crooked stars (line up for your destiny)
Summary: "Hermione Granger: Space Pirate, Liberator, and Purveyor of Forgotten Galactic Odds and Ends" had a nice ring to it. After all, new universe, new life. If only she could avoid getting caught up between the Empire and Rebel Alliance...
My lord Ajax, there is no greater evil
For mankind than the grip of fate.
- Tecmessa, Sophocles' Ajax
"I have a bad feeling about this."
Hermione looked up from the flimsy, yellowed parchment she held open, sending a scowl towards Ron for his clearly ill-timed and unsolicited opinion. Across from her, holding the other side of the parchment, Bill chuckled, his dragon-fang earring catching the fading light of the sun as it crested over the tropical fauna.
On Ron's other side, Harry let out a tiny huff and then instead shouldered his backpack. "Can you two not?"
Ron mulishly glared at his best friend before grumbling, "She started it."
Hermione barely restrained from rolling her eyes. Instead, she handed the fragile parchment back to Bill. She longingly watched as the strange runes and inky black markings of the antique text disappeared as the eldest Weasley rolled the paper up.
The parchment itself was merely a copy of an older, stranger document written on human skin, which itself was transcribed from rock carvings in Iceland; all had the same, strange runes and marks on them. All she and Bill had managed to translate was that there was a temple of some sort in Vietnam that might lead them to the next clue; unfortunately, the temple was currently home to a Dark Lady and her minions.
Bill pocketed the paper and silently conveyed his apologies for the way his brother was acting by trying to peer intently at Hermione. But, it wasn't anything new - she was used to Ron's behaviour since their loud and disastrous break up a month past, in the middle of the Ministry Atrium, and before that, throughout their time at Hogwarts and beyond.
Working with her ex was certainly challenging, but she wasn't Hermione Granger for nothing! After all, she handled him during the infamous sixth year when he would shove his tongue down Lavender Brown's throat, so… working with him, her best friend and saviour of the (British) wizarding world, her ex's older brother, and a slew of help on loan from the Vietnamese wizarding population, would be simple. As easy as Wingardium Leviosa.
As it was, the mid-morning sun was shining, with fluffy, white clouds dotting the blue sky. It was bright and humid; sticky enough that a trail of sweat ran down her spine, but not too humid that Harry's hair was flat. There were calls from birds and other various creatures in the jungle, and a tiny, warm breeze rustled the leaves and swaying palms of the tall trees around them. A hint of flowery perfume from nearby bushes and clusters of flowers swept across the air with the breeze.
It was a perfect spring day.
What could go wrong?
Hermione only knew of two ways for people to awaken from unconsciousness.
The first was gradually. There would be the wiggling of toes, the flexing of the ankles, the roll of the neck and then a flutter to the eyelids and quick, shark inhale through the nose and mouth.
The other way was quickly, with a loud gasp as the air burned through a dry mouth and searing throat, the heart pounding furiously in the chest and a hand reaching for the nearest weapon.
Hermione grew up in battle. She awoke with a vengeance, eyes wide and her magic thrumming in her veins, ready to do her bidding.
She was in an odd cell. There was very little light, coming only from dim potlights in the far corners of the cell, and then a few lights illuminating the aisle between her prison and others. The cell itself was metallic; the floor underneath her vibrating slightly and there was an odd thrum in the air. The air itself was stale - the kind she associated with planes and childhood trips of recycled air on Air France flights to the Alps for ski vacations with her parents.
There was more she could notice, could see - but her brain wasn't taking in the information. Her head throbbed in time with her heartbeat, and she grit her teeth. Her headache was nearly as bad as the one she had, the morning after Ginny took her drinking and bar hopping once Ron moved out of their flat and back to the Burrow.
Hermione was leaning against something cool - which soothed her heat-flushed and chilled body, but the rumbles and movement of whatever she was in aggravated her headache. There was a shudder, a hiss, and the rumbling evened out.
What was I last doing? she thought. She remembered… Harry. And Ron. The excavation site in Vietnam, on loan from the British Ministry and working as a freelance warder, archivist, researcher, and extra wand.
"I'm not picking up any readings."
"There's something wrong, here."
The voices in her head were muted - distant, as though hearing them from underwater and far away. With a frown, she wriggled her toes in her boots, and then her pinky finger twitched on one hand.
Nothing is broken - I'd hate to have used up my Skelegrow for something as simple as a broken pinky toe. She exhaled, relief settling deep in her bones.
"The runes are overloading! The ward structure is about to collapse!"
"Dammit, Hermione, run!"
"No - I can still fix it!"
Pain flashed across her skull, and she shivered. Goosepimples rose across the backs of her hands and along her neck - areas not covered by her robes - and she repressed a shiver.
Gingerly, she knelt and then rose to her feet, blinking against the flickering recessed lights above her, barely illuminating the dim space she was in.
Hermione stood to her full height, smoothing her hands down her chosen excavation outfit: a white, button-up linen shirt tucked into dark brown trousers and knee-high black dragonhide boots. She wore a matching black dragonhide jacket in a bomber style on top - and nothing was removed from her person, including her forearm bracers, which doubled as a wand holster… except for her beaded bag.
She looked around, peering past the dark grey, nearly black bars in front of her and on either side, trying to find her bag - and in it, her potions, books, food, and other resources she thought she would need for their month-long jungle trek.
She took a wobbling step forward, into a brief flicker of light, and cast her gaze around the space.
All cells were occupied - but not by any magical creature she had ever seen before (and she had seen a lot in her decade-long position in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures - and with ending her relationship with Ron just a month earlier, she went for broke and handed in her resignation as well. If only her mother could see her now: twenty-eight, jobless, homeless, and apparently locked in a prison.).
Opposite her, a tall - well… otter or something mammalian - lounged against the far wall of their cell, wearing strange trousers and crisscrossing chest braces over their brown fur. Their arms were crossed and periodically, a soundless snarl pulled back the skin around their short muzzle (snout? thought Hermione) to reveal sharp, pointed teeth. They shared a cell with a tall, green humanoid man that was slightly reptilian in looks, with ridges on his forehead. However, his pointy fingers and scale-like skin did not detract from his very pleasing face framed by long, shoulder-length loose black hair. He was haughty though, idly standing near the front of the cell in fine clothes and his shoulders pushed back. His dark eyes were cold, but Hermione, upon a closer look, realized his youth belied his nerves.
The cell next to her held a strange humanoid female: her skin was pink, was a scantily clad in leathers and soft, transparent gauzy fabric, and incredibly fit despite being of a middle of upper age, if Hermione could trust the wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. She, too, was very beautiful with bright blue eyes - despite them nervously darting around with bags under them - there were two long white - pieces of something - that extended past her head, with a natural arc down to the low of her back.
In the cell opposite the pink, scantily clad humanoid were several other females, of varying ages, all dressed similarly to her. There were a few humans as well - both men and women with defeated postures and sad eyes -, and given that they were mingling together, a suspicion began to filter through her sluggish mind.
It was cemented when a human-looking being strode down the aisle between the cells, outfitted in a straggly, layered, wherever-I-could-find-it clothing and several weapons, even if Hermione didn't recognize them. He was scruffy, and the manner in which the man walked implied a knowledge of being able to handle himself, but his cruel glint made Hermione tense in caution.
He sneered at the pink creature in the cell beside Hermione, speaking to her in a language she didn't know or recognize at all. The pink - creature? Alien? Hermione wasn't sure what to call her - stared back with hatred and spat something at the man.
The man dismissed her and turned to Hermione's cell, raking his eyes up and down her form. She curled her lips back in disgust at the blatant leer.
The man spoke.
Hermione shook her head. "I don't understand you."
The man scowled, deeply, and banged his gloved hand against the bars, making them rattle loudly. The group of women across and over in the cell block shrieked and cries, huddling together tighter.
The man spoke some more, louder, clearly intending for everyone around to hear. Whatever he said had the women crying and shaking, and the pink woman beside Hermione crossed her arms, bracing her feet. The furry being snarled, while the green man began shouting something, sounding pompous.
And there was Hermione, in the chaos, completely befuddled. Somehow, she thought, I ended up part of a human… um… being - trafficking ring.
She reached up and dug the heels of her palms against her eyes, frowning against the pain and hoping her headache would dull enough for her to remember what happened between the explosion in Vietnam to her waking up here. Surely, there was some sort of sign…? Some sort of indicator that explained where she was, and who these other magical creatures were?
She looked around the tiny cellblock, up and down as well, looking for air vents or a window - something to indicate where she was. She could potentially Apparate, Hermione knew, but without a reference starting point, she was loathe to go and splinch herself.
And, she thought, biting her lip as she glanced at the other cells and their occupants, she didn't want to leave anyone behind.
The slaver laughed and strode down the aisle the same way he came. Hermione leaned forward, peering through her bars to see the end of the aisle and a strange, flat door that slid open with a gentle whoosh.
Well, now, thought Hermione, eyes wide at the bright hallway beyond the cellblock. It too was chrome and metallic. Maybe not somewhere I can Apparate out.
But, she could leave her cell.
Hermione counted to ten, slowly, with dragons and hippogriffs in between in each number to make the length longer. Once she reached ten, she flicked out her right wrist, the mechanism that held her wand in the forearm holster snapped out, and the wand slid into her grasp.
Her familiar vine wood, dragon heartstring wand thrummed in her fingers. Her lips twitched up in a smile, and she tapped the bars of her cell, near the lock, and thought, Alohamora.
The cell door opened silently, and immediately the otter-being stopped snarling and the pink woman beside her inhaled sharply. The noises - or lack thereof in the otter's case - were covered as the huddle of women continued to wail, and the angry green man was beginning to wind down from whatever threats and shouts he was making.
Hermione stepped out of the cell cautiously, stretching her senses and calling her magic to her to see if there were any wards or bindings in place. Her magic gleefully leaped at her command, stretching and rushing beyond her and pinging off the various others in the cellblock with her. Yet, there was nothing but the steady hum of something in the background and the presence of those in the cellblock.
She looked left and right; to her left was the door out, the way the slaver went. To the right was the end of the cell block aisle, which was an open cupboard filled with what she could only assume were the personal items of the other prisoners - as she spotted a familiar gold beaded bag. She strode forward, tugging her beaded bag free from underneath several other bags, and looped the strap up and over her shoulder so it rested across her chest.
As she turned, she realized that the other prisoners were watching her, their eyes wide.
The pink woman opened her mouth, and the words that emerged carried a distinct curious tone, even she Hermione didn't understand.
She grinned, held up her wand in her hand and waved it back and forth. "Magic!"
There was a dumb look of not understanding, and Hermione felt her shoulders droop slightly. The language barrier was going to be difficult if she couldn't even explain to the other prisoners what she was doing. Thankfully, Hermione, as usual, had over packed for her trip.
She shoved her hand under the flap and into her bag, rummaging about. She couldn't quite reach the Weasley Wizard Wheezes product she was looking for, so she hunched over slightly and shoved her hand in further, and further until her shoulder touched the upturned flap. There was a shocked cry from someone.
Eventually, she grabbed the silver tin filled with little toffee candies she was looking for and pulled it out. Hermione slid open the tin, a recycled Mentos box George had repurposed, exposing the small, purple bow-shaped candy was squishy and yet firm. Hermione ripped one of the sides of the bow and held the other out for the pink woman to take through the bars.
The woman tentatively took it, but not without looking at Hermione with mistrust. Hermione smiled, popped the candy into her mouth and chewed, enjoying the grape taste before swallowing. The other woman mimicked her, slowly with her movements clearly unsure.
Once she swallowed, Hermione waited a moment and then asked, "Can you understand me now?"
The woman's eyes went wide. "Yes!" she gasped, her voice tinged with a French accent that reminded Hermione of Fleur. "Yes, you are speaking Basic now."
Hermione scrunched up her nose. "Basic? What a strange thing to name your language." She shrugged. "Anyway - I'm going to open your cell now and let you and the others out."
"And then what?" asked the green man from across them, his voice cool. Apparently, he too understood Basic, and with that being the first language Hermione heard, the translation toffee was dutifully doing its job - at least, for the next hour or so. "We're stuck on this kriffing ship!"
Hermione ignored the man, tapping the lock mechanism on the woman's cell with a nonverbal Alohamora, and her cell door swung open just as easily as Hermione's had. She then moved to the green man and his furry companion, ready to repeat the process.
"Oh, wonderful," the green man groused, "So once we're free of our cells, we're still stuck on this rustbucket, and then what, witch?"
Hermione glanced up at him, startled by them acknowledging her abilities so openly. So, they know magic. I mean - I thought they are magical creatures, anyway… but… she glanced over at the tall, furry man who growled at his green cellmate. The green man hastily stumbled back and away.
"'e said for the Falleen to shut up so 'e could get out and start killing the slavers," the pink woman beside Hermione translated.
Hermione looked back and forth between the two and mentally shrugged. Not my problem. "Right."
She tapped the lock, their door swung open, with the furry man stepping out quickly, and moving right to the cupboard for a staff of some sort; the green man took much longer to edge his way out.
As Hermione moved towards the final cell with the other beings similar to the pink one, as well as the humans, the pink woman held out a hand to stop her.
"They will not be able to 'elp us," she said.
The pink woman shook her head, and - her ear? Long hair thingies? Whatever they were that grew out of her head and down her back - swung gently back and forth with the motion. "They are farmers, merchants. They cannot fight."
Hermione felt her ire rise in response. "What makes you think I can? I'm sure they're capable."
The woman looked pointedly at Hermione, and then at her wand.
Hermione sighed. "Fine. But I'm not leaving them in there. We're trying to find a way off this thing, right?"
"There are no escape pods," the pink woman said, "So we must take the ship by force."
Escape pods? What in Merlin's name…? Hermione just mentally shook her head. "Fine. Lead the way."
The pink woman moved to the cupboard, inspecting the wares left behind with a keen eye before she pulled out a white gun of some sort. She then made for the door to the prison, Hermione and the furry walking otter following.
"Oh, not without me! Wait up!" the green man - the Falleen - protested and hastily grabbed something from the pile and joined the other three. Hermione scowled.
"Just keep quiet, okay?" she hissed over her shoulder and the man glared back at her.
In front, the pink woman and the otter-thingy took up positions on either side of the door. She then pressed a rectangular button on a panel to the right of the door, and it opened with the same whoosh noise that Hermione heard earlier. Then, with a sharp hand movement, she and the otter moved forward into the hallway beyond.
Hermione followed, watching as the two quickly, but on light feet, moved down the hall. They seemed to know where they were going, so Hermione happily let them take charge. Everything went to hell though, once they turned the corner.
The gleaming chrome and bright lights of the hallway disappeared into a large cargo hanger with hanging cables and various boxes and crates, precariously stacked on top of one another along one far wall. In the middle, several scruffy men - some human looking and the others not - were working on a rolling bucket of some sort - except the bucket was bleeping and squawking, in response to whatever was being changed on it by the men.
Holy Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana, thought Hermione, eyes wide. I don't think I'm in Vietnam anymore.
And then one of the men spotted the four, and chaos descended upon them.
The slavers were quick, shouting something and dodging behind crates, guns in their hands. Hermione dove to the side, slamming her back against a box and crouching down on her knees. The pink woman and the Falleen dove behind a large crate next to her, peeking out from behind as their aimed their own guns back at the men.
The guns weren't shooting bullets - that was the first thing Hermione noticed. Blasts and colours of light with strange noises - not quite pewpews and not quite fizzles of energy - but something altogether different echoed in the cargo hold.
The otter, unlike the three of them however, let out an angry roar. The pink woman and Falleen kept firing, but Hermione tentatively eased her head up and over the edge of the crate to see what was going on, her wands clenched tight in her right hand. The otter swung his staff, sending one of the bolts back at the slavers. It hit the man and with a grunt, he fell down to his back and didn't get up.
"Holy shit!" whispered Hermione, eyes wide.
The pink woman turned to her, and shouted, "Why aren't you fighting back? Do something!"
"Oh, right," muttered Hermione, turning back to the group of slavers that were trying to fan out and come around the side of the crates to flank them. Hermione narrowed her eyes on their guns - blasters - whatevers - and, surreptitiously pointed her wand at the nearest slaver. Visualizing what she wanted, she used a non-verbal spell and smirked as the man shrieked when his gun turned into a bouquet of flowers. It was a childish prank, but the absolute shock on the man's face made everyone else stop what they were doing and stare.
Hermione took advantage, popping up from behind her crate and shouted, in succession, "Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!" hitting each of the four remaining slavers with blasts of blue light. They crumpled to the floor, their guns clattering loudly in the silence of the cargo hold.
"Frak," murmured the Falleen with wide eyes as they darted between Hermione and the slavers.
The pink woman turned to her, eyes hard. "Did you kill them?"
"What?" Hermione frowned. "No! They're just stunned."
The otter snarled and kicked at the nearest, confirming that he was alive with a sigh. The pink woman stared at Hermione, thinking something very hard, but then nodded once, sharply. "Come. Let us make to the bridge and take the ship."
Hermione sighed, and the woman stood up, moving quickly past the grumbling otter, racing past the bucket the men were working on.
A green hand filled her vision, and Hermione looked up.
The handsome young green man smiled at her, his teeth pointed. "Shall we? If we don't catch up, the Twi'lek and Selonian will not leave anyone for us to beat up."
"The what now?" asked Hermione, taking the hand that pulled her to her feet. As soon as she touched him, her senses spun and he leaned forward, closer to her than she'd expect a stranger. She wanted to reach forward, and run her hand down the ridged forehead - What. The. Hell.
Hermione strengthened her Occlumency shields and yanked back from the man. She rubbed her hand down her trousers and stared at him. "What was that?"
He frowned. "Usually humans can't tell when the pheromones overwhelm them… how interesting…"
Hermione spun on her heel instead to follow the pink woman and otter, both who had already pushed through the door on the other side of the cargo.
"No! Wait! Don't leave me behind!" the man called, quickly catching up to her. "So. What's your name, human?"
"Human," sighed Hermione, glancing at him. "I'm guessing you are not human and that's why you're calling me by my species?"
"Um, yes?" the young man said, condescension in his voice. His brow lifted and Hermione's eye ticked; it was an expression that Draco Malfoy had used for most of her childhood. "Did you hit your head when the pirates brought you in?"
"Hermione," bit out Hermione, as she reached the door at the end of the cargo hold. She poked tentatively at the rectangular button she had seen the pink woman press in the cellblock. The door in front of her opened with a whoosh.
"I am Zon Krifan," the man announced pompously. "Of the Xist Krifans."
"Is that supposed to mean something to me?" asked Hermione, and she eased out into a hallway, which had three bodies lying haphazardly on the floor. She sighed.
"Are you a sleemo or what?" Zon Krifan asked, his lips pulling back with a slight curl. He took two large steps away from her. "Ugh, don't tell me - you're some Outer Rim hick."
Affronted, Hermione stopped in her steady forward pace to turn and face Zon. "Excuse me?"
"Ugh," was his reply, and he pushed past Hermione to stride down the hallway, picking carefully around the two bodies. As soon as he stepped into the next room, he shrieked and dropped to the floor in a crouch, with his hands over his head. Blaster bolts in green and red shot through the doorway opposite where his head was, black marks marred the chrome finishes of the wall.
Hermione gasped and leapt forward, conjuring a bronze shield that she held with her left arm, her wand returning to its holster as she held it with both hands. She then raced to stand in front of Zon. Each blaster bolt that slammed into the shield made her grit her teeth and slid her back a bit, but Hermione narrowed her eyes and let out a hoarse yell, thinking of the first trick she had ever seen her ex-boyfriend do: she used a nonverbal and wandless Wingardium Leviosa and yanked the blasters from the two slavers that stood inside the room.
"What the-?" one gasped, and then she summoned them, knocking them against the wall behind her.
"My turn," she said, flickering her left hand to the side as her magic dissipated the shield and it burst into sparkles of gold.
"Kriffing hell!" the other slaver gapped.
Hermione gave a tight, predatory smile, and then shoved two bare, flat palms at the men, sending them flying back with a burst of wandless magic. They hit their heads against a desk, and fell unconscious.
A loud bang from further ahead had Hermione flick her wrist; her wrist holster released her wand and Hermione turned towards the noise. Absently, she murmured, "Stay here," at the still cowering Zon.
She didn't wait for his response, instead using short bursts of Apparation to pop her down the hallway until she reached the noise: she stood at the bottom of a ladder that reached up into what she assumed was the bridge. Hermione could hear shouts and the sound of blaster fire. Eyeing the ladder, she tucked her wand between her teeth and began to climb.
The second her head popped through the port, she cast a silent protego - just as a blaster bolt hit her shield, vibrating the invisible barrier. Hermione just shook her head and pushed herself up through the hole, her wand back in her hand. The pink woman and otter - the Twi'lek and Selonian, Zon had said - were in a physical altercation with three salvers; one was on the floor, unconscious or dead.
While Hermione should have engaged in battle immediately, her eyes were drawn to the front of the bridge, past the long control panel that ran underneath a viewport. Although it was an inky black, the sky was filled with streaks of white racing by.
Merlin! I'm… I'm not even on Earth anymore, she thought, shocked, frozen in a light crouch. I'm in bloody space!
"'uman!" cried the pink Twi'lek, "Some 'elp 'ere!"
Hermione launched off her feet, past the Selonian and the man he was fighting with his staff against a long, thin blade of some sort, and slammed a punch on the slaver who had entered the cell lock. The man reeled back, and immediately turned his attention on Hermione.
"You bitch!" he snarled, bringing a hand up to his crooked and bleeding nose. Two streams of red trickled down from his nostrils and rested above his upper lip.
Hermione shrugged, and then flicked her wand; the man froze, eyes wide with terror. "Night," said the witch, and hit the man with a stunner. He fell to the floor, stiff as a board under the spell, but unconscious all the same.
The Twi'lek finished her slaver off with a roundhouse kick, knocking him unconscious, and the Selonian had finished with his sometime past, sitting on the unconscious body.
"Is that all of them?" the pink Twi'lek asked.
Hermione nodded. "From my end anyway. You two did a very thorough job."
The Selonian grunted in thanks, his tail twitching in annoyance. "You carry an interesting weapon."
Hermione looked askance at the furry man. He speaks! She thought. "Thanks."
"What should we do about these creatures?" the pink woman asked, her blaster resting on her shoulder. "Kill them?"
"What? No!" protested Hermione instinctively.
The Selonian growled. "They were going to sell us to Hutts!"
"We were going to be slaves," continued the Twi'lek angrily. "With chips installed in our bodies, unable to escape. Or, in my case, I'd probably end up in a brothel somewhere."
"Is it over yet?" gasped Zon as he poked his head into the bridge, eyes wide. "Oh, good."
Hermione gapped. "Look - I'm sorry - I really… I have no idea where I am or what's going. But where I'm from, we don't just execute people for their crimes. They have a trial!"
"A trial?" the disdain in the Twi'lek's voice was obvious and Hermione felt herself bristle. "The Empire doesn't care about any 'trials'! They don't care about slavery or else they would 'ave outlawed it, years ago."
Hermione took a deep breath. Okay, think, Hermione, girl. You're in space. In a spaceship. There are aliens. And they are more knowledgeable than you here. So… time to be the know-it-all swot Professor Snape accused you of: gather what information you can. Decisions later.
"Are you sure there isn't someplace that is a bit more… judicial than this Empire?" asked Hermione, one last attempt.
"There's Chandrila, I suppose," hesitantly replied the pink Twi'lek.
"Okay," said Hermione, "Let's do that."
"And what of these men?" asked the woman, a slight scowl on her face.
"Leave that to me," replied Hermione.
Hermione learned all sorts of things before the translation toffee ran out. She discovered they were near a planet called Soum; that they were over 1200 parsecs away from Chandrila, a "Core" world that was interested in politics and had a small military presence that would handle the slavers Hermione stunned and transfigured into toy versions of themselves, then deposited into the cell block, with the Selonian, Razzuz, keeping an eye on them.
The entire trip would take three days - because apparently 1500 parsecs or so was a form of distance and that travel time was what their hyperdrive (a hyperdrive! thought Hermione giddily) could reach. In the meantime, the pink Twi'lek, who introduced herself as Eden'neri, helped the remaining farmers and merchants who had been kidnapped by the slavers into a makeshift medbay. Zon, surprising Hermione, proved to be a decent pilot, and spent all his time on the bridge, in front of the control panels and enthusing on the mechanics.
Eventually, late on the first day, Eden'neri joined Hermione in what was a tiny galley, with a booth at one end. Hermione wrangled a teapot and some tea leaves from her beaded bag and was enjoying a cuppa when Eden'neri sat next to her, her voice taking on a musical quality as she asked a question.
Hermione, not wanting to use another translation toffee, squared her shoulders, and began the galaxy's most bizarre game of charades. However, being an employee of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Hermione needed multiple languages to deal with goblins, sprites, fey, and other magical beings back on Earth. Without the toxic environment of her Hogwarts years, post-war Hermione was able to immerse herself in her studies and became something of a polyglot - and that skill had her learning a rudimentary amount of Basic by the time they landed on Chandrila.
When the back ramp dropped, Eden'neri and Razzuz ensured that the traumatized prisoners went straight to a waiting medical droid (and they have droids, too! Hermione beamed when she realized what the rolling bucket had been). Hermione and Zon stood slightly apart, watching the mass exodus.
A member of Chandrila's city guard-cum-military approached Eden'neri with a cool, assessing look. The man was tall and skinny, but well defined. His white uniform was crisp and without a single smudge of dirt. "We were told you have some prisoners? Slavers you wish to hand over?"
Eden'neri turned to look at Hermione, who sighed. Behind, in the cargo bay, she had lined up the miniature soldiers and with a discrete swish of her wand, returned the fourteen slavers not only to full size, but also human form as she reversed the transfiguration. They were all still unconscious, and the Chandrilan, who walked on board with them to view the salvers, nodded in satisfaction.
A wrist-com communication later, several other members of the Chandrilan force began snapping binders on the salvers and using hoverbeds to move them from their slave ship off to the planet, where they would be processed and incarcerated.
As the Chandrilan turned to leave, Zon blurted, "Wait - what's going to happen to the ship?"
The man turned back to Zon, and pursed his lips. "The Chanrilan government will likely impound it, being a slave vehicle."
"Well, it could be put to better use," suggested Zon, stroking the wall nearest him.
"How so?" the man asked, his voice patient but clearly disdainful. Zon, who often used the same tone when speaking to Hermione, bristled ironically.
"We could use it!"
Hermione's head whipped around to look at the Falleen in shock.
"Consider it for payments rendered," the man continued, a sharp grin on his pointed teeth.
At his other side, Eden'neri had an equally sharp grin, and even Razzuz began to shift his staff back and forth.
The Chanrilian sighed. "Very well," he said, signalling to a waiting aide, "But you will be responsible for this vehicle and the authorization payment for docking here." He looked at the four standing just off to the side and near the lowered ramp. "What should we register this vehicle under? Should it keep its name as the Flying Krayt? And who is the captain?"
Zon turned to look at Razzuz, and then Eden'neri, who in turn, nodded in Hermione's direction. The curly-haired witch looked back and forth between the three, wondering why they kept looking at her and nodding at her.
Then - "Wait, what? Me?"
"You did help contain the slavers," said Razzuz in his low, rumbling voice.
"And got us out of the cells to begin with," agreed Zon, although he sound rather disgruntled to even admit that.
"You, 'Ermione, are the captain," smiled Eden'neri.
The Chandrilan turned expectantly to Hermione, waiting with ill patience for her to tell him the name of their ship.
"I - I, uh -" she stuttered.
You're in an entire new galaxy, Hermione, a voice piped up. You don't know how you got here, and you don't know how to get home. You wanted to way to learn about this place? A way to find more information to get you back to Earth? Well, having your own ship will certainly help.
"I, uh," began Hermione, wetting her lips, "The ship, uh, it's name-"
"Yes, what is its name?" asked the Chandrilan impatiently.
Inspiration hit Hermione, just as brightly and quickly as the collapse of the wards on the temple in Vietnam that probably sent her to this place to begin with.
"Our ship?" Hermione turned to look at the off-white and silver spaceship, with a distinct golden dragon of some sort along its side, marred by scratch marks and chipped paint. It would be the first thing to go. "It's the Phoenix Rising."
"Very well," the man said, making a note on his flimsy.
The group of four waited until the man was gone, and then Eden'neri turned to Hermione with a small smile on her lips. "So, what's first, Captain?"
Captain, thought Hermione, chuffing. I think I could get used to that.
She turned back to the ship - the Phoenix Rising - and grinned. "Well…"
Notes: I would like to point out that 1) this is my first foray into Star Wars, and 2) I actually don't know much beyond the "canon" verse, as I've seen the movies, am up-to-date with Rebels, and am slowly working my way through Clone Wars. As such, there will be mistakes. If so, kindly point them out, not blast me to bits.
Also, you have a few hints as to when this story takes place, but it's set a few years before the Battle of Yavin. The Empire is strong, there is no real Rebel Alliance, and the Jedi are gone. This does take place in the greater Star Wars universe, but given where I have placed this story, the Rebels characters will be making appearances!