Sweat dripped to the training room floor, Dyrra's hands clenching around the hilt of the wooden sword. Her eyes flickered back and forth as she waited for the training droids to attack again, the two mechanical constructs staring at her lifelessly. They'd been set to a fairly low difficulty, but there were still two of them, and her arms were beginning to get tired. She'd snapped at Manji a few times about having to use this sword, carved from a dark hardwood, as well; why couldn't she just use her armoury saber? His response had been characteristically curt.
Because I don't want you gettin' lazy, kid. You can do it the way I did it. Now shut up!
Dyrra snarled under her breath. While she felt the urge to rebel against his words and snatch her armoury saber from the stand in the corner of the room, an equally strong urge compelled her to beat these two droids down with the wooden sword, and to do it more stylishly than he could have done. At that moment, one of the droids leapt, the thin metal staff it bore whistling towards her head. Ducking beneath the attack, Dyrra shoved the tip of her sword into the droid's stomach, forcing the dull wooden point between two plates and into the relatively fragile innards of the robot. A few connections sparked loose and the droid dropped away from her, crashing heavily to the floor. As she turned, the second droid was already moving, one artificial hand reaching out to grasp her by the throat.
Dyrra was lifted off her feet with a gasp as the droid lifted her up, maneouvring the metal staff it carried to bring it crashing down on her head. Desperately trying to concentrate, she reached into the Force and sent a wave of energy crashing into the droid's face that knocked the robot away from her. As it backpedalled helplessly, Dyrra lashed out with the wooden sword and managed to knock one of it's legs away. The second droid crashed to the floor. As it began to push itself up, a gleaming shaft of silver speared down from above and smashed through the droid's chest, sending it into a hissing, sparking fit as it deactivated. Looking up, Dyrra shook her head with a mild grin as Manji stared down at her, one arm tucked into his kimono nonchalantly.
"You about done, kid? We've got some business to attend to."
Pushing herself to her feet, Dyrra hurled the wooden sword towards him, only for his arm to snap out of his kimono like a snake and snatch it from mid-air. She was wearing a simple white tank-top that exposed her arms, and they were drenched in sweat from the exertion of the training. A shower would have been wonderful, but she doubted he'd give her the time for that. The wooden sword went back into a small box next to the door and with a sigh, she followed him out of the training room into the echoing corridors of the Skyhook, where Manji was staying for a few days. He'd wanted to check the progress of her training personally, and it seemed he'd found a good way to do just that.
Pulling a datapad out of his clothes, the Epis glanced down at it as he spoke, not bothering to turn round.
"You'll be thrilled about this, kid- some punk's been syphoning credits from the Dlarit Corporation on San Korinar. He thinks he's being pretty stealthy about it, but got careless; tried to lift some cargo from a Dlarit Shipping warehouse and was spotted. Now, Sai's asked me to go and teach him a lesson, nice and quiet-like, and I figured you could use some training off-world."
He fell silent as they turned a corner, then stopped and turned to face her.
"So... there it is. I've rustled up a ship to get us to Amphor and San Korinar; you need to get your shavit sorted so we can get over there pronto. I'm in the mood for a hunt. Meet me in the hangar in ten minutes, alright?"
Clearing her throat, Dyrra spoke as Manji turned away from her again.
"Sai sent you on a stealth mission? Forgive me, Master, but you're not the most stealthy person. Or the most rational."
Without turning to face her again, Manji called back to her over his shoulder, kimono rustling around him as he walked away.
"Remember, kid- it's mercy, compassion and forgiveness I lack. Not rationality."
He turned a corridor and was gone, leaving Dyrra to turn her steps towards her quarters with a rueful smile.
A quiet life would be nice sometimes...
Dyrra looked round the hangar in exasperation. Where the hell had Manji gotten to? He’d said ten minutes and here she was, bang on time – only to find he was not.
I coulda had a shower after all.
She’d tried to clean up as fast as she could, but she knew she must smell a little... fragrant from her training earlier. Combine this with a spaceship – a big, enclosed space, with no way whatsoever of airing it out and she was dreading this journey already. Still, hopefully it wouldn’t be too long. A shuttle a short way away fired up its engines and Manji’s disembodied voice boomed suddenly in her head.
Quit daydreaming and get on the karkin’ ship!
Dyrra rolled her eyes and dashed onboard the shuttle, realising her master had been sitting there waiting for her the whole damn time.
“How was I meant to know you were here?” she asked him as she reached the cockpit.
“Little thing called the Force. Ever heard of it?” he replied shortly. “Park yer behind, we’re leaving.”
Dyrra felt her stomach lurch unpleasantly as Manji took the ship out of the hangar. She clutched at her belly until the ship was out of Aeotheran’s atmosphere and then began to swear emphatically as Manji threw the ship through some unnecessary acrobatics just to spite her.
“You need to get over this travel sickness, kid. We can’t have you throwing up everytime you set foot on another planet,” he said cheerfully, as though he was merely remarking on the weather.
“I’m getting better at controlling it. I’ve not hurled yet, have I?” Manji simply chuckled one last time at her faintly green complexion and stopped, instead concentrating on plotting their course to San Korinar.
“So, what’s San Korinar like anyway? I’ve not been before.”
“In a word, lawless,” Manji responded, leaning back in his chair as the stars became starlines. “Full of refugees and criminals. Not much in the way of tourist attractions, unless mining does it for you.”
He paused, gathering his thoughts. “When we get there, we’re to meet with a Corporal Marcellus, who will give us more information. We find the schutta, scare the living shavit out of him, and get back to Aeotheran in time for lunch. It’s a damn milk run.”
Dyrra nodded, running a hand through her unruly mop of hair. Now that she knew the task laid before them, her mind was wandering.
“A milk run, huh?”
Manji nodded, once more with his back to his apprentice.
“Hey, you know what they call Blue Milk on Ryloth?”
Manji turned and looked at her.
“I’m telling the truth. They call it turquoise milk. Guess they don’t think it looks completely blue.”
The rest of the journey passed in stunned silence.
Cloud City- San Korinar
The broiling purple clouds of San Korinar were shot through with beams of light, tinting them with a pale lavender hue. The sight was enough to take Dyrra's breath away as Manji piloted the shuttle through the clouds and towards the spires and buildings that lined the streets of the city. With so little space to build on, every building on San Korinar was by necessity many storeys high, with grimy hives and slums clustered across the underside of the city.
Shuttles and light patrol ships buzzed around San Korinar like flies around a bloated carcass. A quick glance told the Epis many of the ships originated from and he tilted the controls to send the shuttle down towards one of the docking bays that littered San Korinar. Secondary thrusters flared as the ship descended through the open roof of a hangar, the wings folding up as the landing struts went down to bring the shuttle safely down onto the surface of the cloud city.
As the boarding ramp dropped to the floor, Manji and Dyrra appeared, still engaged in conversation.
"Okay, now... tell me about the spice bars."
"What do you want to know?"
"Well, spice is legal there, right?"
"Yeah... well. It's legal, but it's not completely legal. I mean, you can't just walk into a cantina, grab a jar and start sniffin' away. You can only take it in your house or other places."
"The spice bars, right?"
They were interrupted by a rag-clad dock worker clutching a datapad tightly.
"Uh, excuse me... you have to pay a docking fee."
With a sigh, Manji waved his hand in the direction of the worker, his voice taking on a nonchalant laziness.
"We don't need to pay a docking fee."
"You don't need to pay a docking fee..."
"You want to go and stick your head into the engine intake of that ship over there."
Without comment, the worker ambled away towards the nearby fighter and slid his head into the engine intake. Manji and Dyrra strode away towards the exit of the hangar casually as, with a deep rumble, the fighter's engines ignited, frying the worker to a crisp. A wicked grin slid across Manji's face before Dyrra glanced up at him, shaking her head.
"Unnecessary, Master. Where are we going now, anyway?"
Manji's response was a derisive snort that indicated in one noise his disdain for Dyrra's opinion and his complete control of the situation.
"A horrible, slummy cantina called 'The Twi'lek's Twister'. That Corporal Marcellus should be meeting us there, so we can get a better lead on this thief."
The black kimono fluttered around his legs like a mynock's wings as he strode away, Dyrra hurrying to keep up with him.