Disclaimer: Trollhunters belongs to Guillermo del Toro, Star Wars belongs to Disney.
Jim took another step back, hunched over behind a crate in the dark. He was ready for any Imperial boarding teams, having turned off both the lights and life support in the Zygerrian ship and already decorating the ship with booby traps. His best bet was to get onto the Star Destroyer and get to its escape pods, because there was no way he was getting out of here on board a slaving ship.
The sound of superhot flames cutting through metal reaching his ears, making them twitch inside his helmet. Carefully adjusting his position, Jim took aim at the door, ready for whatever might pass through. As he watched, the door blew inwards, slapping flat onto the floor and screeching across it, its glowing edges dripping onto the floor. Then he caught sight of what came out in, and swung back around his crate, cursing silently.
Garbled speech rang out across the ship, lights clicking on as the Death Troopers boarded the ship. Jim hoped and prayed that they hadn't seen him, because he could not take a full squadron of Death Troopers enclosed as he was. Somehow, he needed to get past them onto the Star Destroyer. A quick look showed him that they had left two guards at the door, both with their guns up and ready.
Jim cursed again. Of course he would get stuck with the only Imperial troops that were actually competent. He looked down at the Thunderer in his hands, rolled his shoulders, and prepared to do one of the stupidest things that he had ever done.
Another garbled blast of speech sounded far too close to his crate for comfort, forcing Jim to settle back down until the Death Trooper passed by his hiding place. "Alright," he muttered. "K'atini, Jim. K'atini."
He sucked in a breath, then tapped into something that he hadn't used in a long time. Something coiled within him, resisting his call, but he dragged it out, knowing that he didn't have another choice. The crate in front of him lifted up a couple inches off the ground, making Jim sweat with exertion. Still, it was important that this was done silently, no matter how out of practice he was.
Jim sprung into the air, lashing out with a spinning kick into the crate. The sound of metal slamming into metal was all the warning the two Death Troopers guarding the entrance got before they were bowled over, slamming into the walls and ground. The Mandalorian seized his chance and set off in a dead sprint, coating his muscles with as much power as he could muster, which wasn't much. It was enough to pass by the super soldiers before they could get a word out or blast him, though, which was what was important.
His boots thudded heavily against the much lighter interior of the Star Destroyer as staticky words echoed behind him. Orange bolts passed by him with an oddly hard sound, the telltale report of the E-11D blaster rifle. Jim was jerked to the side when one of the bolts slammed into his back, but he managed to turn the momentum into a spin and keep going.
The lights in the Star Destroyer began to flash red, alarms sounding. "Alert," a female voice said. "Target is on board. Security teams to hangar deck. Turbolifts are being deactivated until further notice."
"Shab!" he barked out. That meant that he would have to crawl through the vents.
Rounding the corner, Jim found several Imperials in their gray service uniforms. They all gasped and yelled when seeing him, but he didn't slow down. None of them had weapons on them, so the Mandalorian put his arms up and crashed straight through them. The crack of bone as he impacted the first rang through hall, and the man gasped in pain when he was tossed into his crewmates, throwing them all into the walls. They were too busy groaning in pain to call in the sighting of the intruder.
"Where's my firfiek lightsaber when I need it?" he groaned to himself as he ran. Of course, he knew he had left it back on the ship, not wanting the Inquisitors to be called down on him in case someone that he didn't kill saw it.
Skidding through a doorway, Jim immediately began to scrabble back. The hangar bay he had dashed into was filled with at least fifty stormtroopers, all of which had just noticed him. Pulling out his Thunderer, he was able to fire off a couple vaporizing shots before the stormtroopers could react, and just as they began to fire back, the door closed in front of him. Pulling a grenade out of his belt, he tossed it on the ground, leaving the Imperials a nasty surprise whenever they came through the door.
As for his own efforts, though, Jim needed to find a vent and fast. He tried to recall the blueprints of Star Destroyers that he had seen, then nodded to himself and set off in another dash down the hall, his boots echoing as he went.
"Blinky, do we know which Star Destroyer that was?" Toby asked, not wasting any time once he entered the living area.
"Yes, I managed to identify it as the Adjudicator. Captained by Bular, a ruthless non-human Imperial of an unidentified species. He should be quite notable due to the lack of non-humans in the Imperial military, but virtually no one knows of him," Blinky said. He tapped the Holotable until an image came up of a black, bull-like alien resting on the knuckles of his large arms with the rank insignia of captain on his chest over a black armor.
"I know him," Claire said quietly.
They both turned to the girl, who was shakily holding a mug of hot chocolate. Aaarrrgghh! had wrapped a shock blanket around her and was sitting close to the trembling girl, warbling softly. "How?" Toby asked, skepticism clear in his voice.
"My mom is a governor. She used to bring me to all the big parties, hoping I would follow her and bring glory to the family name." Claire snorted. "Guess that's off the plate now. But that's not important. Bular is a barbarian who tries to appear civilized, though he knows little of tactics and has almost no appreciation of anything considered to be important by the high-class Imperial citizens."
Toby nodded, clapping his hands together. "Great. Anything on him physically?"
"He was really, really strong. Uh, and like, eight feet tall. He prefers melee weapons to ranged, calling people who use blasters cowards." Claire's eyes pointed towards the ceiling. The memories she was calling on were hazy at best.
"Alright, we need to pick up Jim as soon as possible. Blinky, has he turned on the beacon yet?" Toby swung around. He was fidgeting with his hands, as if unsure what to do with them.
"I'm afraid not, Tobias. As of now, we have no way of knowing of his condition." Blinky's four arms spread apologetically.
"Perfect," he muttered. "I told him. I told him. But what does he do? Go and play the hero, forgetting about the rest of us!"
Aaarrrgghh! roared something, Blinky nodding along. "Perhaps it would be best if you were to retire to your quarters, Tobias," he said. "This day has been trying, and we will no doubt need you at full capacity when we perform our usual daring rescue of Master Jim."
Toby nodded tiredly. He grabbed something from the pantry, then stalked off down a hallway, mumbling something to himself.
"Fair Claire," Blinky said, grabbing the girl's attention. Her eyes snapped to him, but they were unfocused and foggy. "How do you fare?"
"Hey, that rhymes," she said vacantly.
The droid exchanged a look with Aaarrrgghh!, somehow conveying worry despite not being able to form facial expressions. The Wookie pulled the girl closer, and she didn't protest. "I think I'm going to sleep now," she said, then promptly closed her eyes.
A lens spun out of Blinky's head, locking in front of his right eyes. The readings the girl was giving off labeled her as well and truly asleep. He nodded to Aaarrrgghh!, who carefully picked the girl up.
"The first kill is always the worst," the Wookie rumbled at him. "Though painful, it is good that she does not take life lightly."
"Very true, my friend. We will speak to her of this when she wakes. Perhaps it will give her solace."
Aaarrrgghh! gave him a curious look. "Solace?" he questioned with a soft growl.
"Comfort, consolation in times of distress and sadness," Blinky clarified.
He nodded, pausing in front of a door as it opened. The room was the same one that Claire had been in the night before, spartan and uncolored. The Wookie carefully laid her down on the bed, tucking the sheets around her as she mumbled in her sleep and turned. They closed the door behind them, leaving the troubled girl in soothing darkness.
"I will begin to search Imperial channels for anything regarding the Adjudicator," Blinky told Aaarrrgghh!.
He nodded, briefly clapping the droid on his shoulder. "I will be in the cockpit in case they are able to track us here."
They both set off down separate paths, Blinky limping towards their operational room, and Aaarrrgghh! towards the cockpit. Blinky worried for his younger crewmates but had faith that they would pull through this challenge as they had the rest.
He would just have to make sure that he did his part so everyone else could do theirs.
A loud bang had Jim jerking up from his sleep, alert and scanning the area around him.
There didn't appear to be anyone near him, but just to be sure, Jim sniffed the air and listened as closely as he could. There was no one near enough for him to hear or smell, but there was one sense that he hadn't checked with. Taking a deep breath, Jim slumped against the wall, relaxing and forcing his perception outwards.
For a moment, nothing happened, and the only thing Jim could feel was his armor pressed into the durasteel walls of the dark room he was in. Then, he knew what was outside; nothing of importance in either the vents or just outside the door. With each breath, his mind expanded further, caressing every nook and cranny near him.
Then it came into contact with someone.
Rage slammed into his mind. A burning, seething rage so deep and intrinsic to the nature of the being that he felt it before he even felt its physical form. Jim gasped as his concentration was completely destroyed, the vague impression of a bull mixed with an ape implanted in his mind as he panted with exertion.
The floor above him shuddered. His eyes flicked up, knowing that was where the creature was. In a sickening moment of panic, Jim wondered if it had felt his mind.
Then distorted voice echoed through the dark hallways outside, barely making it to his helmet's receptors. He groaned to himself but got up anyways, stumbling slightly while he shook off the last vestiges of sleep. It was time to put his plan in action.
The plans that Jim had pulled up on his HUD after he remembered that they were downloaded were incredibly helpful. From his current position, it would take him a couple hours to get to an escape pod, with some time adjusted in case he ran into difficulties. Reaching up, he flicked the beacon in his helmet on.
Hopefully, if he did this right, the Havoc would only have to be in the system for a couple minutes to pick him up and then they could book it the hell out of there.
Heavy boots clacked against the floor outside. Jim crouched behind the door silently, waiting until the Death Trooper came close enough for what he had planned. Three steps later, and he was just to the side of the door, none the wiser to Jim's presence.
With everything that he could muster, Jim slammed into the door, propelling it directly into the Death Trooper and launching him back through the hallway. He wasted no time following the trooper, jumping onto its chest and putting his Thunderer directly into its face.
The Death Trooper was barely able to slap the barrel aside before Jim pulled the trigger, turning the durasteel floor next to them into glowing red slag. It shoved its hands into Jim's chest, using its cybernetically enhanced strength to throw him off.
Jim placed his hands on the ground as he flew back, turning his motion into a backwards spring flip. He pulled the Thunderer back up, taking aim, but the trooper was on him before he could fire, knocking the gun to the side with his fist. Jim narrowed his eyes behind his helmet, using his other hand to punch the trooper in the side of his head.
A staticky yell came out of it, and it tried to use the rotation to throw a kick into his side. Jim caught it, twisting it and forcing the Death Trooper to spin in the air like a propeller. Like a bat, he swung its body into the wall. When it fell, he straddled its back, wrapping his arms around the trooper's neck and squeezing with all his might.
Static burst from its helmet as its hands clawed weakly at the ground. Jim's face was grimly set behind his visor, staring at the trooper slowly dying in his arms.
The scrabbling of its fingers slowed until they ceased. Just to be certain, Jim pulled off the trooper's helmet, staring at the face of a bald, dark-skinned man staring lifelessly to the side. Gritting his teeth, Jim planted his knee into the man's back and grabbed hold of his chin and the side of his head, snapping it to the side.
The brief cut-off scream from the soldier told Jim that he had been faking it. Now the soldier gasped, trying to move, but nothing from his neck down moved. Jim had walked a couple feet away, picking up his Thunderer.
The Death Trooper stared at the barrel. He spat at Jim's feet and said, "Go ahead, Mandalorian. The rest of the squad is on its way, and they'll finally be able to add the Stalker helmet to the collection."
Behind his visor, Jim's eyes narrowed, and he pulled the trigger.
Without sparing the smoking corpse another glance, he turned around and sprinted away, grabbing the discarded helmet on the way. He knew how Death Trooper squads worked, and that each of their helmets were connected, not to mention they had life sign readings and location markers on their HUDs for the rest of their squad. Jim jammed his Thunderer back into the holster now that it had had ample time to cool off, then pulled a cord out of his left vambrace and plugged it into the helmet.
He stopped for a second. Then started laughing. He could see out of each of their helmets. Pulling out a knife, he knelt down and dug the camera out, thankful that the location marker was in the armor. As soon as he had the camera, he crushed it in his hand, then turned on the comm system in his helmet.
"Bular is highly displeased," a female voice was saying. "We need to find that Mandalorian, fast. Otherwise he might start taking out his anger on the crew again."
"Acknowledged, Captain Nomura," four other voices chorused.
Jim tapped a button, cycling through their feeds. One of them was getting close to the corpse he had left. As they approached the body, he set off again at a brisk pace, keeping his senses as expanded as he could as he kept his eyes on their cameras.
The Death Trooper approached the corpse, tipping it over with his toe. "Confirmed; Barlon down."
"Anything missing?" the voice now identified as Nomura asked.
Jim climbed into a vent as quietly as he could. The trooper's camera swung around, and he said, "His helmet appears to be missing, though it could have been vaporized. The Mandalorian was using a T-6 Thunderer."
Another voice piped in. "That is more than capable of disintegrating our armor at close range."
"All the same, it may be best to switch over to another channel," the captain suggested.
Jim cursed mentally. Still, he couldn't resist snipping at them. Reaching up, he clicked on the voice synthesizer in his helmet. "Aww," his mechanized voice rang over the comms. "We were just starting to get to know each other."
One by one, the camera feeds turned to static. Jim sighed in disappointment. Those would have been useful.
"You may think you have the upper hand, mercenary scum," the captain hissed. "But you're on an Imperial dreadnought, surrounded by thousands of the Empire's finest. It's simply a matter of waiting to hear you scream."
"I'm shaking in my boots, Captain Nomura." His voice was playful. "Ready whenever you are."
Her channel turned to static in his ear.
"Tobias." Blinky's dual-layered mechanized voice woke Toby from his fitful sleep.
He sat up in his bed, stretching out his arms and yawning. "What, morning already?"
"No, it's only been seven hours. Master Jim has turned on his beacon," the droid said, standing at the foot of his bed.
Wide awake, Toby threw off his covers. "Why didn't you start with that?" he grumbled.
Blinky watched him as he ran around the room, trying to find his wool vest. He was already wearing his yellow shirt and brown cargo pants, not taking them off to sleep. A second later, he pulled it out with an "Aha!" and slipped it on.
"Alright, let's go. Where's Aaarrrgghh!?" he asked, stumbling out of his bedroom.
Blinky limped after him. "Awakening Claire."
Toby scoffed. "And what's she gonna do, have another breakdown if she manages to hit a TIE fighter?"
One of Blinky's lower hands landed on his shoulder. Toby sent a look at him, but Blinky didn't budge. "Tobias, I do not know what issue you have with the newest member of our crew, but I suggest that you set it aside until it can be properly dealt with," the droid chastised him.
Toby rolled his eyes, brushing Blinky's hand off. "Yeah, yeah. Getting Jimbo back is more important, don't worry."
As he walked into the common area, he grabbed a snack. It was always easier to pilot on a full stomach.
Jim watched through the grate as two officers walked beneath him, chatting about some inane skyhopper. He waited until their steps were nothing more than an echo through the hallway before he silently opened to vent and climbed out.
The escape pods were near enough that Jim could make it there in a few minutes, but he would need some time to override the lock they had most likely placed them under.
"Mandalorian!" A roar came from down the hall, echoing off the walls.
Jim cursed. Why did it always have to go this way?
Turning to face his newest aggressor, Jim came face to face with a large alien. Situated on the knuckles of its much larger forearms, with horns framing its face filled with sharp teeth and blazing red eyes, Jim instantly recognized its presence as the one he had felt before. Armor as black as its apparent skin covered it smoothly, with the insignia of the Empire over its right shoulder. It pulled out two massive vibroswords that were shaped as cleavers, taking a stance that left his chest open.
Jim scoffed to himself, pulled out his Thunderer, and shot it directly in its chest. Then did a double-take as the bolt fizzled out against a barrier of red energy that flashed a few feet in front of it. The alien's eyes flicked down. It snorted, then looked back up to Jim. "A coward's weapons will get you nowhere, Mandalorian. I am Bular, but you will know me as death!" it roared before charging him.
Behind his visor, Jim's eyes widened. Then he set his jaw and set his arms forward as if he meant to catch the beast. Bular grinned savagely, and he put his horns forward as he ran.
At the last second, Jim ducked down, avoiding the crosscut that Bular sent at him. He planted his shoulder in the alien's abdomen, then lifted up with all his might, using Bular's own momentum to get him to sail into the air.
Before the bull-like alien even hit the ground, Jim was already running. Bular's enraged roar was cut off by the explosion of air from his lungs as he hit the ground. The Mandalorian grinned to himself at the pained wheeze, until a Death Trooper stepped out from the corner that he was about to round. Scoffing to himself, Jim sped up, holding out an arm as he went.
His upper arm rammed straight into the super-soldier's faceplate, making them flip through the air backwards, slamming into the ground on their back. Jim skidded around the corner they came from, keeping as low to the ground as possible to move quicker.
A thunderous roar came from behind him, and a brief backwards glance revealed Bular pounding around the corner, following Jim. He groaned, palming his belt for a grenade before thinking better of it. He didn't want to waste something that might not even penetrate that monster's shield.
Oh, if only he had his lightsaber. Or a proper use of the force. Jim resolved to start meditating as soon as he could if he was going to start hitting bigger targets like this.
A ball rolling in front of him got his attention. "Oh, shab!" he yelled, barely having enough of a presence to kick it away as he scrabbled to a stop along the floor.
Incoherent noise echoed through the hallway as four Death Troopers scrambled to get away from the grenade clattering towards them. The explosion deafened Jim momentarily, but he could still feel Bular charging towards him from the shaking of the floor. As the beast came close to him again, his swords now sheathed along his back, Jim turned to him with his fists up.
And again, instead of taking a swing, Jim dodged the alien, this time flipping over and springing off his back. Just as his hearing returned, he heard a scream of static being abruptly cut off. Taking a second to expand his senses, he felt where each of his adversaries were, noting that there was one less Death Trooper. He took a deep breath before springing off into the smoke.
The comm system in his helmet beeped, shooting relief through him. Jim tapped it, saying, "What's up?"
"Oh, not much," Toby snarked back. "Just saving your shebs again. What is this, the thirteenth time this year?"
"Probably." An orange bolt streaked past his face. Without looking, Jim pointed his Thunderer back and shot. A mechanized yell told him that his force senses were still true.
"What the kark was that?" Toby asked. "That didn't sound like a stormtrooper."
"Apparently they sent out a Death Trooper squad just for me. I have to say, I'm quite honored," Jim quipped. Another roar from Bular bounced off the walls before the floor started shaking again, and Jim could feel his hatred snapping at his mind.
"That must be Bular," Claire's voice sounded through his helmet. She sounded subdued, making Jim frown.
"Oh, have you met?" Jim kept his voice lighthearted. "I've only just made his acquaintance."
She snickered, bringing a grin to his face. "Yeah, I remember him from a dinner a couple years back. I got the impression that he didn't exactly belong."
"Oh yeah, he's a real beast," Jim said. "Hold on one second."
He flipped on the microphone in his helmet. "Hey Bular, oh wait, death, how you doing back there?"
"Come back and face me like a warrior, you coward!" the alien yelled in response.
Anger pricked at his nerves before Jim forced it down. "Yeah, I know the difference between courage and stupidity, thanks," he said. "Now, if you want to reschedule sometime in a more neutral environment, I'd be happy to accommodate you."
Bular's answering roar as Jim flicked the microphone back off was enough to make Claire lose it. "Hey, pay attention," Toby said over the comm. "We're gonna be up to our eyes in TIE fighters as soon as Jim launches."
"Yeah, about that," he said as he dived to the side, barely avoiding Bular's furious slash. He used his momentum to go into a roll, grabbing vibroknife as he did. "There's no way I'm getting to an escape pod. So, uh, your target's going to be significantly smaller."
A muffled curse came from Toby. "Jimbo, you don't have a jetpack anymore."
"I don't see any other options, Tobes."
Claire interjected, saying, "What are you about to do?"
Jim jerked to the side to avoid the cleaver now planted in the hull of the ship. "I'm jumping out a window," he said, putting his knife through Bular's hand as he tried to pull the cleaver back out.
As the beast roared in pain, retracting back, Jim grabbed the hilt of the cleaver and pulled it out. While Bular was able to wield it with one hand, it was more of a two-handed sword for him. The bull-like alien yanked the knife out of his hand before snarling at Jim.
In response, Jim held up the cleaver. He just had to distract him long enough to get around him and find a window.
"You're going to what?" Claire yelled.
In response, Toby sighed. "This isn't the first time, but normally it's not a Star Destroyer. And normally he has a way of actually pushing himself through space!" The last part was directed at Jim.
He winced, then blocked an arm-numbing strike from Bular. "It'll be fine," he said lightly. "I believe in you, Tobes."
Grumbling was all that came over the comm. Jim used put a hand behind the blade of his cleavers, blocking another slice from Bular. He threw a quick horizontal slash, lamenting that he couldn't perform his usual brand of sword fighting. The alien drew back, just enough for Jim to spring through an opening. He rolled along the ground, pushing himself into a sprint.
As Bular was wont to do, he roared his anger to the whole ship, then rumbled after Jim. However, Jim already knew he was free. He tapped his helmet, activating the vacuum seal, then said to Toby, "About to breach."
"Already on our way. Try not to bring anyone else with you." He could hear Toby flicking switches as he spoke.
Skidding around a corner, Jim saw the window. A squad of stormtroopers was there, yelling for him to stop as they saw him. Savagely grinning behind his minor, Jim shielded his head with his arms and used as much of the force as he could to strengthen his legs.
One of the stormtroopers yelled when he realized what Jim was about to do, and he could hear Bular roar before something dug into the floor behind him and his quaking steps ceases.
Jim smashed straight through the window. The sudden vacuum gave a deafening roar as it propelled Jim out into the void even faster, carrying the screaming stormtroopers with him. As he spun, the Mandalorian caught a brief glimpse of Bular. Feeling a rush of victory, he saluted him as an Imperial would salute their superior. While he couldn't hear him, the way his maw gaped told Jim enough.
"I see you... That's a lot of stormtroopers. Might get a couple of them with you," Toby said.
Jim rolled his eyes, seeing the Havoc speeding towards him. "They're already dead, Tobes. Besides, we might be able to use the armor for other jobs."
The ship spun, presenting its back to Jim, just as the cargo bay doors opened. Jim braced for impact with the hull as he was swallowed. His breath exploded out of him as he came into contact with the wall, and Claire asked, "Jim? Are you okay?"
Artificial gravity turned back on, dropping a gasping Jim to the floor. "Yeah," he groaned. "Hitting a ship at that speed hurts a bit."
"You might want to brace again, Jimbo. There's a buttload of TIEs on our tail, and there's only going to be more coming out," Toby warned.
Jim rolled over and grabbed the bottom rung of the ladder that led to the rest of the ship. A moment later, the hull around him shuddered and a force pulled on him, but he held firm. The force passed, allowing him to breathe again.
"Another daring rescue by the greatest pilot this side of the galaxy." Toby's voice was smug. "So, how've you been, Jimbo?"
All the adrenaline that had been flowing through him had flushed out of his system. He could feel burns where the Death Troopers' blasters had hit his armor, and his whole body ached from the impact with the ship. He gave a low groan, slightly curling in on himself. "Lemme get back to you on that," he breathed.
"Jim? What's wrong?" He could hear Claire's voice through his comm, but it wasn't computing for some reason. Probably because of how tired he suddenly was.
The cargo room door opened, and Jim caught six blinking eyes staring down on him before he passed out.
"What happened to him? Is he okay?" Claire asked, grateful for something to take her mind off recent events.
Aaarrrgghh! had taken Jim to his room, where they all currently were. He was resting on his bed, his chest rising and falling every couple seconds. Blinky had pulled his helmet off and was feeling various parts of his body.
Blinky didn't take his eyes off Jim as he responded. "As you can see, Master Jim is much larger and stronger than humans. As such, he has a much faster and more demanding metabolism. It's been roughly a day since Jim entered the Star Destroyer, which means he is probably both starving and exhausted. Fortunately, this is not the first time this has happened, so we have the necessary equipment to help him. Aaarrrgghh!?"
The Wookie made a noise of acknowledgement. Blinky gestured towards Jim, saying, "I need you to lift him up so we can get his armor off. We need to get an IV in him and treat the burns that are no doubt decorating his back."
Aaarrrgghh! nodded, grabbing Jim's shoulders and lifting him into a sitting position. Blinky lifted up his left arm with both of his right arms, unbuckling the armor with his free arms. He gave Claire a look, and asked, "Well? Aren't you going to help?
"What? Oh, um, yeah!" Claire got on his other side, putting his right arm over her shoulder so she could get at the armor under it.
They worked in silence for a moment before they were able to pull off all the armor on his torso, and Blinky grabbed the body glove under it and pulled. It came apart at the neck, and Claire's face instantly went red.
'Holy shab,' she thought. 'He's shredded. And really, really, scarred.'
Jim's body was muscular in a lithe way. There was no fat to hide anything, leaving all his muscles completely exposed. However, there were burn marks all over his body. Some of them didn't even look like blaster marks; they were extraordinarily long burn scars, as if a blaster had grazed along the length of his torso.
"Claire?" Shocked out of her staring, she looked up at Blinky, who gave the impression of a raised eyebrow. "Are you quite done? We need to treat him."
"Uh, y-yeah. I'm good." Her face felt like it was on fire.
Blinky nodded to Aaarrrgghh!, who gently turned over Jim's body to lie on its side. Claire winced at the circular burns on his back. "How can he take blaster bolts straight on?" she asked, already reaching for the disinfectant.
"Beskar, or Mandalorian iron, is an extremely strong material. It is able to completely resist lightsabers, and blaster bolts will do nothing more than heat it. However, skin generally does not stand up well against heat. Usually, the only way to kill a Mandalorian is either to aim for the weak spots or cook them inside their armor," Blinky said, slipping into teaching mode as they worked together.
"Why would you know how to kill a Mandalorian?" Claire asked. She picked up a bacta bandage, opening it and smoothing it over the burn on his right shoulder.
"Why, the Mandalorian Wars, of course. I had to teach the Jedi younglings how to defeat their enemies with their new lightsabers."
"You're a Jedi droid?" Claire's voice was incredulous. "I didn't know they used droids to teach."
"Most do not. Besides, there are only a very small mount of us left by now. Only I and Professor Huyang were left by the end of the Clone Wars, and I doubt Huyang's continued existence," Blinky said somberly.
Aaarrrgghh! warbled from the corner. Blinky said something back to him in his guttural tongue, then gently turned Jim to lay on his back. "Now for the IV. Aaarrrgghh!, if you could retrieve the fluids from the cargo bay?"
He roared in acknowledgement, leaving them alone. Claire stared at Jim's sleeping face, marveling at how peaceful he seemed. Running her fingers along his face, she tucked some of his hair behind his ear and smiled.
"You care for him, don't you?" Blinky asked.
"I… don't really know. I thought I did, back when I was just a barista at his favorite café. Now, I see everything he does, and he's not really who I thought he was. Not in a bad way, though. I think he's actually better," she said. "But I don't know him. And he doesn't know me. Not yet."
A mechanical hand rested on her shoulder. Blinky's flickering eyes stared into hers, and he said, "There's plenty of time for that, do not worry. I will warn you, though, Jim's past is brutal, complicated, and filled with trials and tribulations. He may hide much of it, thinking it a burden on others. You will need to be patient with him if you desire any sort of relationship with him, friendship or otherwise."
She smiled at him. "Thank you, Blinky. I'll keep that in mind."
Aaarrrgghh! walked back through the door, carrying poles and bags of fluid. He rumbled at them, and Blinky grabbed a pole in each arm and began to assemble a stand. Claire took the back and needle from him, ripping open the bag it was in before attaching it to the fluid bag. She waited for Blinky to hang it from the stand before feeling the inside of his elbow.
Finding a vein, she took the needle and poked it. Then blinked and poked harder. "Why is the needle not going in?"
"Master Jim's people have a much hardier body than most, Claire. You will need to apply a great deal of pressure to break through."
She nodded, then took the needle with both hands and pushed. It took her several seconds, but eventually it sank in. Blinky tapped a button on the IV wire, beginning the transfer. Flipping open a scanner to make sure that it was working properly, the droid nodded to himself, then said, "Perhaps we should let Master Jim rest now. I will be alerted when he awakes."
"I'll be right out, Blinky. Just give me a moment," she said.
Blinky and Aaarrrgghh! walked out, letting the door shut behind them. The room was only dimly lit, but that didn't stop Claire.
Ever since she had walked in, there had been a whisper at the back of her mind. As if something was calling to her, telling her that it was there. As quietly as she could, Claire opened Jim's bedside cabinet.
Resting in front of her was a long black metal cylinder, the length of her forearm. She picked it up, hefting it slightly. It had a strange weight to it, and its touch brought a feeling of rightness. It was armored in places, claws coming from what she assumed to be the top. Her hand brushed against a button as she felt around it. Curious, she pressed down on it.
A round, glowing black blade sprung from the hole between the claws with a snap-hiss. Claire's eyes widened. She pressed the button again, watching as the blade disappeared with a hum. Staring at the lightsaber, her mind going a thousand miles an hour, she recalled earlier when he had defended the Jedi. Putting two and two together, the honors student realized what it meant.
Jim was a Jedi.
Up next: Claire and Jim have a chat, and Claire learns that she has a much greater potential than she originally thought.