Chapter 1: Arakh Krar

Aboard the Fensk

13:07:16 GrS (22 BBY)

Sitting in the cockpit passenger seat of the Fensk, Arakh Krar, yawned in boredom.

His Spynet handler, pilot, and friend of sorts, Captain Asir Kroy'lya, shot him an angry look, her variegated cream and brown fur standing stiffly in fury. The odd Jedi-style beads in her mane poked up like totem poles.

The Fensk was an AEG-77 Vigo Gunship named after one of Asir's ex-boyfriends; some Bothan named 'Fen.'

"Zų?" ["What?"] Arakh growled in Bothese, stretching out his lanky black furred Defel arms.

"We have our orders," Asir snarled in Basic, clearly unhappy with her orders.

Great. She's responding in Basic, Arakh thought. She must be really ticked off. "What's the—"

"—We were just ordered to kill someone, and you yawn in boredom," Asir snarled, activating the hyperdrive.

Oh, Arakh thought to himself. Yeah. That. More Bothan yammering. "Um… Indeed?"

Asir sighed as she pulled the Hyperdrive lever. Streaking stars illuminated the cockpit for a moment, then were replaced with an eerie blue. "You know, if you want to rile me up so bad, you can sleep on the couch tonight. It's twelve hours in hyperspace till we reach the location of the beacon."

The beacon, Arakh scowled at the Bothan vagueness. Mok Tarkin's tracking device you mean… Wait… sleep on the couch? "You know Asir. I still have my own room."

The Fensk did have two bedrooms. However, Arakh had not slept in his since the second night he was assigned to Asir.

Asir's eyes flashed dangerously.

"I am sorry. I'm sorry!" Arakh growled pleadingly. "Look, I feel really bad about our mission too," he lied.

o.o.o.o.o

Arakh, codenamed Vishkul ['Lime-Green,'] was the Spynet's most unique asset. The thirty-year old Defel decided to go with the Bothans after the first vessel from another world landed on his Outer Rim home world.

After detecting high quantities of Lithium on the surface of a Gas Dwarf, Af'El, a Bothan Clan Afon scout ship landed on the surface. To their surprise, amidst the atmospheric pressure twice Bothawui's or Coruscant's (equivalent to the pressure 10 meters underwater), they found a species of long-armed Near-Bothans called Defels.

These Defels proved to be far more interesting than Lithium. While Bothan fur swirled, twirled, stood on end, and fell flat, Defel fur did something altogether more amazing. It allowed Defels to become invisible whenever they wanted.

Not wanting a repeat of Dressel, the Galactic Republic was quick to act. Af'El was declared a Legacy World, and Republic oversight was instated to regulate any and all communications between the Bothans and the Defels. Unbeknownst to the Republic however, one Defel had decided to leave his home and was already aboard a ship bound for Thoran. Clan Afon brought their new Defel, Arakh, to Kamino and attempted to Clone Bothan-Defel hybrids—more specifically, anatomically normal Bothans with the ability to go invisible.

For reasons no one understood, all of the hybrid clones came out of the tubes with some sort of Clone Madness and had to be terminated. After that bit of unfortunateness, Clan Afon went for a new strategy and hired Arakh to be their resident Defel sperm doner. Over a five-year period, more than 5,000 Defel-Bothan hybrids were born from Arakh's samples in the cryobank. All of them were born with short snouts and extremely lanky arms—none of them suffered from the same ailments that afflicted the Clones, but unfortunately, none of them were born with the ability to go invisible.

Then, a year ago, while Arakh was sitting around doing nothing, a Spynet Lieutenant Asir Kro'lya hypothesised that what had happened was due to something called 'the Force.' She came from a community of outspoken Clan Alya Bothans on Krant associated with the Jedi Church of the Force. According to her, the Kaminoan Cloning process failed because Defels have an innate ability to quote 'use the Force,' and this created some sort of 'double-presence.'

While the Spynet and Arakh remained highly sceptical, some of her theories seemed to hold up. After following her instructions in guided meditation, Arakh found his cloaking skills had vastly improved. His record improved from two hours invisible to more than five.

The Spynet promoted Asir to Captain and gave her Arakh. She then changed her surname to Kroy'lya to reflect her accomplishment; an accomplishment Arakh never quite understood himself.

While thoroughly confused as to his role, his position as an asset within the Spynet, Asir's constant rambling about the Force, and the guided meditations, Arakh found working with her to be sometimes tedious, but more often engaging. Far more engaging than selling his genetic material to the Cloners or the cryobank.

o.o.o.o.o

Despite having only one night before the commencement of an extreme termination mission, Asir ordered Arakh to the meditation chamber.

Asir sat with her legs crossed, reading a dusty-smelling old flimsiplast tome. On its front, the fancy golden symbol Arakh often saw on many of her possessions; the symbol of the Jedi Order.

Across from Asir, Arakh was quite the sight to behold. A viewer would have only seen an empty grey and black flight-suit, completely hollow, sitting cross-legged as if someone were occupying it.

His invisible snout bore an impatient scowl.

"Arakh," Asir said calmly, "I want you to relax."

Arakh never quite understood how Asir was always able to determine his emotional state, even when he was invisible. Something-something-force, he thought bitterly to himself, his invisible scowl turning into an invisible toothy snarl.

The first week he met Asir, she had explained to him that she wasn't able to use the Force, however, she could quote 'feel' it. Whatever the kriff that means.

"I am not upset with you," Asir growled consolingly, then switched to Bothese, growling in happy praise. "Tona woks za tolsk." ["You are doing great."]

The thoroughly manipulated Defel calmed down at the praise.

Asir looked back at her book and turned the page.

Arakh began to feel impatient once more, but his expression remained neutral.

"Arakh. I feel that you are upset that I am not focusing on you," she said in a calm, non-judgemental tone. "I want you to try and reach out to me. See what I am feeling. Empathy. Like last time. I know you can do it. Then we can finish for the day."

Empathy… More yammering, Arakh thought. The mischievous Defel reached his lanky arm out; the sleeve of the empty flight-suit moved, seemingly on its own.

Looking up from her book, Asir scowled, her purple and golden-speckled eyes narrowed.

Silly little Bothan—I can reach out, Arakh thought, struggling to hold in a laugh. He ran his long fat Defel fingers through her cream-coloured mane, mussing her fur. Catching a string of beads between his thumb and pointer finger, Arakh jiggled it around.

Asir's fur stiffened, becoming far more difficult to play with. She uttered an impatient "hmmm?" but did not otherwise react angrily.

Feeling suddenly immature, Arakh withdrew his invisible hand. ["Sorry Asir,"] he growled in Bothese.

["It's all right,"] Asir sighed. ["I know you have some empathy issues—at least for Bothan standards. We've never met another one your people. Part of what's stopping you from increasing your potential, is that you don't reach out to anyone else very often. Let the Force flow through you. You need to—"]

Blah blah Force, Arakh thought to himself.

As the Bothan's spell over him broke, as usual, the Defel zoned out entirely. Damn I wish Asir would let me drink before these sessions. An Adumari beer? That'd really help me relax. Hell getting smashed from an Accarrgm before the Force monotony? That would be amazing!