Final Chapter Part I
From the line of 15 shabby humanoids in drab jumpsuits stepped a man with hard eyes. He shifted his gaze from the guards to his fellow prisoners, offering them a passing nod as he moved on. The muscles in his left arm worked at clenching and releasing a fist that was not there, similar to what one might call a nervous tick if they didn’t know the man. Those that did however knew this was a sign that deep within the man laid enough raw rage to embolden a platoon of non-clone soldiers, and it was threatening to explode.
He walked, standing up taller than most of the guards. They took years of his life away in mere months with the endless questions, the tests, and of course, the punishments. Scarred and beaten, they quickly found that he either knew nothing or they did not have the means to break him. Usually after the removal of two digits, a prisoner finds they are unable to talk fast enough to tell everything. They took all 5 digits and the stub of a hand that remained, slowly, methodically. During all this his eyes never left his tormentors. He never flinched, he never cried out. What they wanted from him he was never quite sure. Perhaps it was the destruction and disappearance of the rebel attachment he was fighting for. Perhaps it was the imperial colors adorning his walls and ship hanger.
The man entered the medical bay and the med droid began his cursory scan. A human med tech walked in reading a chart. Her deep pink hair was almost as shocking as her form. A quick glance and the technician tossed a datachip to the man that had been concealed in her datapad. Without so much as a blink, the chip was caught with the man’s good hand and inserted into the medical droid. From under the exam table the woman picked up a case, unlocked it, and placed it on the equipment table before turning to leave. With a quick glance over her shoulder she whispered, “Don’t be home late, brother.”
The med droid rebooted and began to complete its new instructions. From the case it extracted an advanced prosthetic model not used on prisoners. It worked quickly attaching the hand on the wounded prisoner. A series of injections would have to suffice instead of a bacta tank. This prisoner’s time was running out. Finally the droid indicated it was complete. The prisoner flexed the hand into a fist.
“But, sir, you must test each finger individually so I may make adjustments.”
The prisoner looked up at the droid with a smirk before putting the new fist through the droid’s cranial unit.
“This will have to do.”
Security was truly lax. Threat of escape into the jungles of Dathomir was not a viable risk so external monitoring was scant. The perimeter fences were used to keep people in as much as they were used to keep other things in the jungles out. One such creature, a Rancor of immense size had been seen stalking the fence line for the last few days. No one believes that the corpse of a malkoc that the rancor threw at the fence had anything to do with the lab technician that went missing, the 7 guards that were found dead, and the one medical droid that was destroyed. It appears someone escaped but cell count shows all prisoners accounted for. While it is possible a prisoner could have escaped, they certainly wouldn’t have slowed down their egress enough to hack the datanet. The official paperwork stated the perimeter fence was breached and unknown predators entered the compound and gained entry to the prison medical unit. The carnage certainly pointed to a predator from the jungles and extensive Tanray tracks were found. While not being native to Dathomir it is believed the Tanray was a Nightsister companion that had been turned loose and reverted to a feral state.
Seven clicks northeast of the compound the prisoner knelt down below a tie bomber and rubbed behind the ear of a Razor Cat. With a whistle he stood up and the Razor Cat went running into the ship, followed closely by a Tanray that slipped out of the woods. A loud rumbling and the breaking of trees made the Tanray stop and look back briefly. A Rancor broke through the tree line and charged the prisoner. Stopping short the Rancor bent down low and bellowed a loud rumble of anger at the man.
“I am sorry my friend. This is your home now. You cannot follow me anymore. I have but a few things to finish before my final journey.”
The rancor stood up straight and roared into the sky as if the man’s words wounded him. Looking down at the man once more, it slowly turned around and walked back to the trees. The Rancor slowly shuffled away as if his will to go on was sapped. The man watched him disappear then turned for the shuttle with tears running down his face. He did not know how he was going to stomach releasing all of his companions back into their natural habitat. Only the loss of three people have brought tears to this man’s face. He knows each and every one of the creatures he will have to release will do the same.
The man walks up the ramp into the ship. The Tanray stood on its hind legs and looked at the man questioningly.
“No my friend, not yet, I still need your help. Droid, set a course for Naboo, drop down on the outskirts of Keren.”
The man held his new prosthetic hand at the snout of the Tanray. It sniffed briefly and cocked its head to the side seemingly confused.
“I know old friend, I know. Just a little more time left. I need your help your find her. Once I do…I don’t know what will happen.”