The Distance Between
The shuttle was a noisy affair, clanking and clanging and whirring along through the field of Outer Rim stars. It was an old piece of technology, one that Ania could very well believe had been a salvaged scrap from the days of the Infinite Empire that the Bothan Traders had pulled up from under a rock they found somewhere here in the Arkanis Sector. Most likely, the Hutts had some poor slaves dig it out of the dirt and then sell it to the Bothans back on Piroket, as far as Ania could fathom. It did not seem that it could have even flown all the way from Arkanis here on its own power. However, from the window and electronic progress indicator, the shuttle had passed the Foroons and across the Ooo-temiuk system. The Binary stars of Tatoo were in sight from just out the external view port.
Ania shifted uncomfortably in her seat, drawing her cloak tighter as she did so. The lack of seat padding on this third class flight did not help the fact that there was little on her ass itself to comfort her. Yet Master Naadi sat perfectly still. Ania's own dark yellow eyes turned slightly to the side, to see those dark crystals of her master's staring directly forward. It seemed he was in some sort of meditative trance. He too was wrapped in a drab cloak, held around his shoulders from the inside. It was stretched greater as it strained to cover the immense forehead sported by the pink skinned Jedi. Even with the tall montrals atop Ania's Togruta head, the could barely reach Naadi's chin. She wore her cloak similarly, with the hood entirely covering the montrals, and her head-tails kept close to her body within the cover. Still, the large blotches of palely pigmented skin around her eyes against the deep red constituting the color of most all of her other skin gave her race away instantly. Togruta were not a common sight in Hutt space, and that put her in danger. Neither, for that matter, were Cereans, but Naadi seemed to have the upmost confidence. The same could not be said for Ania herself. At least her lightsabre was hidden.
Surrounding them in the cramped shuttle quarters were everything from human to Trandoshan, with numerous Bothans both manning the crew and taking the ride. Very little was said. Very little needed to be. This was as cheap a flight as any could find, and a purely utilitarian means of getting across the sector. The two jedi had boarded the flight on its origin planet, Piroket. This was a Bothan controlled planet, and far friendlier to Republic endeavors than the fiercely independent Czerka Corporation led Tattooine that was their destination. In addition, Naadi saw it as a good way to begin their upcoming stint in poverty that would train Ania in compassion and empathy for the people the Order and the Republic swore to protect. Though Ania could physically see their monetary deficit, all that she could feel around her were their ill-intentions. This trashy Bothan skiff was quite the way for the mildly dark side to get around, it seemed. A noise at a pitch possibly none on this ship could hear emanated from the back of Ania's throat. It bounced from every surface around her, returning and causing her montrals to vibrate imperceptibly. She counted 37 people seated all around in this manner, without risking eye contact with any of them.
The progress indicator chimed dully, indicating that they had officially entered Tattoine's gravity well. They quickly passed the Third moon and were approaching the planet itself, transmitting all landing permits and getting in order any and all necessities to drop the load of passengers. Just then, Ania saw Naadi's trance break. His eyes focused, and he turned his head quickly to the nearest view port. Ania sensed it in that second, as well. The vacuum just outside distorted with the presence of some fiend of greater evil than any of the mild vagrants within her more immediate space. A cretin of the Dark Side was fast approaching. The flash of a torpedo detonating was followed promptly by a violent shaking and the horrifying screech of tearing metal. Ania felt her weight lift from her seat, and her heart lift from her chest. The lights went out as the previously struggling systems on the shuttle shut down. Ania turned to look behind herself, and could perceive the first twinkling of distant stars through the ruptures forming around the periphery of the interior. In a single, terrible second, the entirety of the ship’s rear half ripped away in a shower of shattered glass and streaming behind it bits of metal and plastic. The skiff itself began to tumble through the atmosphere.
The Master who had been beside her wrapped Ania up, and she could feel emanations of the force surrounding them both.
"You come to me, eyes full of grief
All of your tears mean nothing to me
So why will you not just leave me to be
Am I to blame? Well, I'm not ashamed!
Oh how I smiled when I heard the tale
Of Loke the sly, so clever and brave"
Tock's Taunt (Loki's Treachery Part II)