Children of the Force
By: Bria Raltin


If there was anything Kat hated more than an Imperial it was a soft-hearted Imperial. She had to admit that you didn't run into many of those but she had the galaxy against her and it was just her luck to find one such Imp.

It wasn't that she was a rebel or anything. No, far from it. She was too much of a loner and to little a joiner. Besides, being a bounty hunter didn't exactly make you the most populer specimen in the galaxy and especially with the rebels. There was always some price on the head of some freedom loving fool. And it usually fell to her to capture the creature. Hey, she had to eat and had a ship that needed repairs. Especially after her last encounter.

Kat's green eyes narrow in the dark cantina. After reading the price the repairs to her ship would be she had needed a drink. Repairs...... 100,000 credits worth. Kat wasn't that sucessful of a bounty hunter to spare 100,000 credits. She sighs as yet another patron of the cantina comes up to her and offers her their company for the night. Being a female in a cantina like this was dangerous. But Kat wasn't known to back away from danger. She needed the drink, and the information.Finally! Kat's informant enters the cantina and his beady eyes flick around in his head. The sullstans wern't known to be bounty hunters, nor were many of them on the wrong side of the law, but this little guy had information that could prove invaluable to her search for the acursed Imp.

Kat saunters up to the Sullstan. His head snaps up and he warbles in his own language. Kat furrows her brows and shakes him violently.

"Speak Basic!I'm not paying for information that I can't understand!" She whispers harshly.

The Sullstan took a deep breath and tried to calm down. His attempt was so obvious Kat knew he hadn't been in the business long.

"I am sorry. For the information you request.." He leans in closer to her and she takes a finger and pushes him away, disgused. He leans back.

"3000 credits."

"What!"Kat jumps up but settles herself down quickly at the look then other patrons gave her.

"What!" she whispers. " 3000 credits! I don't even know if the information you have is worth 1!" she starts to reach for her blaster in anger, but the Sullstan shrinks back in his seat and warbles again.

"The information you request means the life or death of many, Hunter. A small price cannot be out on a life." Kat leans closer and puts her elbows on the dank table. "Alright, impress me. I've already wasted precious time. Talk, now."

The Sullstan nods once quickly then takes a nervous look around."One a cold world, one of many mysteries, you will find a row of 7 , a guard among them , when together they are powerful , when alone they are meek, tread carefully down the dark path to find them , for it is your soul you may seek." The Sullstan sounded as if he were reciting some other's words and Kat reaches over and grasps his shirt.

" Do not toy with me little man, i have a job to do." But the Sullstan shook his head quickly,

"I do not toy, hunter. This was told to me by one powerful." He wriggles out of her grasp and adjusts his shirt. "The world is one well known to few. But I have faith you will find it, hunter, and when you do may the Force help you make the right decision as I believe i have not." He reaches out his hand for the credits and Kat hands them to him.

"Leave, your information is as good as usless, do not seek me out again."

The Sullstan hurries off and left the small woman to ponder his words.

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Kat breathes heavily as she walks to her ship. Getting all the supplies she would need for a cold world had not been easy on Tatooine. But Kat, of course, got them. Suddenly, Kat found herself flying through the air and yelled out as her pack did a flip in the air and 70 pounds of equipment lands on top of her. She struggles underneath it until someone lifts it off her. Angerly, she jumps up and reaches for her blaster. A calloused hand grabs hers first and she tries to get out of the grasp.

"Let go! Let go!" She struggles.

"Hush. I need to speak with you, Hunter." The mysterious person drags her into a dark corner of the street and Kat screams once. Another hand is put over her mouth fast and Kat can't bite it. The grasp the man had on her was too tight and she felt helpless and embaressed. The man holds her against the side of a building.

"If I relase you will you speak with me and not run away?" Kat could barely nod, what else could she do? The man releases her and Kat sinks to the ground panting, then glares up at the shadow.

"What do you want?" The man crouches down near her, yet still in the shadows. He dwarfed her, as many creatures did. She was small , but that only gave her an advantage over her opponents , catching them offguard.

"I have heard of your requests for information about a certain Imperial Royal Guard." Kat takes a deep breath. Had she been that careless? Her emerald eyes flash even in the dark and try to make out the shadowy man.

"And I suppose you have information you'd be willing to sell to me?" She asks in a low, whispery voice.

"No."

"Then why did you bring me here?" Kat's voice betrays a hint of fear and confusion.

"I have come to warn you away from this pursuit, Hunter." He stays in the shadows and his voice betrays no emotion. A cold wind enters the alley and blows his clothes. Kat assumes he's wearing robes, and she shivers at the temperature. She should be safe and warm in her ship by now, debating which cold world she should visit first.

"Why?"

"There is a great danger. And things that you are not prepared to deal with." Kat gives a growl at that.

"I am a Bounty Hunter, stranger. Now leave me before I blow a hole through your skull." She slips her small blaster from her wrist holster and points it to his head. The man's voice coems back, still emotionless, it reminds her of the great Hunter, Boba Fett.

"It seems as if I have underestimated your abilities, Hunter. Alright, I shall leave, but prepare for the worst and you still will not be ready for what you will encounter. A great many questions may be awnsered, awnsers you never were meant to have. I take my leave." A rustling of cloaks was the only indication Kat had of the man leaving. She stands up and brushes herself off. She would have to be observant from now on. Now, back to were her supplies were, hopefully they hadn't been stolen by now.

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"Ah! Why does there have to be so many cold worlds in this blasted galaxy!" Kat exclaimed. She was sitting at a table in her ship, looking through a database of worlds. All she had as a clue to which world it could be, was a riddle from a nervous Sullstan. "One a cold world, one of many mysteries, you will find a row of 7 , a guard among them , when together they are powerful , when alone they are meek, tread carefully down the dark path to find them , for it is your soul you may seek." What he meant by that she had no idea.

A row of seven....a row of seven....where had she heard that line before? The knowing yet not knowing ate at her and she was about to be driven crazy.

"A row of....Thats it! i've got it!" Kat jumps up in excitment. "A row of seven! A row of seven leads to seven dunes. Seven dunes lead to seven doors. Seven doors lead to seven treasures in the great land of Alderran." It was a Bounty Hunter verse that had been passed down for a year now. No one knew where it had come from and many had searched for the treasure that was said to be on the peacful planet. Kat herself, in her foolishness, has searched for the treasure. There were seven dunes, but no doors. An old wives tale probebly. But this was the first lead she had! And she was going to use it.

In the mountains of Aldderan, well, if nothing else, she could have a good alderanaain ale. Kat ran to the cockpit, her boots metallic sounding. She jumps into the pilot seat and brings up the computer."Computer, online."

"Yes Kat? I was having a nice sleep until you came barging in here like you had seen a ghost." Kat grins. She had saved up a lot of money to get Essi installed. And more often then not she was a bit cranky. On the long hyperspace jumps it seemed as if Essi were really here and Kat could imagine the pampered droid with painted fingernails complaining that Kat interrupted her beauty sleep once again. Kat wondered who had programmed her and at times wished she could shoot him.

"Sorry Essi, but we're on our way to big credits!"

"You always say that."Essi complains." and then I get all excited and go as fast as i can and by the time we get there some other hunter has found the prize or it was just a rumor. I don't want to go." Essi sounds as if shes pouting. Kat just laughs.

"Power up Essi. We're going to Alderran" she laughs again as Essi groans but sets to work.

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Kat had been excited when she had found that the Imperial would be on Alderran. They were offering 200,000 credits. Which she didn't believe to be enough for an Imperial Guard, but she needed the money. Her one worry was that she wouldn't be able to handle him. But Fett had taught her a few tips. He had said she was too impulsive and acted before thinking too much. He didn't say a lot. But she was grateful to him. Kat frowns as she studies data on the Guard. One thing Fett taught her, know more about the enemy then the enemy knows about you. Simple enough ,right? Not. It only worked if there were avalible information on the subject. And information on an Imperial Royal Guard was not that easy to come by. The few things she did find did not tell her a lot about the man's personality. Something she desperatly needed to know.

Name : Kennard Sol

HomeWorld : Coruscant

Age : 21

Background : Unknown

Nothing at all. And this information, what little there was, was roughly 3 years old. She sighs in experation and throws the datapad across the room and curls up in a ball on her seat. Sometimes things got too difficult. Her short blond hair makes a veil across her face and she falls asleep. A small ac made wind blows it off her face. And Kat smiles in her sleep. Essi makes a mechanical sigh. This Hunter, so fierce and yet so naive.

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"KAT....heeeey KAT. WAKE UP, WE'RE HERE!" Essi's voice made Kat's ears ring and she sats up quickly.

"Brings us out of hyper Essi at my mark." She runs to the cockpit and straps herself into the seat. "One, two, three," She puts her hand on the lever, "Mark!"

The elongated stars of hyperspace became smnall specks once again and a brilliant rotating orb floated before Kat. She smiled. Somewhere down there was the Imp that was going to get her big credits....somewhere.

"Pretty." Essi's voice inturrupted her thoughts and she set about contacting flight control.

" Flight Control, this is Kat Katel of Essi's Breath, requesting permission to land." Kat sits back in her seat and takes a deep breath. This was always one of the most tense parts. Although Bounty Hunters wern't outlaws, they were very rarely welcomed on any planet. and she was right.

"Essi's Breathe, Flight Control." A reluctant, stiff voice came on. " Proceed to the given corrdinates. If you deviate you will be disintergrated." Kat gives a short laugh.

"I understand Flight Control. Essi's Breathe out." She switches off the comm and says to Essi. "And I thought Alderranians were supposed to be peaceful." Essi chuckled at that on their way down to the city Aldera. Kat leans back and Essi glides into a docking bay.

"Well here we are Kat. Now I suppose your going to go off on your silly adventures and leave me again." Essi sounded as bored as possible.

"You got that right Essi." Kat said as she straps a small holdout blaster to her wrist holster again. No weapons on Alderran. She grins. Well, none that they could see. Kat wasn't going after an Imperial Guard, naked of weapons. Uh uh, nooo way. She opens the hatch but looks back.

"Now lock the hatch after I'm gone and don't let anyone in unless it's me."

"And no talking or taking candy from strangers right mommy?" Essi's voice comes back. Kat smiles fondly at her ship.

"Thats right." She walks off the ship and hears the hatch close and lock behind her. She breaths in the fresh air and a slight breeze stirs her hair. "Mmmmm...."

"Nice, isn't it?" A light voice sounds from behind her. Kat twirls around, resisting the urge to take her blaster out. A small brown-haired women stood there. In flowing robes suited to the city of Alder, her whole look cried out peacful to Kat. Kat managed a smile.

"Yes, very. It's my first time here." Trying to be cordial, she offers her hand and the woman takes it. Her grasp surprisingly strong.

"And Bail Organa keeps the streets safe for us." The woman's musical voice said."We have nothing to fear, except from outsiders. And the ocassional mishief maker." The woman gives Kat a hard stare. Kat stares back too.

"I have no intent on harming a citizen of Alderran or anyone else. I just wish to see the sights i assure you." The woman nods and turns away, clearly wanting to say more, but then disappears around the stone arch and out of the docking bay.

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Kat rented a landspeeder to check out the area surrounding Aldera. Aldera was no where near the mountains but Kat needed to gather as much information as she could. Then she could fly Essi there. Good for quick escapes and loading of prisoners. A smile plays across Kat's lips. She was so close. A shiver runs up her spine and she slows the landspeeder down and stops in the middle of a vast field. She gets out and looks around. Bright blue sky, long grasses swaying in the wind. It takes her breath away. Kat leans against the landspeeder and drinks in her surroundings. She wished Essi could see this. Though she would probebly complain about the bugs getting into her systems, Kat thought with a chuckle. Her emerald eyes

close and her lashes rest against her skin. The slight breeze rustles her hair and Kat feels more at peace then she ever had before. Here, it felt so...magical. No, that was stupid, but it did feel differnt somehow. She looked at her wristchrono. It was almost supper time. She had better get back. Essi would whin if she wasn't home in time to check her systems. She opens the door to the landspeeder and puts on leg in, then feels a flash of pain run up her spine and engulf her into darkness.

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Kat awoke a while later. A pounding in her head. She groans and sits up. Shivering at the cold against her skin. Kat looks around but the surrounding area is so dark she can't see her hand in front of her face. Kat's heart starts to pound rapidly. She hated small dark places. Her hand touches cold rock and she gives a sigh. Kat lifts herself up onto her knees and cries out in pain. She reaches down and touches her knee-cap and her hand comes off sticky. Great, just great. All I wanted to do was take in a little scenery..... Kat thinks while she fumes. Suddenly , a long, slimy think slithers over her hand and she screams. Then, her whole body is engulfed in these creatures and she screams as she tries to pull them off. They climb through her hair and she feels as if she is being sucked of energy. A sudden burst of light nearly blinds her and her last vision before she blacks out is of a flowing red cape.

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He sees the Hunter's face. Terrified. He sees the reason for her terror and his instincts immediatly kick in. He rishes over to the woman and brings out his glowrod. Running it over the length of her body. The creatures crawl off of the hutner and move as fast as they can away from her body and the light. He looks down and brings a booted foot down onto one of the creatures. He steps over the corpes and stands over the woman. Her hair spreads out around her and softens her face. He reaches down and picks up her small frame in his arms. Wrapping his cloak around her body he steps over the creatures. He could feel how drained of energy she was and with one more flourish of his cloak he walks out of the cave.

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Kat awoke once again but this time with a blinding light in her eyes. She was in her landspeeder. Was it just a dream? Kst wasin't sure. But she DID know that Essi was gonna kill her if she didn't get back to the ship in time to refill the tanks pf coolant. Kat sits up and starts the engines. The grinding noise that follows does not encourage her. She sits back in the seat and slams her palms down on the wheel hard.

"Sithspit why can't anything ever go right?" She yells into the air. A burst of cool air washes over her and she takes a deep breath to calm down. Anger wouldn't get her anywhere. She had to think. This wasn't the worst situation. She was just stranded in the middle of nowhere......Ack.

"Are you alright child?" A soothing voice comes from behind her. Kat jumps and spins around. An old man with a kind face stands there in long flowing purple robes. She calms herself down.

"Hello Sir. I was just enjoying the scenery and now my landspeeder won't start." She puts on an innocent face and the man smiles sympatheticly.

"Those cheap things. Should have bought one of your own dear. But I'll see if I can help you." Kat gives him a helpless smile and he walks over to the speeder."Mmmm.....poor dear. Ah yes. Well, It seems as if I shall have to drive you to Aldera. They can send someone here to pick up the landspeeder for you." Kat smiles.

"Thats very kind of you sir but---"

"No, no, I insist. The streets are not safe for a pretty young thing such as yourself. Even on our wonderful Alderran." His face turns serious."I absolutly insist."

From the tone of his voice Kat knew it was useless to agrue. She steps out of her speeder and walks up to the old man. She stands beside him, not even reaching his chin. He opens the door and a huge burst of air makes his cloaks billow out behind him. "This way child." He extends his hand and takes Kat's small one into his own large calloused hand and helps her into the speeder.She slides onto the cushioned seat and settles herself as he slides in next to her.

"This is really very kind of you Mr--?"

"Deimos."

"....Mr Deimos." She gives him a huge smile, although inside something nagged at the back of her mind. Something about that name.....She'd have to have Essi check on it as soon as she got back to her. Sithspit, Essi was going to be mad! It was long past the time when the coolant should be replaced and Essi would probebly start whining about her landing gear growing into the ground. Kat almost laughed out loud at that. Essi was so much like a being that Kat almost forgot she wasn't alive. Although, maybe she was. In some way. Kat didn't want to get into that. The more she thought the more it hurt to realize her only friend wasn;t alive, How pathetic was that?

"......the theatre of Alderranian Opera."The man continues. Kat snaps to attention and pasts a fake smile on her face.

"Thats very interesting Sir. But I believe, that if we are going to get to Alder we should hurry." The man stares at her, as if just breaking out of a trance.

"Ah, yes, sorry my dear. Here now." He opens the door to his landspeeder and helps her into it. She slides into the seat and waits for him to get in. He sits and starts up the engine. Glancing at her in the now dimming light.

"You still have a weak heart in you hunter." His eyes narrow and Kat stares at him in surprise.\

"Wh-what? Who...?" the man just smirks.

"Some things are not always as they appear. Just remember that my dear, and you will be fine. Now, to get you to the Star Slicer...."

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When Kat was dropped off back at the star Slicer, even Essi's scolding couldn't snap her out of her fear. Essi immediatly recognized somthing was wrong and the a.c in the ship turned on and the smell of spicy corellian food floated through the air from the direction of the kitchen, comforting Kat.

"Boss, something the matter?" Essi's voice betrays her worriedness. Kat can't help but smile at it

"Everythings fine Essi. I just, well, I have a lot of things to think about. Hey,I need you to look up any info you can find on the name Deimos. Anything, Imperial, Republic, private records, the works. Got that?"

"Got it boss. Now. you go get some sleep. I can't work and worry about you at the same time." Kat could detect a hint of amusement in her voice and sighs gratfully.

"Thanks Es. I'll be in my room if ya need me." She stands and runs a hand through her short hair. Her boots clicking across the metal floor. She collapses on her bed, falling instantly asleep.

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"hellllooooooooo? Boooooooossssss.......waaaky waaaky waaaaakkky...." Essi's voice yelled, seemingly by Kat's ear. Kat groans, rolls over, and swats at the voice. "Nice try Boss. hehe. You missed. Now WAKE UP!" Kat sits straight up, instantly. Her bangs falling into her face, making it impossible to see, she looks around groggily.

"What happened?" Essi's choked laughter sounded in her ear, till Kat came fully awake. She angerily brushes her hair away and starts pulling her boots on her feet. "Report."

] "Well, I searched through evvveeeeerrry database i could find. I used all my circuits, and let me tell you, it was NOT easy. I mean, sifting through datafile after data-"

Kat holds up a hand."The point comin anytime soon?"

Essi snorts. " In Alderranian, it means Terror." Kat jumps up.

"I knew it sounded familer! Thanks Es."

"no prob Boss, uh, what exactly does that mean?"

Kat stops in her tracks."I'm not sure, but I know it'll pop its ugly little head up somewhere. Now, power up your repulsorlifts, contact control, and I'll be in the cockpit on the double."

"Consider it done Kat."

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Kat races into the cockpit just in time to hear, "Control."

She slides into her seat."Control, this is the Star Slicer, requesting permission to take off in an international flight."

The bored-sounding voice answered " Proceed. Control out."

Kat turns off the comm. "Essi, get us out of here. We're going to the poles." She sifts through data. " Looks like the only place said to have mounds, is the south pole. So, take us there first, oh, and Essi, power up all weapons systems."

"Done. You expecting trouble boss?"

"Is there ever no trouble wherever we go Essi?"

"Point taken. We should be coming up on the south pole of Alderran in exactly 5 mins and 38 seconds Boss."

"Thanks...Essi...." Kat stares off into the white peaked mountains of Alderran. Somewhere out there, was the rogue Imperial guard who was going to make her a fortune. Then, Essi and her, they'd be livin big. Not having to worry about Imperial or Rebel, good or bad, just...peace.

"Boss, we're over the pole, ya wanna...oh, i don't know...land?" Essi's voice breaks through her thoughts and she snaps to attention." Uh..what?"

"Daydreamin again Kat?" Essi teases.

"Quiet and prepare landing." Kats fingers fly over the board."Prepare to shut off repulsorlifts in ...five.....four.....three....." She guides the ship closer to the ground. Powdery snow billows around her and she instintivly narrows her eyes. " Three......two.....one! Shut off, now!" The lifts whine as Essi shuts them down. Kat scowls as her fingers grip the chair, she had forgotten to strap herself in...again. "Careful with my ship Essi! " She stands and walks to the door. opening it and lowering the gangway. Harsh wind whips around her clothes, making her squint. She steps out and freezes instantly.....to the sound of children's laughter.

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Kat stands there, motionless. The sweet musical laughter echos off the seven dunes. Kat's emerald eyes flicker over the snow-covered plains, searching desperatly for the children, not knowing why it bothered her so much. In an instant, a flash of light races past Kat's eyes. Her heart pounding in her chest, she steps forward.

"Hello? Whos there?" Kat's voice sounds hollow in her own ears and she scowls at the noise it makes as it too echos. The laughter increases and mingled with it she can hear, clearly, a mans voice.

"Cammy, Children, back to your rooms, prepare for training."

"But Master, we wish to continue playing!" A young voice protests, Kat perks her ears, trying to pinpoint the location of the noise.

"No buts, child, now be off." The voice was gruff but underneath, Kat could detect a hint of affection. Now where in the galaxy were they? Flickers of light race past her eyes again and she squints at one of the dunes, her breath catching in her throat. Somehow, they were cloaking the door! Why hadn't anyone thought of that before? Kat steps off the platform, her boots soaking through the piles of snow. She walks towards the first dune, her boots crunching in the hard snow, kat rubs her hands together, already they were becoming numb.

"Here children...." Kat whispers under her breath. The bounty was as good as hers. She couldn't understand why there were children involved, but the man was no doubt Sol. Who else would be hiding in dunes? Kat reaches the dune and extends her hand, brushing snow off a part of it, the snow shimmers as her fingertips touch it. She was right! Now..if she could just...ah, yes, there. Her fingers bump against a control panel. Immediatly,a section of the shield parted, revealing the control panel clearly to her. Kat bits her lower lip as she studies it. If this guard was as smart as rumored, then one mistake would bring some sort of security measure down upoun her. she shivers to think of what a former Imperial Guard could think of to keep unwanted visitors out.

Suddenly, a large hand closes around her shoulder, spinning her around and pinning her against the dune. She was face to face, with a red mask.

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She was here again. She had not heeded his warnings. As soon as he had released his grip she had lashed out at him. It took only one jab of his forcepike for her to fall to the ground, gazing up at him through her fur-rimmed parka with pain-filled emerald eyes. He almost felt sorry for doing it, almost. He grabs her slender wrist and pulls her up.

"Why did you come?" his deep voice asks, he inserts a touch of annoyance. The woman scowls at him and reaches for her blaster, he stops her just in time, she was fast. Faster than the others.

"I've come for you Sol. Theres a heafty bounty on your head. I need it, and i'm going to get it." Her voice and manner showed confidence, but he could sense the turmoil in her. He admired her determination though, all the others had withered under his gaze.

"Now that you have found me Hunter--" His threat was cut off midsentance by a shriek. He drops her wrist quickly, his fingers punching in the combination, grabbing her arm, and pulling her into the dune, all before she could react.

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"HEY! What was that for?" Kat yells at him as she falls to the floor. Her eyes blazing. Inside the dune it was warm, but she shivers as the cold lingers in her bones. A child comes racing out to them, a look of terror on her face.

"Master, Master, they've COME!" The child grabs his hand and starts to pull him away, she freezes as soon as she sees Kat. Her eyes narrow and she looks up at the Imperial Guard.

"Master?"

"Cammy, let me introduce you to Hunter Katrina Katel." He pulls her up and she protests bitterly at the pain in her wrist.

The child barely registered her existence. "Master, they have come. The Imperials. Our scanners show 10 whole squads coming out way!" Her small arms open to indicate the numbers. The Imperial glances at Kat.

"We are taking your ship. Cammy, prepare the--" Kat cuts him off.

"You will NOT take my ship!" She can feel his hard stare, even through the helmet, the child seems to hold her breath and watch him intently.

"We will take your ship, with or without you Hunter." His cold voice bounces off the walls of the cave, filling her with dread. She shakes her head hard, causing the parka to slip off her head.

"You can't, my---"

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"...ship is droid programmed. She will only respond to me." Momentarily distracted by her hair spilling out around her shoulders he doesn't register what is said for a few seconds. He gives an sigh, and looks down to Cammy.

"Cammy, go to the other children and prepare to leave. Go now." He watches as the child races off, then turns back to Kat.

"But didn't you hear what I said? You CAN'T use my ship..." She grins at him cockily. He feels a touch of anger and surpresses it. This Hunter had no idea what she was dealing with.

"I know what you said, Hunter. But..I am willing to make a deal with you." He releases his hold on her and steps back."

"I'm listening." She crosses her arms and watches him.

"Instruct the ship to fly the children to a safe place,and after I see that they are safe, I will allow myself to be taken as a bounty for you." He didn't allow his voice to betray his fear.The hunter stares at him, incredously.

"You've got yourself a deal Sol!" She reaches out to shake his hand but he pulls away.

"The children will be at your ship in ten standard minuetes. Have the ship ready to take off.

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In exactly ten standard hours, Kat watches as a procession of seven children, led by a red-cloaked Imperial Guard,exits the dune, seemingly out of mid-air, and walks towards her ship.

"Ok, Essi, you know what ya gotta do, right?" She asks, her eyes fixated on them.

"No duh, yeah Boss. Take 'em wherever I'm told, and await further instructions. OoOo...haaard." Kat rolls her eyes.

"Right. Now, here they come." She extends the ramp and a blast of cold air enters the ship, followed by the eight newcomers. Kat meets them in the dining area.

"Good. Right on time. Where do you want Essi to take them? All I have to do is program the coordiantes into the nav computer and you can be on your way." The imperial extends his hand and slips a piece of paper into the palm.She looks down at it and reads the name, Camaas, followed by a bunch of numbers. She quickly looks up at him.

"Camaas? But..I thought..." He raises a hand to stop her.

"This is new-Camaas.No one knows about it, and no one will, not until they have had a chance to re-populate, regain their numbers, and allow the galaxy to sort out their horrors, alone." His expressionless voice answers.

Kat nods and punches the data into the computer."Alright..C-Camaas it is then. Here Children, Essi has prepared you a real feast." She watches as the seven children dig into the food Essi had set out on the table.The imperal gives a nod then turns to walk away. A red-headed one looks up at them.

"Master...you.are not coming?" Sol shakes his head.

"Your lifes fall on a different path then mine, padawans. Force-willing, we shall meet again. But there is little you can do to change what must be. Eat now, and sleep, and you shall be well taken care of." The boy's eyes fill with tears, but at his master's bidding he turns around and continues to eat with the others.

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Kat falls out the door of the ship, carrying a heavy pack on her back, she trudges up to where the guard was standing. Staring out at the horizen. She stands next to him.

"I don't understand why we have to stay here..."

"We must."

"But WHY?" Kat protests. The guard towers above her by at least 5 inches, she glances up at him, hating the fact that she couldn't see his face.

"I must fight, I must protect this place, and stand against the Imperials. It is not for you to understand. You may leave. It is questionable if i will survive."

Kat shakes her head fiercly." Your worth 100,000 credits to me. I'm not leavin unless your comin." She glares at him stubbornly.

"I must admire your courage, if not recklessness, Hunter. So be it, come on."

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"Owwww!" Kat picks herself off from the dust covered floor. Sol grabs her by the arm, pulling her up and pushing her into the shadows and against a wall.

"Shh.."Sol releases her and presses himself against the wall. The sound of Imperial activity was echoing throught the corridors. The floor trembles as multiple snowspeeders race across the surface.

Kat nods and Sol can see how pale she had become. Obviously she wasn't used to being chased by imperials. You feel like a watched rat. Scrambling around desperatly, knowing there was no escape, knowing that they could destroy you at their will.

"Come..this way..."He stays close to the cold wall, his feet avoiding the small piles of snow that had accumulated near the frost covered walls. Kat marvels at how graceful he walks. His red cape flying out behind him, he suddenly stops at a door. Kat walks to him and looks up into the visor of the helmet,wishing to the Force that she could see his eyes.

"What are we doing?" She whispers,he puts a gloved finger to her lips and presses a button with the other hand. Kat's eyes flicker to the sides and widen in fear as she sees shadows growing on the walls.

"They're comin-" She was cut off as a door opens and he pulls her in. Her back slams against the back wall and pain shoots up her spin. Malicious laughter fills the room and Kat looks up to see Sol standing rigid,his helmeted head gazing to the side of her. Kat spins around and her heart races in fear. an Imperial General stands there surounded by Imperial Guards.

----------------------------

"Get her." His emotionless voice and it's command filled Kat with anger and fear. What had she done? Besides doing her job. She had found Sol!Rough hands encircle her wrists and waist. She couldn't move, couldn't struggle. The hands prpell her into a small cage. Kat stands in the middle of it, gazing out through the bars the Imperials watch her in interest.

"Very good Sol. You did better this time.: Kat's green eyes flicker to Sol. They had taken his helmet off, leaving him looking more vulnerable than she had ever seen someone. They had tied him to a chair and positioned it in front of the cage. His dark hair was as long as was allowd in the military allowed and he had bright blue eyes which kept watching her, staring straight ahead, emotionless, he chose not to acknowledge the Imperial's taunts.

"Look" Kat turns her gaze and icy voice to the General. "I did my job. I found Sol."

"Yes, you did." The man's voice betrayed no interest.

"Well?"

"Well what, Hunter? You found Sol ,that is correct. And you think...hat? That we will pay you and let you go? Oh no...Hunter Katel. We have something much bigger planned for you...much bigger."

Kat doesn't ask. She doesn't't want to know. She watches as the General motions to his side and an Imperial Guard pulls a lever. Suddenly, all she knew was pain.

-----------------------------

He watches as her frail body convulses in pain, she falls to the ground, moaning. And he was forced to watch. Watch them torture another female, because of him. This one didn't mean as much to him, but her suffering hurt him. He didn't let it show. His blue eyes stay focused on her lithe body, trembling with pain, her beautiful green eyes search his, begging him to stop the pain, demanding answers, then closing again as another wave of pain engulfs her. His heart feels like it will break, again.

"Stop." He says softly. The guard near him waves at the General. The General walks over to him.

"You said?" The man smiles evilly.

"I said, STOP." Kat screams in pain and then falls unconcious. If they waited any longer, she would be dead. The General motions for them to turn the torture device off then leans in close to him.

"I just want to remind you of your commitment, Sol. You know i can't bring you in myself," The General's face softens then hardens again as he looks at Sol." We have been friends for too long. But we are on different sides now, If you don't turn yourself in, I WILL find you again, and this time, the girl WILL die." Sol nods, anger blossming in him. The General motions to his men and they walk to the door, the General presses a button, releasing Sol's arms. "I'll give you one hour, Sol. ONE hour." Sol jumps out of the chair.

"NEVER!"His fingers slam on a control panel and doors start to slide shut. The General and his men jump out of the way, surprise and betrayal evident on their faces. Sol's fingers fly over the control panel to close the blast doors. He hears a soft moan and freezes.

"Sol...?" The man turns slowly, afraid of what he'd see. The small Hunter was laying on her side, her hair in disarray around her, staring at him with large, confused eyes. Sol feels something inside him stir at the image of the young woman. It brought back...so many memories. He steps gracefully over to her cage.

"Yes?" He asks as he works on turning the power off to the cage.

"Wha-What happened?" She looks around with her green eyes twinkling. "I wonder if this is worth anything...." Sol has to stifle a laugh.

"Just shut up woman. Can't you hear them? Once they get in, we're dead." The pounding on the door was worsening. Sol can see the woman shiver, not just from the cold breeze that races through the snow-clad tunnels either. The door to the cage swings open and he helps her out, handing her a hand-held blaster at the same time. She gives him a brief look and stuffs it in her holster.

"Yeah, I hear them. So , whats the plan?" Kat regains her composure immediatly , ready for action. Sol runs his hand through his hair and looks away.

"Theres a tunnel on the far end of the fortress...." He trails off.

"Great!" She exlaims. Starting for the door."Lets go!" Sol shakes his head at the energy of the woman and starts after her.

--------------------------------

Blaster fire erupts around Kat as she throws herself against the snow-clad wall of the tunnel, her hair flying in her face she looks angerily at her companian.

"You know, betrayal ,torture and being shot at was never in the bounty contract." Sol just gives her a look and sends shots of energy down to the Imperials. Kat looks around her. They couldn't stand here forever. Suddenly, without warning, she's propelled into and through the wall behind her. A loud swish echos as the door closes and she struggles beneath the weight on top of her. She groans at the pounding in her head.

"Could have warned me. " Sol doesn't answer, his bright eyes intently watch her face and she feels herself grow red.

"Uhm....Sol...." He shakes his head. These were not feelings he needed to be feeling right now, or ever again.

"Yes?"

"Could you...I don't know...get off of me?" Almost immediatly Sol jumps off of her, embaressed.

"It was necassary." He stands and brushes himself off. Kat grins and props herself up on her elbows.

"Isn't it always." She smirks at his reddening face and gets up too.

"So, where are we?" She glances around the small room they were in. Computer terminals surround them and the lights cast errie shadows across their faces. Sol steps up to one of the terminals and his fingers fly across the keyboard.

"We are in the exitway, Hunter. I have a ship docked here, as soon as I have the computer ready it, we can leave and pick up the chil-" His voice stops midsentance and his face pales. "Something...somethings not right here. I have a ....feeling...." Kat snorts.

"What are you? A Jedi or something?" She teases, leaning against one of the terminals, Sol turns to her and studies her face.

"Perhaps." Kat blinks. He turns away and pushes a button, a door opens almost noiselessly behind her. "Lets go."

---------------------------------

Kat collapses in the co-pilot chair, letting out a long sigh, Sol glances at her but doesn't say a word.

"Your not very talkative, are you?" She asks.

"Talkative? I didn't know Hunters conversed with their bountys, Hunter." His tone is neutral and he busies himself at the controls, she slams a hand down on the board and her emerald eyes glare at him, tears threatening to spill.

"You made a choice, Sol. And I have a job. You broke the law, and no one should get away with that! And its my job to make sure you don't!" Her eyes search his for understanding, but his well-trained sense told him that wasn't the whole truth, he sits perfectly still, watching the struggling Hunter expressionless.

"Do you know what my crime was?" Kat nods slightly.

"You betrayed the Empire. Defected in the muddle of a mission, taking valuable secrets with you." Sol gives a short laugh, startling her.

"Betrayed THEM? THEY betrayed us." His eyes narrow at her, his voice as always, dangerously low and emotionless. "I discovered the secret, someday it will be out, someday you will realize how little of this Galaxy really does make sense, that what we know is based soley on our own point of view." Kat sits back and raises her eyebrows at him.

"Our own point of view?"

"Precisly." Sol answers crisply. "Many of the truths we cling to are based on our own point of view." Kat leans back in her chair and runs her hands through her hair and looks to him.

"Sol...I..." He raises his hand.

"Don't Hunter. Now, go get some rest. I fear that where we're headed, we won't get sleep for..a long time."

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"ESSI! SHE TOOK MY DOLLY!" A small voice shrieks.

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

"Did not!"

"Did to --" If ships could have headaches, Essi had one. Ever since Kat had gone off with her bounty, the children had become particularly annoying.

"Now children....." Essi soothes, interrupted.

"Hey Essi, I'm hungry!"

"Me too!"

" I'm not!"

"Thats because you ate my last piece of candy!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

"Did NOT! It was MY piece of candy!" Essi flickers the lights in the cabin angerily.

"CHILDREN!!!" The ship suddenly quiets. And a chorus of 'sorrys' echos. Essi gratfully starts back to work, until she sees a solemn looking child sitting all by herself. A monitor near the child flickers on and Essi whispers by her ear.

"Are you alright Child?" Her bioscanner registers a significant drop in body heat of the child. She clutches a torn Wookie doll to her chest.

"Is Master ever coming to get us?" The child hugs the doll tighter and asks in a soft voice. Essi assumes 'Master' is Sol.

"If everything goes well and they're not terminated." The child's eyes fill up with tears and Essi realizes that just maybe that wasn't the right thing to say to a small child. "Of course dear, Master will return as soon as he is able. " the child nods, her blonde hair shimmering in the light. " Now child, whats your name?" The child whispers, " Chea." She sucks her thumb. "Now Chea, If you'd like, I'll tell you a story...."Essi asks softly.

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Kat wakes up in the ships only cabin. The metallic walls glow faintly with light from the cockpit. Whats that crazy Imp doing in there? He should be getting sleep too. Kat slips out of the bed and tiptoes to the entryway to the cockpit. She peeks inside, her hair brushing across her face.

"Stop hiding and come out, Hunter." Sol says in a tired voice. Kat walks in, looking embarresed.

"I just saw you were up and I thought that maybe you should go to sleep and I can watch the ship for awhile...?" Sol glances at her briefly then out the viewscreen.

"No." His voice comes back emotionless. Kat shrugs and slides into the co-pilot seat. Sol sighs and turns to look at her.

"Was there something else?" His eyes burn into her.

"No..nothing at all." She leans back in the chair and closes her eyes. Sol glances at her in exasperation.

Sol stares at the odd woman sitting in the seat next to him. The courage she showed was admirable. He watches as she sighs in her sleep and curls up in the seat. He closes his eyes to block away the beautiful image. He did not need distractions. In his service to the Emperor he was able to block such emotions..now...it wasn't so easy. He opens his eyes to see a pout on her full lips. He stands and hesitantly takes her in his arms. She protests and buries her head in his chest. He closes his eyes again at the emotions racing through him. Control...he draws on the Force, letting it flow through his body and calm him. He was on a mission, and he would complete it. He carries her out of the cockpit and into the cabin where he lays her gently on the bed.

Kat's eyes flicker open and she drearly looks up to see Sol standing above her. He looks down on her, a look of fascination crosses his face, quickly replaced with an emotionless gaze. Her breathing gets shallow and her heart races. Why she doesn't know. Wasn't he just bounty? And Fett's number one rule was to not get emotionally involved with bounty.

"Sol?" She whispers. The dim lighting casting eery shadows on his chisled, handsome features. His face softens as she speaks his name.

"Goodnight Hunter." He turns his back to her and walks to the door. She slides out of bed and walks over to him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

"Sol...I'm sorry.....It's my job..I.." She was cut off as he pulls her towards him and kisses her gently. His fingers grabbing onto her hair, not letting her go as the kiss gets more passionate. Heat floods her body and when he finally breaks away, she is panting. He looks at her.

"I know." With that, he turns and walks back to the cockpit. Kat falls onto the bed.

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She was asleep again. As soon as he had felt her drift off he had slipped into the cabin. He sat on the bed now. Caressing her soft cheek. He didn't know what had come over him. But when she stood there in front of him, her emerald eyes gazing at him..he had lost control, and he couldn't do it again. Those feelings were a weakness. And he could not afford to be weak. He starts to stand but is stopped by a hand on his. He looks down quickly to see her gazing up at him.

"Kennard...I don't want you to leave." He felt weak and drops to his knees beside the bed.

"Hunter...Kat....I can't afford the weakness. You don't understand. I am your bounty, go back to bed." His voice was cold but she could hear a pleading tone. Kat looks at him stubbornly and pulls him onto the bed. Wrapping her arms around him she kisses him passionatly. He didn't resist. And when they broke away they both laid there and looked at each other. Both understanding the situation they were in. Both understanding that in the end, only one of them would win. Only one would walk away free.


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