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Archive for May, 2009

On My Mind

May 29th, 2009 by Bahama

It’s been days since I last heard from my acquaintance.  And I’d be lying if I told you he hasn’t been on my mind since I last received word from him.

I still don’t know if he’s been completely truthful with me. Instinctually, I feel that there’s some truth in what he’s told me despite his rather odd behavior and outlandish tales.  The story he’s told me, true or not, has altered my perceptions and given me quite a bit to think about.

With so many real threats out there, I’m sure the government has closed my file by now… or at the very least shoved it to the bottom of the pile.  Times like these it really pays to have kept myself out of trouble and have that solid reputation on which to stand.

But my thoughts keep going back to this man.  He’s either in custody or on the run, neither option is ideal.  I still don’t trust him, but I don’t necessarily wish him ill either.  The worst part is, I don’t know if he knows that.

One of the last things he said to me in the call just prior to his capture was, “What have you done?”  I admit this bothers me.  It bothers me to think that he might assume I went through with my threat to report him… that where ever he is, he thinks that I brought on his troubles. 

Then too, it bothers me that he’d called me.  He knew he was in serious trouble.  Didn’t he have anyone else to call?  Someone to call for help?  Did he think that I could help him somehow?  Did he mistakenly think that I’d be willing to risk my life for him?  And if he did….. have I let him down?

Part of me hopes I’ll hear from him again.  If only to know he’s ok and that he doesn’t hold me responsible for what’s happened.  But then again, any contact with him threatens my reputation.  I don’t want to be drawn into his troubles.  I have enough of my own.  Not the least of which is getting him off my mind.

The Empire Comes Knocking

May 17th, 2009 by Bahama

There have been many times in my life when I’ve been sucked into drama and turmoil simply by association.  Moneta’s recent troubles with the Black Sun because of Ioh are one good example.  I don’t even fly and they’d likely not even know my name if it weren’t for the unhappy coincidence that I’m mayor of the town in which he lives.  I’ve experienced trouble due to friendships with customers, guildmates and even Bermuda and Bermuda Jr.  

I try to be careful.  I keep my eyes and ears open.  I keep my mouth shut tight about things I see or hear that could get me in trouble.  I maintain plausible deniability this way.  The few times I’ve been approached by soldiers of either the empire or the rebels, I’m courteous and cooperative.  After all, I don’t personally have anything to hide.

And so it goes with this acquaintance of mine.  He’s apparently brought the empire down on me. 

I received a message this afternoon from him.  He said there were troops at his door.  Now why – WHY, would he contact me?  Why drag me into it?  He knows there a chance that they’ll find out that he’s contacted me… so why put me in danger that way?

Even if I cared about him, which I’m not saying I do, there’d be nothing I could do to help him.  Right?!

I packed a bag with some bolts of fabric and my sewing supplies and headed out.  I searched my datapad for a waypoint to his home… but then quickly remembered I hadn’t made one specifically because then there’d be no evidence of a connection between us.  Going on memory alone, I traveled to a city I think was close by.   If by chance someone noted that I’d been the last person he contacted, then I’d have my old ‘tailor on call’ ploy to fall back on. 

What officer?  He’s a criminal?!  I had no idea!  He just asked me to make him a shirt.    Thank you so much for arresting him!  I could have been in so much danger and I didn’t even know it!

Hey, it works.

Arriving in the city, I hung around the shuttleport.  I figured I’d be able to see any activity from there and if I was approached I could just say I was waiting for a client.

I was approached.  I didn’t recognize his uniform but he claimed to be a Sgt. and apparently knew who I was.  I was asked to accompany him back to my shop and he mentioned that I was under arrest.  I may not be blonde but I’ve used the dumb blond act on multiple occasions with success.  Women must sometimes do such things to survive in a universe full of men.

He spoke in threats and harsh tones but I’ve seen that tactic used before, particularly by those who work for the empire.  If you have something to hide, they figure they can frighten you into revealing it.  They had no hard evidence against me, of this I was certain, so it wasn’t difficult for me to remain calm and speak to him in a kind, respectful tone. 

He searched the shop while asking me to explain how I knew the fugitive they’d just captured.  “I don’t know who you’re speaking about.”, I told him.  “I have many customers.”  I even offered to let him check my sales records.

Finding nothing and clearly not rattling me he resorted to threatening to check my home. I told him where it was located and offered that I had a shop in Lake Retreat he might also be interested in seeing as well.  As he left I smiled told him to contact me if I could be of further assistance. 

A while later he sent me a message that they’d found ‘nothing conclusive’ in my home.  Big surprise.  I’d even place bets that they didn’t even bother to go there after he’d seen my reaction to his threat.  Those that work for the empire aren’t known for being thorough unless they have a supervisor looking over their shoulder.

I waited a while, did a bit of mindless work around the shop before I headed back to my house.  I found nothing out of place, everything as I’d left it.  If they’d indeed searched the place, they’d left everything as they’d found it. 

I made a cup of tea and sat down on the couch.  Moments later a text message came through.  “You’ve got to take your son and get out.”  The message appeared to have come from the same acquaintance who supposedly had been in custody just hours before.

Two possibilities existed.  Either he’d escaped and was now contacting me on the run or else it was an agent of the empire setting another trap for me to incriminate myself. 

I responded, “I’m not going to run.  I’ve done nothing wrong.”  And left it at that.

Because really, that’s the truth.  I do my best to follow the law. I’m a good and faithful citizen as far as the empire can tell.  My record is unblemished…. at least with anything concrete or ‘conclusive’, as they say.  And I have several friends loyal to the imperial way of life that would vouch for me if I asked them to.

Bermuda Jr. could one day pose a particular problem… but for now, I don’t see why they’d pursue me where he’s concerned.  It’s been over a year since I saw him last.  He’s never even stepped foot in Moneta or my house there.  I don’t know where he is so there’s no possibility that I’ll ever need to lie about that either.   Even the records that would positively identify him as my son are tucked away in a remote part of the galaxy.  Except for a few close friends, most people don’t even know I have a son.

If pressed to, I’d tell you that I don’t agree with the life he’s chosen.  Like I do with Bermuda, when he’s gone, I try to spend as little time thinking about him as possible.  The worry doesn’t do either of us any good. 

Given today’s events, I find myself hoping he doesn’t come back any time soon. It’s better for him and better for me. I don’t enjoy living under scrutiny or having to endure accusations based on simply knowing someone who’s wanted, related or not.

If indeed this acquaintance has escaped, I’ll need to keep my eyes open.  Not only is it possible those looking for him will have their eyes fixed on me, but he may be looking for help in his escape.  If his story is true, I feel for him…but even so,  I won’t take a risk I don’t have to.  Besides my business, my freedom and my life… I need to consider all those I’m responsible for and to.

Meeting On My Terms

May 17th, 2009 by Bahama

With instructions to ‘maintain silence’ I left the situation with that troublesome acquaintance behind me.  Or so I’d hoped.

With his plot discovered I figured it was unlikely I’d hear from him again.  I didn’t consider him to be any great threat based on the fact that he’d already had so many opportunities to cause me physical harm and yet he’d only ever tossed a subtle threat at me here and there.

I had every intention of reporting his activities to the authorities as soon as I found the time.  I hoped they might have some ideas about what motive he may have had in the first place.

I didn’t get the chance to do that.

Much to my surprise, he sent a message a few days later.  It was difficult to make out what he was saying with all the explosions in the back ground but I could make out something about the Black Sun.

I told him I had every intention of alerting the authorities to his suspicious activities.  “Who will you report?”, he asked.

“Well, you, of course.”, I responded, a little taken aback that I had to state the obvious.

With slightly restrained chuckle he replied, “See what good it will do you.”  Then he was back to a line of questioning he’d been pursuing since that very first meeting… He wanted to know the details of where I was during the Clone Wars. 

Then a new question.  He asked what I thought of Jedi.

Suddenly I saw a possible motivation for everything that had come before.  My son.

I took a deep breath and steadied my voice, “What do you know… or think you know?”

He repeated the question. 

With as much sincerity as I could muster I responded, “I consider them neither friend nor foe if that’s what you’re asking.”

He then asked what I thought the Jedi stood for and what I thought of clones.  As he continued his questioning there was an audible difference in his voice.  There was anger there, however much he tried to hide it. 

I wanted him to keep talking, to reveal his reasons for asking me in the first place…. so I stated that at the time I was young and didn’t think much on it.

What followed was a tale of clones and jedi told with such sincerity and detail that I found myself feeling for the man who’s story it was …without the suspicion I’m sure the situation merited. 

When his story came to an end, I took advantage of the fact he hadn’t been able to see how his story had affected me and simply told him it was quite a far fetched tale.  I asked him again what he was really after.

For the first time since we’d met, he suddenly seemed quite open and honest.  He had wanted to share his knowledge, then gotten caught up in the trouble we’re having with the Black Sun and besides, it was rare to find a decent person….

I was completely baffled.  Every instinct told me that he was telling the truth.  Every part of me believed everything he’d told me at this point.  Perhaps the explosives had been the Black Sun… goodness knows we’ve had problems with them in the past.  Perhaps he had meant what he said about earning his trust….

But then I hate being taken for a fool.  I needed to look him in the eye and see for myself if he was being truthful with me after all.  I asked him to meet me in a public place I knew well.  I asked him to leave behind his weapons and his infamous helmet.  Without hesitation, he agreed.

The whole flight there I kept going over in my mind all he’d said.  Even if I took it all at face value, even if I believed everything he told me, there was still a danger.  The way he spoke about jedi, the anger in his voice when he’d told his story…  I needed to know if he knew about my son.

I arrived at the meeting place and he was waiting, without weapons or helmet, just as he had promised.  His body language indicated he was relaxed, open… even friendly.  He was willing to answer any questions I had.  So I asked, “What do you know about me?”

He mentioned my business, Moneta, my dislike for armor, my approximate age…. and then mentioned that I had a husband and a son.  I inquired how he knew about my husband and son since neither were around and I rarely spoke of them to even close friends.

I watched his face closely.  The corners of his eye turned up as he smiled a bit and explained he had ‘good hearing’.  Not a trace of deceit nor a hint of anger anywhere to be found.

I breathed a sigh of relief and we began chatting about our little problem with the Black Sun.  I told him we were aware there was a threat and that it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle.  It seemed we’d finally come to place where we could chat without such mistrust between us.

But suddenly his demeanor changed and his line of questioning took a turn toward the bizarre.  He accused me of being force sensitive, a general in the clone wars and even a jedi!  I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.  But he continued on. 

I thought to myself that he was either a master of distraction or else a victim of an over active imagination… and I told him so.   He grabbed his helmet and weapon from their hiding spot and left in a hurry, all while insisting that indeed, I must be a jedi.

So much for clearing up the confusion…

At the End of the Trail…

May 6th, 2009 by Bahama

More than once, the thought has crossed my mind that it would be a good idea to tell someone about this acquaintance of mine.  But with so few facts about what’s really happening and how much danger there may or may not be, I feel a little silly bringing it up.

With the explosives left on my table, I had a the first bit of solid evidence that something is definitely amiss.  But before I cause anyone unnecessary concern, I decided it would be best to investigate the coordinates I found etched on the explosives.  I’d feel better knowing exactly who and what I was dealing with before I panic about all the potentially dangerous possibilities.

The coordinates were located in a secluded, mountainous area of Corellia.  The terrain provided quite a bit of cover so I carefully made my way through the trees and bushes.  A large house came into view.  Then another almost identical right beside it.  I sat and watched through the windows for any signs the place was occupied.  I saw nothing.

Hideout

I concluded that at that point I had two options.  I could either go down there and investigate, potentially putting myself in danger.  Or go home with no more information than what I already had.  The latter seemed a waste of time and effort so I made my way down to the front door. 

Just as I did a stranger came riding up on a swoop.  His arrival at that moment caught me off guard and I quickly tried to come up with something to say to him.  A reason why I’d be there on that doorstep.

“My datapad has run out of batteries.  Can you point me in the direction of Doaba Guerfel, please?” 

As he started to point in the direction of the city,  the door to the residence opened.  I can’t say I was surprised to find the very same acquaintance who’d just left those explosives there on my table standing there in the doorway. 

“You!”, I exclaimed.  “I knew it!”

Having all the proof I needed to tie him to the explosives, I jumped on my swoop and zipped out of the area.  He began sending messages almost immediately.  “How did you find this place?”  “What were you doing there?”

Could he really be that stupid?  Did he not realize his error?

I was angry enough that my reason left me. I told him I knew he’d set up the explosives, that I had the proof he was behind the whole thing.  He continued to deny it.  What nerve!

Furious that he’d continue to try to play out his little farce I told him the coordinates of his little hide out were clearly marked on the explosives he’d left sitting on my table.

“That’s not good.   Not good at all.  Maintain silence on this channel until further notice.”, he replied.

What?!  He’s telling ME to be quiet? Why would I contact a man who’s threatening me….or at the very least, trying to scare me into thinking there is a threat? Could he really be so bold as to try to continue his scheme when the evidence against him is so clear? 

I think it may be time to share what I know with my friends. And figure out which authorities I should contact to get him locked away…

The Podium Produces a Clue

May 5th, 2009 by Bahama

I’ve watched my surroundings closely lately.  I wouldn’t classify it as paranoia just yet, but no doubt, my recent dealings with a certain acquaintance lately has left me feeling a bit exposed. 

That alertness paid off the other day when I noticed him ride through Moneta.  He didn’t stop and I tried to avoid letting on I’d seen him at all.  Out of sight, I ran into city hall and hid behind a pillar. 

Not  because I was afraid of him so much as I thought simply avoiding him would be easier.  My heart sunk when I heard footsteps growing closer.  I knew it was him.

With no possibility of escape I mustered my courage, came out from hiding and demanded to know what he was doing there.   Without a word he walked to the podium and a moment later appeared to pull a pile of explosives out.  Unconvinced, I suggested he’d placed them there to scare me.  He denied it. 

Once again at an impasse, I decided to change my tactics.  In my sweetest voice, I invited him back to my house to collect the armored helmet he’d loaned me back when this had all begun.  He claimed he didn’t want it and that he didn’t need to come to my house but I walked on keeping my fingers crossed that he’d follow anyhow. 

He did.  I walked slowing contemplating what my next move should be.  My goals were clear enough. I wanted to make him believe that I was not afraid of him and I wanted information about what was going on.  Neither would be an easy task.

As we entered the house I ran through various scenarios in my mind for escape or calling for help if it turned out this was a bad idea.  I offered him a tour of my house but he paused at the door.  I resorted to telling him to come in and proceeding to the living area myself in the hopes that, once again, he would follow.

Seated in front of the fire I spoke to him in a calm voice.  I asked to explain how he’d have known about the explosives if he hadn’t placed them there himself.  He gave me some story about having heard from a third party that they were there.  I smiled at him and inquired why I should believe him.  He plopped the explosives down on my coffee table and sat back confidently. 

I reminded him existence of the explosives did not prove he hadn’t placed them there.  He told me to believe what I wanted, rose to his feet and began walking toward the door. 

Desperate to keep him long enough to find out more, I changed tactics again.  I raised my voice and said, “What?  You’re just going to leave again?”  He didn’t pause to argue. 

“I don’t want to spend another sleepless night wondering what is really going on here.”  I let my voice crack and allowed my eye to tear, hoping the damsel in distress card would yield better results.  Without so much as looking back he replied, “You know what you must do to earn my trust.”

I locked the door behind him and kicked it in frustration.  What the hell is going on here?!

I returned to the living room and found the pile of explosives there on the table where he’d left it.  Despite having no knowledge about such things, I inspected it closely. Etched on the side were what appeared to be coordinates…. I jotted them down quickly on my datapad and then placed the pile into a container for disposal.