blue. An announcement echoes through the room, and when the second explosion of glitter occurs, Tcho realizes this potentially crazy person was the cause of the first one.
She sees him—she clearly sees him—but she keeps flying around, and then she continues right on out of the cargo hold. What the kriff was that?! He is not sure if she noticed the box he opened, and even if she did, he trusts that she will not expose him, given the feelings about the Empire she expressed earlier. Still, he does not think he can afford to take any more risks here. He hurriedly closes up the small crate of bindercuffs and heads for the exit. As he nears the doorway, Jai Tessa comes strolling back in, clad in her totally normal clothing. Her left hand is wedged in the strap of her backpack, that arm held close to her torso.
“Oh, did you find anything?” she casually asks. “Sorry I had to duck out.”
Tcho stares at her. She winks at him.
The Blue Streak is known on several planets. In Cloud City, she was exonerated of all crimes and helped save the city. Ryloth… well, she has a mixed reputation there. Some view her as an assassin, others as a role model for children. She is known on Ord Mantell, too, of course, the birthplace of the legend, and on Sullust. But so far, she has not made any appearances on Core Worlds, despite DRS operations on Coruscant and Corellia. This Pantoran might not have heard of her, but it is worth a try. “I just saw the Blue Streak go down the hall. It was really amazing!”
When he says nothing to that, she continues, “She’s actually a friend of mine. Yeah, I, uh, stepped out because I hurt my arm… Probably going to have to go to the medical bay.”
This… this is not a normal passenger. “What are you really doing on this ship?” Tcho asks.
“I told you! I’m running a charity gala. I was hoping the Blue Streak would make an appearance.”
“And… and all that?” Tcho waves his raised arm in a circular motion, pointing up at the smoke lingering near the ceiling.
“That’s the Blue Streak!”
“That’s just… just…”
“That’s just a show for your gala?”
“Well, no,” JT explains, “the Blue Streak is a vigilante crime fighter, but she agreed to put on a show for part of the gala. She fights for some of the children in various places.” She fishes around in her utility belt and pulls out a patch to show him. “There is a Blue Streak Junior Citizens Brigade. It’s a cause that’s important to her.” Tcho continues to look at her, incredulous. “Are you okay?”
“Am I okay? Are you?” he asks.
“Well, no, I’m not okay. My arm is busted!”
“And how did that happen? Did you crash into a bulkhead?”
“Nooooo. How would I crash into anything? And the Blue Streak is an excellent pilot. She would never—well, all right, she would rarely—she wouldn’t often crash into things. She would often get exactly where she wanted to go.”
“And the Blue Streak…?”
“Fights for Imperial citizens?”
“Citizens of the galaxy,” JT clarifies. “Galactic citizens. Extra-galactic invaders, I don’t know. We’ll see. They’re probably… They’re probably nice people.” Her voice fades away as she grows reflective.
“What far more convincing lie are you going to use at the nursing station when you show up with your arm that way?”
“That I fell.” He raises an eyebrow at her. “Look, the Blue Streak didn’t get injured. I fell… fell into that giant shipping container.” She nods her head over at it.
“And that’s what you’ll tell them?”
“That’s what happened!” she insists. She thinks for a moment and then asks, “Here’s a question. Why is there a repulsor field generator inside a shipping container?”
The general air of boggled startlement leaves Tcho, replaced by a more professional and serious demeanor. “Allow me to show you why.” He turns, gesturing for her to follow him back to the part of the hold they were both in earlier. There he wipes away blue glitter from some surfaces and shows her an Imperial seal. “Panaka, the Moff of Naboo.”
“That’s the guy who took my ballroom!” JT shouts.
Tcho frowns. “He’s done more than that.”
“What else has he done? Well, yeah, he’s a moff, so to get there you’ve got to do a lot of terrible things…”
Tcho, who is starting to grow accustomed to this human’s rambling, interrupts her, “He met with Dargon.” At Jai Tessa’s blank look, he clarifies, “The Grand Moff of the Corellian System.”
“One moff met with another moff, yeah…? Was it like a tryst? Is that it?”
“Naboo and Corellia have no common ground, and these moffs held a meeting—”
“I mean, that sounds like the least terrible thing a moff could do… and how do you know that?”
“—a secret meeting, the purpose of which is unknown. And Panaka didn’t have these things,” Tcho gestures around them at all the crates with the same seal, “when he arrived on Corellia.”
“That’s interesting,” JT muses, “because I saw you get on board this ship on Corellia. So… what do you really do here?” She leans in very close and drops her voice, “You can tell me. I am the Blue Streak.”
This woman has already demonstrated a certain amount of anti-Imperial sentiment, and he apparently knows one of her secrets, so maybe it is worth taking a chance. Besides, if what PD-101 said is correct, he may be in need of allies in the near future. “I’m trying to determine what the moffs were meeting about. And obviously this trove we’ve uncovered here is related to it in some way. I followed Panaka’s entourage on Corellia, and these things were not in his baggage at that time.”
“So not a tryst.”
“Whether a tryst happened or not is completely irrelevant. I don’t think the Rebel Alliance would care about that. But these things,” Tcho taps one of the crates, “they would want to know about.”
“Wait, are you a Rebel?! What unit are you with?” Jai Tessa asks him excitedly.
“N-no, I’m not in a… unit.” This human said before that she is not a soldier, and with the whole vigilante thing, it seemed like maybe she was just anti-crime, but now Tcho no longer knows what to make of her and her bubbly attitude. Is she a spy? Or in a galaxy full of jerks, is she just a very friendly person?
“Oh, well, I know a lot of people work in cells,” she comments.
“Noooo. No, I…” Well, she was in Marble Squadron, but that was not something DRS chose to be. Definitely parts of the Rebellion thought I was in a cell. “I have taken jobs with the Rebellion before. Done some for them on the Outer Rim a couple times. Once or twice they did some jobs for me, so it all balances out,” she concludes, upbeat. But he is looking at her, shocked again. “What?”
“The Rebel Alliance did jobs for you?”
“Well,” she downplays it, “I had some things I needed some help with, and I was able to get them to help out because it was good for them too. Yeah, I mean, it worked for everyone. They got a frigate.” There is no reason not to tell this fellow; he is clearly a Rebel of some kind, even if he is not officially in their army like Renci is. He has the political leanings and the desire. Heck, he is messing with moff stuff. That is what makes one a Rebel, not a patch and a paycheck.
“So… you have connections?”
“I… know a few Rebels.” He frowns at her again, and she gets the impression that he can tell she is hedging. “Look, some people who are really close to me are Rebels, okay?” She looks away from him, not wanting to give anything else away, and as her eyes wander around, she realizes that a small light is blinking on the cargo container she fell in. That was not on when I first looked at this box. “This is the moff’s stuff?”
“That’s definitely the moff’s stuff,” Tcho states flatly.
“Yeah… I may have set off something. We should probably go because that’s…” she points at the flashing indicator. “Well, he got the message. Maybe you can escort me to the medical clinic? ‘Cause I fell.”
“I can… if you want a formal report lodged about that. That’s what the medical clinic will do,” he cautions her.
“Well, do you know any other doctors on this ship?” she asks.
The less this whole affair is publicized the better. “I can fix it,” he says simply.
“You’re a medic? Do you have a doctor’s bag?” JT makes a show of looking around. The Pantoran is not carrying anything with him.
“I have a medkit, if that’s what you mean.” His voice sounds defensive to his own ears, and he levels out his speech as he continues, “It’s in the other room.”
“That is a good start. I have one of those, too. It’s just… it feels pretty bad to me, my shoulder. But, yes, that’s probably fine.”
“All right, well, we should get out of here.”
“Yes. Agree.” As they leave the cargo hold, JT mutters, “And I do still need to find decorations for this. Gonna have to move some of the things around in here. Maybe I can auction off the moff’s stuff!” she jokes. “Who wants their own repulsor field?”