The old kyber crystal hung around Hana's neck like a talisman. Sixteen years she held onto it, never housing it within those strange sabers that the Jedi Knights carry on their hips. She preferred the old ways. The weapons that many thought to be barbaric when there were far more elegant weapons. She liked the weight of metal in her hand and on her back. Though many might argue you would never need such weapons on a planet made of rock and sand, she knew better.
Tatooine was a place she somehow remembered. Not by her own memory of ever being there, but by the stories she recalled from her father, that which he heard from his own uncle. Though in a place she felt she knew, she knew that it was from before. Before her, before her father and mother, before her uncle.
Mos Eisley, on the outskirts, within an old, wrecked freighter, Hana sat on the edge. She was several feet up in the air, her feet dangling. She wore oddly dark clothes for the terrain and the heat. But the layers were thin and the head scarf enough to hide her face from the scoundrels within the walls of Mos Eisley. Of course she knew she could move elsewhere. But few other places on Tatooine these days offered enough for her to scavenge and restore before selling on the market.
Right now she felt something prickling at her senses. Something that had been long coming and that she had hoped to avoid. So she dropped the ten feet or so into the soft sand and started toward the city.
Temiri seemed to drop out of the sky, his body dropping into the sand and skidding down a slope. He quickly digs one of his blades into the sand to slow his speed to a stop. He stands up and climbs his way back to the top just to get a better look of where he ended up. From the west he saw nothing but sand and rock for miles. Then, upon turning toward the east, he could see the settlement which buzzed in the air. He ventures toward it, trying to find within the Force the one thing he swore to protect.
She was there, somewhere among the desert settlement.
He looks closer, inward, trying to find her mind. Eventually he comes up on a door which is bolted shut and heavily armed against those who might try to venture forth. Hana Solo had not been on this desert waste of a planet for some short time, she had been there for several years. Long enough to build up the defenses in her mind.
Still, he could see a blurred image of a small home. Or at least what she had made her home.
A wrecked ship off the edge of . . . Mos Eisley?
She had gone quite far.
He gathers his wits and begins to circle the settlement. Wherever she managed to build a home, it could not be very far.
Within the small freighter, Temiri took a look around. It was buried deep into the sand. The only piece of it livable was sticking up out of the ground at an angle. Therefore the floor was the wall and the wall was the floor. A section of the open hall was covered by netting and blanketed like a sleeping space. By the look of it, she had been living here for over a decade.
A small rope and ladder lead down into one of the underground parts of the ship. Most of the freighter was broken and closed off. Except for one room that looked much like an old hangar. In the room there seemed to be pieces of technology in the middle of being salvaged or restored, some were being stripped and likely sold in pieces.
This was how she survived.
Suddenly a painful hit on the back of his head sends him to the ground and the room fades to black.
It looked like a creature. Perhaps a man in creature's clothing. He was cloaked in black armor, weapons on every accessible point of his frame, his mask black and metallic and menacing. It was an old mask, worn and scratched and dented over the years. Hana quickly removes what weapons she can find from his body and gathers them atop one of her tables. She props him against a post binds his hands behind it before he wakes.
Whatever it was, whoever he was, he slumped against the post.
She rummages through his mind, that which was left open. There was darkness there. Tamed darkness. She had never seen anything quite like it. She reaches out with her mind, her hand moving toward him without warning. It simply did. The tips of her fingers come close to his mask, reaching out, wanting her darkness to be tamed like this.
How did he do it?
All of a sudden the creature jolts and tries toward Hana. She falls back with a gasp and pulls a knife from her boot, holding it out at him. But he doesn't get any closer. He can't. He soon realizes that his hands are bound behind his back.
"Who are you?" she asks, though a part of her knew him from somewhere, some time.
He stops struggling and turns his gaze toward her, though she can't seen his expression through his mask. Astonished, he was. And thankful. "An old friend, you might say."
"You're not from here." she says through her teeth.
"Neither are you."
Hana sits up, still pointing the weapon at him. "A part of me is. From long ago."
He sighs. "Would you kindly remove my mask for me?"
Her brow furrows at his request. "What for?"
"Because I need you to trust me, Hana. I am not here to harm you."
The weapon had lowered briefly and now it was back up again. "How do you know my name?"
"Remember the void?"
She did. Though she often tried not to. It was a place where the Force did not exist, where it opened up in different places and different times and sometimes . . . . She could remember the mask now. Though in her nightmares about the void it had been larger, grotesque, with teeth. Hands with claws and blazing, white eyes. But it had just been this. A mask. The First Order soldier who slipped through the cracks with Hana and chased her until the Force opened up on Tatooine.
This was what was coming. Though for him, time was not an issue.
Hana keeps the blade up but reaches out with her other hand and pulls the mask up. It revealed a face. Nothing wicked, nothing hideous, nothing handsome. But it was a face, strong and full which had aged maybe twenty minutes compared to the sixteen years she had spent along the outskirts of Mos Eisley.
"Oh, I remember." she says to him.
For a moment, he was relieved. Then immediately that relief faded.
"You took me from my home. From my family."
He shakes his head. "I am not one of them. I'm a spy for the Resistance. Hana, please!"
She steps away, holding the mask in her hand, and she slips out of the room. On the way out she hears him stomp and struggle but he doesn't budge. Eventually, he stops. He is quiet. And rightly so. Hana finds her way to the top floor and drops the mask on a makeshift table. It lands with a metallic thud. She plops down on the bed, sinking into the netting. But she doesn't sleep.
The prisoner's mind was too . . . loud. And yet he said nothing, thought nothing.
It was his presence.
Hana didn't know what to make of this man or her distorted memories. But she would have to keep a close eye on him if she ever planned on getting home to her time.
Hana kicked the post behind her prisoner, causing him to wake up. She had gotten much less sleep than he did. Her mind wandered throughout the night. With his presence being as loud as it was, all she could manage to do was close her eyes and lie awake. But today there were things to do. Places to be. Items to sell. She didn't want to leave him here alone. She thought about it all morning and came to the conclusion that she would have to bring him with her. And if anything he said was true, she knew he wouldn't run.
She comes around and drops to his eye level. “What is your name?”
His brown eyes narrowed. “Temiri.”
Hana reaches around with her knife and cuts the rope which bound his hands. He sighs with relief and rubs his wrists of the soreness. Though he suspected he would not be out of those ties for very long. He would have to cooperate and let her do with him as she pleased. Even if that meant letting her keep him prisoner in an old hangar.
“We're going into town. I have business there.”
She nods just once and points toward the step ladder which lead to the main deck. He follows her silent command and moves steadily to the top. Then out the front door. The suns were very low behind the sand dunes. They were up early. Temiri takes half a step forward in the cool sand and then stops when Hana cuts in front of him which a set of electronic cuffs. He sighs, knowing full well he wouldn't have made it very far without being restrained in some way. A chain between the cuffs set out only a few feet, the end of which Hana held tight.
“Don't trust me?” he asks with a quizzical brow.
She scoffs and starts toward the settlement, tugging on the chain. Temiri stumbles forward.
“If anyone asks, you're my slave.”
He shrugs. “Fine by me.”
Hana tugs on the chain again. “Quiet.”
“Stop that.” Hana says to Temiri. She could feel him scratching at the back of her mind, trying to find a way in, to discover her history here on Tatooine. “Keep it to yourself, fly boy”
They cross over into town, the buzz of voices, people in the surrounding buildings, low and tired. Vendors were just waking up. Scoundrels were still on the prowl. Troopers walked the streets but were mostly non-threatening. All of this and yet Hana kept the lower half of her face covered and the top of her head hooded.
As Hana turns into an old Cantina, Temiri can't help but wonder why she would have business in such a place. Then again the state of her character didn't make it so surprising. She dragged Temiri with her to the back of the room and all but kicked him into a booth before sliding in after him.
Just as he is about to open his mouth a ask what they were doing there, another man and young woman slide in on the other side of the booth. The man was large and menacing, his skin an odd coloration; green and brown and black, the texture like scales. The woman was smaller, a half-human. Though it was difficult to tell what that other half was. Whatever it may be, its eyes were red and its ears were long and pointed. Temiri didn't like the sense he got off them.
Hana reached to her belt, pulling out a brown pouch which she opened. She carefully pulled out a small tube which glowed an iridescent blue. The man across from her reached out, making Hana pull back and drop the tube back into the pouch.
“This is just a sample.” she says, sliding the pouch over to the woman.
The red-eyed woman opens the pouch again and takes a look at it before handing it off to the man. “I am more curious about your . . . .” She points directly at Temiri. “He was not here the last time. If I recall correctly, you prefer to work alone, Solo.”
Temiri was not the only one who could see it coming. Hana pressed the release on his cuffs.
The scaly man points a gun at Hana from under the table. “You promised twenty units of refined coaxium. As far as I'm concerned, you didn't deliver.”
Hana leans forward. “I deliver the rest when you bring me the ship.”
“We could go back and forth like this all day. My boss doesn't like to be kept waiting.” he says, followed by the gun charging its first round. “The units. Now.”
Hana leans back now, the shadow of a smirk on her lips. “Come now, you shouldn't have done that.” she says almost lazily.
The woman cocks her head to the side. “What?”
“You started with your final sanction; give us the hyperfuel or you die. You see? If I don't give you the coaxium, you kill me. Of course, if you kill me, you will never find the units you require. Now we're at an impasse. Either you lower the gun or I kill you where you sit.”
“Is that a threat?” the man growls.
Temiri narrows his eyes. “I believe that was a promise.”
The gun goes off in a split second but Hana catches the blast mid-air. Temiri stands and slams the red-eyed girl into the table. Hana holds the blast close to her hand and crushes it with nothing but the strength of her mind. The man rushes toward her but she catches him and throws him onto the bar without even touching him. Then she takes the gun and presses the barrel to his head. She does not hesitate. She pulls the trigger and watches as the creature slumps off the bar and onto the floor.
Temiri, still holding down the girl, looks to Hana. “You killed him!”
She doesn't comment on the matter. Instead, as he holds down the girl, she points the charged blaster to her head. “The ship.”
“It's at the dock.” she says through her teeth.
“Lovely.” Hana smiles. Then she pulls the trigger.
Hana didn't like killing people. But these deals often ended in the death of those who tried to cross her. As she walked out of the cantina with the coaxium sample not a single soul tried to stop her. They looked, some in disgust and some in a manner that said they had seen Hana do this before. Therefore she was not one whose toes you wanted to step on.
Temiri was not phased entirely by the act. He knew his darkness. But he kept it centered. Hana did as well, in a manner of speaking. He felt the way she dug into their minds without them even knowing it. Without them feeling it. She knew every move they intended to make and acted against it. And if she had not, if she were defenseless, unable to use the Force, she would have likely died. Others as well. Knowing this, Temiri felt no need to judge her actions.
“I suppose you want to tell me I didn't need to kill them.”
She still had not locked him back into those cuffs. Perhaps on purpose.
“The others in there, they didn't try to stop you.”
Hana keeps walking. “No. They did not.”
“Aren't you going to cuff me?” he asks her.
She stops and turns on her heels, giving him a look from beneath her long eyelashes. “The only reason you stayed in them when you clearly could have gotten out of them was because you wanted me to trust you.” She pauses and tilts her head to the side. “I don't trust you, but you have no intention of harming me or running away. So, no, I'm not going to cuff you.”
Hana turns back around and continues on toward the dock. Temiri keeps by her side, matching her pace. When they reach the dock it isn't long until Hana picks out which was meant for the trade. Though, it is guarded. It was a used ship, a MC-08 Hauler, capable of carrying roughly 500 metric tons of cargo. It might have seen better days and was easily worth the small tube of coaxium Hana was carrying, as opposed to the 20 units she meant to buy it for.
“That's the ship you want?” Temiri asks curiously and almost hoping it was a joke.
She nods while keeping her gaze on the freighter. There were two guards at the loading dock, possibly one more on deck.
She looks back at him for a moment. “Do you think I want to be stuck here for the rest of my life? No. I'm getting off this planet.”
“Don't you want to get home?”
Hana bites down on the inside of her mouth and grinds her teeth. “Something tells me I wont be getting back the same way I left. I have to go the long way around.”
He touches her arm after which she jerks away. “What makes you think that's not possible?”
“I've been stuck here for over a decade, trying to figure out a way to get back. I'm not powerful enough to manage a second trip. Trust me.”
“Why should I? You don't trust me.”
She thought about telling him why she was so sure of it. Then thought better of it.
“Are you going to help me with this or not?” she asks frustratingly.
Temiri's gaze shifts back to the freighter and then to her. “Don't think you need my help, but-” He goes to reach for his blade and then drops his hand. “I don't have a weapon.”
Playfully, Hana punches his shoulder. “Sure you do.”