Disclaimer: Trollhunters belongs to Guillermo del Toro, Star Wars belongs to Disney.
Claire smiled as her favorite customer came in to the café.
The other workers giggled and nudged each other, waggling their eyebrows at Claire. Shannon put a hand on her shoulder and asked, "I assume you've got this, Claire?"
Claire rolled her eyes. One of her coworkers nudged her and said, "Finally gonna ask this time?"
"I'm working up to it," she muttered. After grabbing a holopad even though she already had his order memorized, she made her way over to his table.
The boy in question was not someone that most people would pursue, being seven and a half feet tall, blue, and horned. But hey, if people thought that Twi'leks were exotic, why couldn't she have this? "Hi, John," she said brightly. He turned to her, his lips ticking up in the smile that Claire had sketched many times. "Can I take your order?"
"That would be great. I'll have the same thing I always do, if you don't mind." His voice was deep and rumbling, as one would expect from someone his size.
Claire marked it down on the 'pad as a crystalline special. The main reason she had gotten a job at this café was because of their ability to serve many unique lifeforms along with the usual humans and near-humans populating the Empire. "Alright, one crystalline special, coming right up."
She stayed there for a second, just staring at him as he gazed out the window into the cosmopolitan sights of Ganthel. Clenching a fist, she tried to force herself to say something, but she stood frozen. Eventually, she sighed, dejected, and walked back to the kitchen.
Her fellow employees were waiting there for her. Shannon waved her arms around wildly, hissing, "What was that?! You had the perfect chance, and you just stood there like a lost shaak!" The others nodded in agreement, the cook even pausing for a moment to nod with them.
"I'll do it when I bring him his drink!" she hissed back.
"Oh, just like how he always notices when you put your number there or doodle hearts all over it? Claire, he's got to be the most oblivious guy in the galaxy! Besides, he's too busy staring at you to notice anything you put on his cup!"
Sighing, Claire just took the full plastoid cup that was placed down on the counter. Confirming that it was John's, she grabbed the marker off her apron and started on her usual decorations. Eventually, she opened the door back to the café. John quickly looked away once she caught his gaze, making her smile. She wasn't stupid or oblivious, she knew very well that John was very much attracted to her. The only problem was Claire's overactive thoughts and John's obliviousness.
"One crystalline special for big blue?" she asked, handing it to him. Their hands brushed, and Claire marveled over how smooth his skin felt.
"That sounds about right. Thanks Claire, you're an angel." John grinned at her, something rare. She thought he might be self-conscious about his teeth, but she didn't feel close enough to ask.
Speaking of asking…
Claire took a deep breath to hype herself up. A brief glance back at the counter revealed all the other employees giving her a thumbs up. She looked back to John, whose gaze hadn't left hers. The realization that he was as tall as her when he was sitting down suddenly hit her, but she pushed through it and opened her mouth. "Hey, would you, uh, maybe later want-"
A hidden earpiece rang. John smiled at her apologetically, saying, "I'm sorry, but this could be important."
Claire nodded, drooping. She took a couple steps away, slightly revitalized when she heard him hiss, "This better be an emergency, Tony."
Then he blinked. "Woah, slow down. Yeah, I can come get you. Where?" John stood up, grabbing the long coat that he had laid under him and swinging it on. "Alright, be there in a few. Don't do anything else, stay on the line."
He walked up to the counter, saying, "Sorry, I've got to run. Friend of mine needs some help." He put down a couple credits on the counter to pay for his drink, then strolled out the door.
Outside was when he started acting suspicious. As Claire watched, he looked both ways, then set off at a brisk pace away from the café, popping the collar of his coat as he went and dropping his head, so his face was partially hidden.
Shannon tapper her shoulder. Claire raised an eyebrow at her, and Shannon raised one back. "Well? Don't just stand here, go get him! We've got things covered here."
Claire smiled, thanking her, then took off her apron and ran after him.
Jim silently cursed to himself. Why couldn't Toby stay out of trouble for more than a week at a time? He was just about to ask out Claire!
He shoved his hands in the pocket of his long coat, shaking it slightly to confirm that his vibroblades were all still there. "Tobes, where did you say you were?" he muttered.
"Level one-sixteen, sector twelve. Steve just got here. They're busting the gang," Toby whispered.
Jim groaned. "How did they know the deal was today?"
"I don't think they did, it was just dumb luck on their part."
"That's some luck, Tobes."
"We can debate it all we want once I'm not in danger of going to the citadel!" Toby whisper-shouted into the mic.
Rolling his eyes, Jim replied, "I don't think you'd go to the citadel, Toby. That's reserved for the top prisoners that they don't want to have any chance of escape. To them, you're just some random kid, plead wrong place, wrong time if they find you before I get there."
Toby was silent for a bit before he asked, "Are you going to kill Steve?"
He barked out a laugh. "Kill an ISB agent? Are you insane?"
"Okay, good. Just making sure we remembered that." His best friend sounded much more relieved than he should have.
Sighing, Jim said, "Toby, he's not on our side anymore. One day, we might have to."
"I know, Jim. I just… can we put that off for as long as we can?"
He smiled wanly, even though Toby couldn't see it. "Sure."
He stepped into a tram taking him down to Toby. The people already aboard parted around him warily, making him sigh. The Empire's xenophobia had far too much influence on its civilians.
It was one of the main reasons he liked Claire so much. She saw him as a unique gem, not an intimidating alien as most Imperials did.
Jim grabbed hold of one of the hanging handles, even though he probably wouldn't need it. Scanning out the windows, he tried to spot anywhere that there was a buildup of Imperial activity. Eventually, he found it, just when the tram was about to stop.
Stepping off the Tram, Jim swiped a large hat off another passenger. Before they could figure out who took it, he set off in a brisk walking pace towards sector twelve. He kept his head down as much as he could, letting the hat cover his horns and face. He slapped his wrists, assuring himself that he still had his vambraces on, then stuck his hands back in his pockets. Hopefully, he wouldn't have to use them.
As the dim scenery passed him by, Jim could swear that he heard footsteps following him. A covert glance behind him revealed nothing though, and a cautionary sniff only filled his senses with the smell of carbon and smoke.
He stopped outside an alleyway, casually leaning against it. "Toby, I'm ready to come in if you need me."
"Actually, it looks like they're just about to leave. Well, Steve is. It looks like some stormtroopers are sticking around to mop things up."
Jim clenched a fist. A vibroblade shot out of his vambrace, sharp as ever. "I think I can take a couple stormtroopers."
"Oh, believe me, I know. Do you have your saber on you?" Toby whispered in a hopeful tone.
He snorted. "That would be incredibly stupid."
"Until you actually need it. What is it that you always say? Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it?"
"Oh, don't you start, Toby. I'm not the one who needs saving right now." Jim patted his coat, making sure that his pistols were where he left them. "Alright, tell me when Steve is gone for good."
He waited for two minutes before Toby said, "You're in the clear."
Jim began to inch through the alleyway, peeking his head out just enough to be able to see where the stormtroopers were. Noting nine of them, a full squad, he turned his attention to finding Toby. He couldn't see many hiding spots, until his eyes locked on a mag-lev dumpster. "Tobes, are you in the dumpster?" He could barely keep from laughing.
"Yeah, laugh it up! What would you have done mister 'I always have everything under control?'" Toby hissed.
"Not get caught." Jim waited for a stormtrooper to come close to the alley that he was in. As soon as he was in range, he grabbed the trooper by the shoulder and ejected his vibroblade through the back of his neck. The stormtrooper wasn't even able to realize what was happening before he was dead. Gently laying his body down further in the space, Jim returned to the mouth of the alley.
No one else was coming near him, so Jim sighed. He strolled out into the open, hands in the pockets of his long coat. Almost immediately, a stormtrooper shouted, "Hey, this is an active Imperial investigation! Put your hands where I can see them!"
Jim blinked, acting surprised. "What? I'm so sorry, officer. Please, I had no idea!"
"You don't even have your armor?!" Toby hissed.
"Verd ori'shya beskar'gam, Tobes." He said, grinning at the stormtrooper that had walked up to him.
He sprung into action, grabbing the trooper and spinning him around. The laser bolts slammed into his body, making the trooper scream in agony before he was abruptly silenced by a shot to the head. Meanwhile, Jim pulled out his T-6 Thunderer in his free hand, incinerating the head of one of the others. There was a brief lull as two of the troopers dived for cover, and Jim crouched lower behind his human shield and blasted a hole through the chest of another trooper while the remaining three tried to flank him.
With a roar, Jim charged at the trooper closest to him, slamming into him with the body of his fellow soldier and cracking through his armor. Jim's fist crashed into the disoriented trooper's helmet, shattering the flimsy plastoid and killed him near instantly.
Taking the body in one hand, barely had time to lift it up before a salvo of blaster bolts sprayed his position. Jim rolled his eyes at the typical stormtrooper aim before chucking the body at two of the soldiers that had grouped up, knocking them down like bowling pins. Before they could get back up, Jim put a bolt through each of their chests.
Several other blaster shots sounded, making Jim hit the deck. However, when nothing hit him or streaked by him, he looked over to the side and saw Toby with his mask on standing in the dumpster, a smoking blaster in his hand. Jim walked over and peered over the debris that the two stormtroopers had been using for cover, seeing that they were both peppered with smoking holes. He nodded. "Nice job, Tobes."
His short friend huffed. "I am not cut out for this kind of stuff, Jimbo. I'm the pilot, not the über-warrior that you are!"
"Then why don't we get you back to the ship? We should probably make sure that no one-"
He was cut off as powerful lights came on, blinding them both. Jim growled, lifting an elbow to shelter his eyes and grabbing Toby to swing him onto his back. "Ah, ah, ah," A familiar voice sounded over loud speakers. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"Haar'chak!" Jim swore under his breath. He was glad that he had kept his hat, since it kept them from seeing his face. Pricking his ears, Jim was able to her at least three different vehicles, all of them probably chock full of officers.
"We were very grateful to the Naarin gang when they told us that they were making a deal with rebels. Enough to let them free, in fact. They were all to happy to tell us everything they knew about you. So, why would you need components critical to long range communications?" Steve was just as smug as Jim remembered him being, even when he hadn't really done anything to be smug about. Like catching them for instance. He remembered well enough where the alleyways were, and he bet that he could move faster through the narrow space than they could track him.
Jim whispered to Toby under his breath, saying, "If you talk, he might recognize your voice. I know it'll be hard, but keep the sarcasm to a minimum, will you?"
"I'm glad that all three of you were willing to come forth. The Empire values your service," the ISB agent continued in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"Wait, three?" Toby asked.
Jim's eyes flicked behind them, well enough adjusted to the light that he could see a very familiar silhouette in the light. He groaned. "Okay, Tobes, you're going to have to hold on yourself."
His friend's arms tightened around his neck and he hooked his legs around his torso. "Ready," he whispered.
Without warning, Jim launched off the ground, flipping behind him. He grabbed Claire, ignoring her yelp of terror, and cradled her in his arms. He kept charging forward, getting into the alleyway behind them just as the blaster bolts hit the ground where they just were.
"After them, you idiots!" Steve screamed. Jim ducked down, halting all his motion for a second. He listened to the vehicles thunder over him, then immediately turned around and sprinted the way that they came.
"Toby, what level are we on?" Jim yelled as he ran. Claire continued to scream every time he turned a corner, which was starting to make him nervous.
"What? We're on one-sixteen!" Toby yelled back at him.
"Not us, the ship!
"Say that next time! One-twelve, sector eight!"
After another sharp turn and another scream, Jim had had enough. "Claire, stop screaming! I'm trying to save your life!"
She was silent for a second, then yelled, "You're a rebel?!"
"I thought that was rather obvious at this point! Can we talk about this later?!"
"Are you kidnapping me? Do I know too much? Please don't kill me!"
"Later!" Jim yelled again.
Toby yelled, "What Jim means to say is, we're the good guys, and as long as you're with us, you're not in danger!"
"Then why are you kidnapping me?!"
"By the force, Jim, this is who you can't stop talking about?" Toby muttered. Jim rolled his eyes. "Steve had you pegged for a rebel, so now you're a criminal! Welcome to the Empire, they don't care about you or anyone else!"
Claire wisely shut her mouth after that, letting Jim breathe a sigh of relief. He continued leaping around, keeping an ear out for the Imperial vehicles as he raced back towards their ship.
Just outside the docking bay, Jim set down Claire and knelt so that Toby could get off his back. He looked around, trying to find any cameras that could be spying on them, but found no one. Shrugging off his long coat and giving his hat to Toby, he strode forward confidently, only slightly out of breath.
Once inside the docking bay, his attention was drawn by Claire's gasp. He and Toby looked at her strangely, and she quickly grew red. "Sorry," she stuttered. "I've just never seen so many different non-human species together."
"You live in the city," Toby deadpanned. "What do you expect?"
"C'mon," Jim muttered. "Let's get out of sight." He put a hand on each of their shoulders, feeling how Claire's body tensed.
The direction he took them in was close to the mouth of the bay, where a quick escape was available should they need it. The ship that Claire saw awaiting them wasn't quite the shining vehicle she was expecting.
It was a wide ship with a flat underbelly and a defined incline from its center to just before its wings, where it sloped back upwards. Each wingtip sported large cannons, along with swiveling turrets both on top and underneath. There were vents going along the front of the ship to its wings, and the general design sloped backwards. The entire ship was painted an ash color with gold, spiraling patterns all over it.
"You like her?" Toby asked, herking a thumb at it and grinning. "The only girl I can actually call mine. Prototype Nubian Scurrg H-6 Bomber. Her name is the Havoc, and she is the only one of her kind. Probably because we took it off of some pirates who stole it from the shipyard after they destroyed the schematics. And then we never gave back the schematics. Which it doesn't really resemble anymore after all the modifications. But, hey! One of a kind!"
Claire raised her eyebrows at him before looking to Jim. "Why would you take a ship from pirates?"
He knocked on the bottom of the ship, and shortly after, the boarding ramp began to descend. "Bounty. They didn't really need it anymore, and we needed a ship after we lost Daylight."
"Bounty?" Claire blinked. "You're a bounty hunter and a-"
Jim clapped a hand over her mouth and gave her a look. "Probably not something you should just throw out there, especially where there might be people paid to eavesdrop."
Once she nodded, he took his hand off and gestured towards the ramp. "Now, do you want some answers?"
Claire hesitated for a second. She could just walk away, go back to her classes and her café job and not be labeled a criminal. Or she could stick around for a little bit and learn something new that wasn't academic and had an iota of excitement to it.
She made her decision quickly and nodded resolutely, stepping onto the ramp and pulling herself up.
It was a quaint little ship that greeted her. The place she entered seemed to be some sort of storage room with a high roof and lockers on the walls with plenty of crates scattered around, normal for a freighter. Toby came up next to her, Jim following close behind. The ramp lifted up behind them, closing them all in.
"Okay," Jim said. "Why don't we get to the living area and then we can talk?"
The living area was pretty standard; a holotable with plenty of apps, a kitchenette, cushioned seats, a couple counters and drawers with various things inside them. The walls were a grey color and the floor was a shining black.
Claire was seated at the holotable, which Jim had pulled a chair over to and Toby had slid in on the other side. Jim tapped something, bringing up the logo. "So," he started, laying his hands on the table. "What do you want to know?"
"Why are we letting her ask the questions, Jimbo? Shouldn't we be asking her why she followed you?" Toby gestured wildly, trying to accentuate his point.
"He keeps calling you Jim," she said. "Is that your real name?"
He nodded. "My name is unfortunately in the Empire's database as a high-value target." Toby shot him a look, but Jim just rolled his eyes. "Which is why I won't be telling you my last name. And no, I didn't commit any major crimes other than existing to get there."
"That seemed like a pretty major crime you committed today." Claire stared him down, crossing her arms.
"Yes, well, Toby is a bit more important to me than lying low, even if I did wish that he could stay out of trouble more than he does."
"How was I supposed to know that Steve would show up?" he complained.
"Toby did raise a good question, though. Why did you follow me?"
"Well, I was going to ask you out, but I'm not so sure about that anymore," Claire muttered. Then realized what she said and slapped a hand over her face.
Jim blinked. "You were?"
Toby huffed. "That's beside the point, Jimbo. What do we do with her now? She was in full view in the spotlight, the Empire has her face."
Claire looked up, alarmed. "What do you mean they have my face?"
Toby tapped something into the holotable. A wanted poster with her face sprung up, showing her crimes as 'High Treason against the Galactic Empire' and listing a large fee for her capture, alive. "The Empire doesn't mess around with rebels anymore. It's the worst crime you can commit nowadays, ranking above all others."
"What are you talking about? I didn't do anything! This can't be real; the Empire is a just government!" Claire slammed her hands on the table.
The other two looked at her incredulously. "Do you not remember the Jedi Purge that marked the beginning of the Empire?" Toby asked. "How about all the slavery that's happening in the spice mines? The forceful conquering of planets that refuse Imperial rule?"
"The Jedi betrayed the Supreme chancellor, and what slavery are you talking about? The Empire was the one that wiped out Kotaska when they got to Ganthel! They wouldn't suffer slavery!" Claire snorted, and pointed a finger in his face. "You're lying, you have to be!"
She pushed herself up, running to the door of the ship. When it didn't open, she spun around, glaring at the tired looking Jim and the exasperated countenance of Toby. "Let me out!" She yelled. "I don't know what this is, but I want no part of it. My parents are probably going insane, thinking that I'm a terrorist like you two!"
"Now listen here-" Toby started, only to be cut off by Jim's raised hand.
"Let her go, Blinky."
The door opened in front of her, allowing her to take a cautious step out. She looked back, meeting Jim's gaze. After a moment, he sighed and said, "K'oyacyil."
A glance at Toby prompted him to say, "In this case, it means stay alive. And seriously, please do. I don't want to have to deal with Jim being a mopey mess again."
Claire nodded, and stepped out.
Knocking on her door, Claire assured herself that the two boys were wrong.
She had gotten back to the top levels of the city with no problems at all. No one stopped her, no one stared and pointed; everything seemed fine. Sighing to herself, Claire realized that she might have to report Jim and Toby.
Why did the only guy who had shown a good interest in her have to turn out like this?
When no one responded after a minute, Claire frowned and knocked again. She tried the doorbell, just to be safe. Still, no one came to answer the door. Claire set her hands on her hips, glaring at the door. "Would it kill you to answer the door for your own child?" she hissed.
Claire pulled out her commlink, dialing her parents. Neither of them picked up. She started to grow alarmed. They always answered their comms, no matter what.
Without warning, the door slammed open, police officers swarming out. Several stepped out from behind walls and various hiding places around her. Every one of them either had a blaster or a baton, and all of them were pointed at her. "Claire Nuñez," A blonde man in the uniform of an ISB agent said as he stepped out of her house. "Surrender immediately, and perhaps you can have a lessened sentence."
She held up her hands, not knowing what else to do. Two officers came forward, forcing her down to her knees, making her grunt in pain at their impact. One of them pulled out a pair of binders, slapping them on her wrists. When she looked up again, she was shocked to see her parents in the doorway of her house.
Her father stared at her, gaping, looking around helplessly. His hands twitched, as if he wanted to do something, but he had no idea what. Her mother, on the other hand…
Her mother was the very picture of a cold-hearted glare. The blonde man turned to her parents, saying, "The Empire thanks you for your cooperation, Governor Nuñez. Your loyalty is to be commended."
"Absolutely, Agent Palchuk," her mother responded. "I will suffer no traitors, within my household or without." She turned her back on her daughter, closing the door behind her.
Claire averted her gaze, too shocked to do anything about the tears that stung her eyes. The feeling of betrayal consumed her, leaving her lifeless. She knew her mother was dedicated, but to sell out her own daughter without a word?
She hadn't even done anything!
"Well, Ms. Nuñez," Palchuk said as he knelt down to her level. He took hold of her chin, tilting her head to look into her eyes. "Or rather, just Claire now. The name Nuñez is no longer yours, after your mother struck you from the family tree."
A numbness spread throughout Claire's body. Jim and Toby were right. And now, she got to reap the consequences.
"Now, why don't you tell us about your rebel friends?"
"What's your plan, Jimbo?"
Jim glanced up at Toby, who sat at the holotable as he was cooking. "Hmm?"
"I know you. You wouldn't just let someone run headlong into death, and you definitely wouldn't let them threaten your friends with exposure," Toby pointed a holographic wand at him. "So, what's your plan?"
"Well, you can't save someone who doesn't want to be saved," Jim said as he chopped up the starfruit on the cutting board. "Also, I seem to remember us going after the prison for a different reason."
Toby nodded slowly. "You're waiting until she's where we'll be going anyways, so we can get two birds with one stone. Okay. But how will we know when she's arrested?"
"Are you kidding me? It's the Empire. They'll start gloating as soon as they get her."
As if on cue, the holotable lit up red, and Governor Nuñez appeared on screen. "Approximately an hour ago, a rebel traitor was captured when she sought asylum at my own household. The audacity of these rebels has been allowed to grow for too long. She is being interrogated for information on those with her as we speak. If any other traitors are listening, I urge you to come forward now. Your sentence will be lessened with compliance, and we will find you regardless. Choose the easy way out."
Toby started laughing. "Not likely, lady."
A metallic voice came on over the comms. "I assume that I should find the best course to the prison, Master Jim?"
"Hey, I pilot this ship," Toby said to the comms. "And yes, Blinky, plot the course. I'll be up there in a second. Also, do me a favor and get Aaarrrgghh! to load the proton torpedoes. I get the feeling we'll need them."
"Well, you know what they say, Tobes," Jim said brightly as he dumped the starfruit pieces into the fridge. When Toby looked up at him, he continued. "Ib'tuur jatne tuur ash'ad kyr'amur."
"It's a good day for someone else to die? Is that actually a Mandalorian saying or are you messing with me?" Then Toby tapped his chin. "Actually, that's a pretty Mandalorian thing to say. I'll believe it."
Jim grinned, and stepped out of the kitchen, taking off his apron as he went. He had to change.
Claire was silently crying in the cell that they had put her in.
It was so dark in here. They had neglected to turn on any lights, or even take off her binders, leaving her hands bound behind her back. She hadn't seen or heard anyone yet, but maybe that was part of the tactics to get her to talk.
Well, the joke was on them because she didn't know anything. Now that she knew that Jim was telling the truth, there was no way that she would sell him out. What else had Toby said? Slavery and the Jedi Purge?
When the Republic had been organized into the Galactic Empire almost fourteen years ago, Claire had been six. Since then, she was always taught that the Republic was an evil, corrupt institution, and that the Imperial reformation was the best thing that could have happened. The Empire was a just, righteous institution, ridding the galaxy of the criminal Jedi and bring order where there was before.
But now, Claire wasn't sure what to believe. Her own mother had betrayed her over a crime that she hadn't even committed, and now she was about to be interrogated for information she didn't have.
The door slid open, temporarily blinding her at the activation of the lights inside her cell. As she squinted, three silhouettes entered through the door, and a floating, whirring ball passing over their heads.
Her blood ran cold. That sound was a common one in the horror vids she would watch on late nights with her friends, and she knew perfectly well how it worked and what it could do. She wasn't scared anymore. She was terrified.
"Please," she stuttered. "I don't know what you think I know, but I'm not a rebel! I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time!"
"Oh, it's going to be like that, is it?" The agent scoffed. "You'd think someone so brave as to defy the greatest power in history could at least have enough of a backbone to not beg before they've even felt the pain."
The IT-O Interrogator droid's needle arm extended, and its whirring got louder. "Besides," the man said. "The screams are the best part."
Then the door to the room blew inwards, slamming into the agent's back and flattening the droid against the wall. The two stormtroopers barely had time to bring their guns around before a giant decked out in full black and red Mandalorian armor jumped in, grabbed their heads, and smashed them together. He stepped over their bodies, stopping in front of Claire and peering down at her.
Somehow, Claire didn't feel any better staring down a horned Mandalorian than she did staring down an interrogation droid.
Then, the warrior sighed and reached up to his. He lifted it up, careful to slide it along his horns. Before long, Jim was looking down at her, and after a moment, knelt down to get on her level.
Claire scrabbled away from him as best as she could, still in a state of overwhelming terror. "Hey, hey, it's me, Jim," he said putting his hands out in front of him. "Why don't I get you out of here? I hear these places aren't too good for your health."
She said nothing, but she wasn't scrambling to get away from him anymore. Jim tried to crane his neck to look behind her and cursed when he noticed that the binders were still on. "I don't have anything to take those off with here, but I can get those off in my ship."
At her hesitant nod, Jim asked, "Can I take you there?"
She nodded vigorously. Jim stood up, sliding his helmet back on and pulling his pistol out of his thigh holster. He gently wrapped an arm around her and carefully slung her over a shoulder. "Then let's move."
Claire stared at the sight from behind him as he dashed through the halls, only seeing fallen forms of stormtroopers left in his wake. Another crack sounded, followed by a short yell. Then she heard Jim curse as he jerked to the side, dodging a bolt. His weapon cracked again, and Jim shook it in the air. "What are you doing?" Claire asked incredulously.
"T-6 Thunderer. Biggest pistol out there, best firepower, but it overheats easily. I would rather look stupid than have my gun explode on me in the middle of a fight."
Claire yelped as he swung around again, taking a sharp turn. "C'mon, Toby," he muttered to himself. "Are you going to wait until the entire legion is here?"
"What do you mean? Why isn't Toby here right now?" Claire asked desperately.
"Well, we're here for two reasons." Jim's pistol cracked again, and she heard a yell that was quickly cut off. "You, and information on the slave transport that we learned about a couple days ago."
"You weren't lying about the slavery," she muttered. It was a hard thing to wrap her head around, that she had been supporting a slaving institution for most of her life.
"Unfortunately, no. We didn't lie about anything." Jim spun around, leaving her facing a wall. "Okay, Toby, any second now would be great."
"You're pointing me at the wall that's going to explode?!" Claire yelped. She started wriggling on his shoulder, trying to spin around.
She heard the pistol crack twice. "Toby'll tell me before he blasts it, don't worry. Just give him a minute, he'll be here. In the meantime, well, hukaat'kama."
"I don't speak Mandalorian!" Claire yelled.
"It's called Mando'a! I said watch my back!"
"Hah hah, very funny!"
A second later, Jim tugged her down from his shoulder, enveloping her with his body. Then she almost went deaf with the explosion that rang the building.
She tried to shake the ringing out of her ears, but all that remained of the sounds around her was a dull roar. Jim slung her back over a shoulder, then she saw the hall of the prison rapidly growing smaller.
Just as Claire realized that Jim jumped out a building on a metropolitan planet, she jerked to a stop, and the outside disappeared as her savior climbed down a hatch into the Havoc. The stars were moving rapidly even before he closed the hatch above them and finished his descent.
The ringing in her ears was starting to disappear, just as Jim set her down on something cushioned. She immediately rolled onto her side, not pleased with the way the binders dug into her back. "Are you going to get these off?" she asked, finally able to hear her own voice again.
A thunk sounded from behind her, and Jim asked, "Toby, where's the – never mind, found it! Alright Claire, just give me a second, and I'll have those right off. You might feel a slight burning, but it's fine."
"A slight – what are you taking them off with?!" She tried to turn her neck to see, but Jim's now bare head was in the way.
A second later, Claire felt the binders pop open, and she happily jerked her hands out of them and started to rub her wrists. Jim put them on the holotable and asked, "Toby, what's our ETA?"
"We've got to lead them off first, so probably a few hours. Monitoring comms for activity, but they didn't catch the Havoc until it was too late to get a visual, so we should be safe," his voice answered from the ceiling.
"Did we get the info?"
"Yeah, but we almost didn't get back out. Blinky's gonna need some work on his lower right arm when we get back."
Jim nodded. "Good work. Blinky, we'll get Eli to look at you. Thanks for risking yourself."
"Saving those Bodach'I will be thanks enough, Master Jim." Claire jerked at the voice of a protocol droid, raising an eyebrow at Jim.
He held up a hand. "I'll explain later. For now, I think you should get some rest. Today was a pretty big change in your life. Can I show you to your room?"
Claire dropped her wrists, then nodded. "I think I'd like that."
Jim smiled, gesturing to a hallway. "Right this way, ma'am. Welcome to the Havoc."
C'mon, Jim's always the badass warrior. He'd definitely be a Mandalorian.