Another story written, for a competition, which also highlights one part of Devani's history
Because I don't like the way the forums post stories (its hard for me to read because of how some people format) I've decided to add all my stories to a blog. Click the link, to read my story on the blog or you can read it here on the forums, thank you. A Small Matter of Cargo...
The small, grimy man wiped his nose, sniffling a bit as he mumbled. “Never want to go to that damn planet again, wasn’t worth the trouble. Those heathen females gave me sumpin nasty. I told the Captain I did, but did he listen? No, these jewels will make us rich, he says. Rich?! I’ll die before I get any money, that I will…” The small little ship shuddered as if in agreement as the smugglers left the atmosphere of Ralconia. “Not a decent woman to be had, oh how my head hurts, the pain it’s caused me. I won’t live to see the money, I won’t…” His voice trailed off as he continued down the hallway, shuffling and complaining to himself.
Suddenly the floor shifted, the sound of metal scraping against metal could be heard down the small corridor. But the man never noticed, his ears only heard the pleasant sound of his own complaining. A head popped up and looked around warily, a smug grin of satisfaction settling on a girl’s features as she realized her success. It had been only too easy to sneak on their vessel, the one man set to watch it drunk as his buddies lived it up in the local Cantina.
The young woman’s lithe body sprang easily from the cramped hiding spot, it wasn’t meant to hold bodies but rather smuggled goods. Not yet fourteen, she still had the strength to move the cover back over the spot with seeming ease. Dirty, hair unkempt, the most striking thing about the girl was her strange tattoos. Black tribal designs marked around each brilliantly green eye. She moved with a feral grace as she stalked down the hallway, eyes sharply looking for movement as ears strained to hear the slightest whisper or movement.
It wasn’t the hunger pains that had forced her from her hiding place but rather her damn thirst. It was a split-moment decision that had sent her to stow away on the ship and escape the drudgery her life of survival had been on the planet. The orphan hadn’t always lived this way, she used to be a happy and goofy little girl, the apple of the Clan’s eye. But at the age of seven it was all taken brutally away, all she had known and loved murdered, leaving her alone in the midst of the massacre. The days and months and years that followed, learning to survive on her own, had sharpened her skills but also left her a bit uncivilized.
The girl had wanted something more, something better and so on a whim, she had stolen aboard the smugglers ship, without, unfortunately, supplies. She knew how dangerous it was to be dehydrated and so chanced being discovered to find something to drink.
Creeping quietly down the hallway, she became aware of voices angrily shouting somewhere ahead of her. Alarm bells went off in her head as her more animal-like instincts took over. But there were no shadows to hide within, nowhere to hide. Panic began to settle in as she fled, back to the only place she knew she had been safe, her hideaway place.
“Stowaway!” a shout erupted behind her, one of the smuggler’s had seen her flight. Panting she pushed herself faster, trying to remember the route she had taken. The ship was small however and she soon found it. Kneeling down, gasping, she quickly tried to pry the lid open once again.
“Aha!” a gravely voice shouted in her ear as she was grabbed by the scruff of her neck. “What, did ja think that ya could hide on me ship?!” he growled. “I know every nook and cranny!” She felt herself shoved to the floor, his knee pressing into her back painfully. “We don’t take passengers! It’ll be out the airlock with you!” A whimper escaped her lips, half formed pleas of mercy bursting forth from her lips unwittingly. “I don’t be taking in strays and certainly not for no pay, I don’t!” Picking her up, he shoved her along the hallway mercilessly.
“Whatcha got there Cap’n?” a relatively clean looking man asked, eyes sunken so far they were deep in shadow even with the bright lights. His expression was unreadable but there seem to be a glint of greed and something else when he eyed the girl.
“A stowaway, name is…eh, girl what be yer name?” His squinty eyes bore into hers with a gaze that seemed to eye her up all at once. She wondered for a moment whether it would matter if she told the truth. What had she to hide though?
“D…de….Devani,” she whispered, the firm hand around her arm the only thing keeping her from running again.
“Yes, Devani, I was going to throw her outta the airlock, she’ll do nothing but waste money,” he told the man.
“How Cap’n…I think we can figure out a way to get some money outta this,” he sized Devani up like a cut of meat, estimating how much they could make. “Lets sell the girl, she’s strong, looks like she could work hard and she’s pretty if her master has other…wants.”
“Not a half bad idea ya cooked up Masson, not bad at all…in fact, I like it,” the Captain grinned, “Put her back in our hidey-hole but make sure she’s fed and watered. I want her spick and span when we reach port, ya hear? Yer idea, yer responsibility.”
“Yessir!” the younger man grabbed old of Devani and led her down another corridor, pushing her into what appeared to be someplace they ate. He shoved her a glass of water and a plate of old, moldy food. “Eat up, you won’t get anymore for a day,” He suddenly giggled, “Oh we’ve plans for you, yes we do, and I’ll get my share hehehe….” Nervously, she did as she was told, not knowing if she could trust his promise of food the next day. As soon as she was finished, he put her back in the smuggler’s hidey-hole.
Days passed, until the day came that the man took Devani and washed her thoroughly, brushing her hair roughly till it shined, brushing her teeth and cleaning her nails. He took her old, dirty clothes and shot them out the airlock, dressing her in a clean set of men’s clothing albeit slightly large for one of her size.
The stowaway orphan was left on the ship as the smuggler’s conducted their other business, in the care of Masson. Soon the Captain returned, three men following behind him. “Now, I’m sure she could fit whatever needs you see fit. It’s a simple auction, she goes to the highest bidder.” He told the men, showing Devani off. She trembled as the men bid, aliens like she’d never seen. It took an hour before the first man left, another 20 minutes before the second, the third man expressionless as he paid the Smugglers.
And so it was that Devani Maharet was sold into slavery, the thirteenth year of her life to a Cerean, a man who would become like a surrogate father, who would ultimately be killed leading the young woman to the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. And all because of a small matter of cargo…