Star Wars: Aberrant Cause

Chapter 26

On the observation deck of the deep space ferry, a hooded figure stood alone and stared out at the distant Terminus system. The intercom had signaled a departure tone, with instructions repeated in several know and unknown languages. The ferry would be departing shortly, its destination far into the Unknown Regions, where the known galaxy was afraid to tread.

Aveyla looked at the system with little regard for the galaxy she was leaving. Her thoughts idly touched on her family on Ryloth, to Abe'ian and to Sheon. She was leaving them all behind, those alive and gone. It did not bother her.

It was time to leave. She could feel it in the Force.

"Almost time to go," said a familiar voice, and she felt at ease. Saz stepped up next to her, his hand on the rail and his eye following hers. A plain patch covered his right eye, still dysfunctional from the actions of Captain Bimms. His left arm was attached to a rudimentary prosthetic, far simpler than the one he had lost at the same time. A few lingering scars still marked his face, but he had otherwise healed from his torture, though he still broke into cold sweats at night and sometimes could not joke his way through the experience.

He had been broken, and put back together. She was still helping weld all of his cracks and bruises.

"How is N4?" she asked, a small smile tugging at her lips.

"Madder than a womp rat at being stuck in that hangar. Feels insulted that we're taking a ferry instead of just going in the Muse," he replied, smiling a bit as well. "It's impossible to explain to a droid that all there'd be to show for those three weeks in hyperspace was a couple of skeletons in the cockpit."

Aveyla smiled softly, though she could think of worse things that being cramped together with Saz in the fighter for that long. After their trials, she wanted to spend every moment with him, as he was the most important thing in the galaxy to her. She was certain he knew this, though she did not come right out and say it. It was enough that her actions told him.

"There'll be no complaints when we're at Kibo and the Muse is in open space again," he said with a nod, though he felt the same about not being able to fly free for a while.

Silence permeated deck, save for the murmur of the other passengers around them. It was a strange lot that purposely went into the Unknown Regions, from adventurers to scholars and even a few criminals. All were seeking to disappear from the eyes of the galaxy, from the New Republic and the Empire to dozens of other organizations.

"It's not too late to go back. Can you truly pass up the opportunities that your friend in the New Republic is offering you?" she asked, breaking their silence.

Saz smirked. "They can get along just fine with some ex-Imperial mucking around in their research stations. Only heroes join the cause with allusions of changing the galaxy. I'm just a mechanic," he replied, which made her smile. "How about you? There's still plenty of time to go jump on the Jedi party-barge. I hear there's all sorts of craziness going on at Coruscant. You could go be part of some new Jedi Order," he offered.

Aveyla's eyes wandered to the stars and her mind followed into memory. She thought of her last encounter with Fennri. It was just after finding that the Shed had been destroyed by Bimm's forces, with everything they had called home scattered into the cold of space. Very little had been salvaged with the tractor beam of the Muse and the two of them had come to the realization that they were starting over, with barely a credit to their name. As they had left the asteroid field, the Skvat found them. The yacht was barely serviceable, burping atmosphere and shedding her armor violently. Fennri had once again hailed them, her ugly face howling in rage as she beat on the consoles of the ship. She was alone. All others had abandoned her. Her attempts to fire her malfunctioning weapons caused a weapon battery to explode, further crippling her once-impressive ship.

Saz had said nothing, just placing the speakers on mute and entered a firing solution in the weapon's control of the Muse. Then, he sat back and knit his hands over his chest, leaving the controls to Aveyla.

The Twi'lek stared at the raging Rodian, her hand over the controls. With a push of the button, she could have ended the woman who had once owned everything about her and dominated a very dark part of her past. She could equally let the woman live, knowing that she could never again harm her. It was a decisive moment for the young woman, and her heart was rendered in two.

In the end, she did not fire on the ship and they left her to her obsession, ranting on her dying ship and forever unable to have what she once had.

Looking back, Aveyla was unsure whether her actions were out of mercy or out of spite.

"I'm no Jedi, nor do I strive to be. The Sith and the Jedi will forever be locked in their meaningless battles, like a serpent devouring itself. I will find my own place in the Force, where it is not wielded like a banner," Aveyla finally replied, her thoughts lingering on Fennri's fate. Saz was continually impressed by how far she had come, with a small part of him worried that she might go beyond his reach one day.

As if sensing his turmoil, Aveyla stepped closer to him and laid her head against him, her hand wrapping itself in his as she felt the warmth of his touch. "And why would I suffer some Jedi Council that would not allow me to be with you?"

Saz held to her hand softly, letting her reassure him. Like her, he was satisfied with leaving everything behind. There would be no more Utility and their mysterious agenda. There would be no New Republic and their desire to reshape the galaxy. And there would be no Empire, suffering its death throes and grasping at its former glory.

There was only him, Aveyla and his ship.

Their ship.

"Saz," she suddenly said softly. "Would you kiss me?" The request made him jerk slightly and he looked at her, finding her eyes full of expectations and her bottom lip bitten impishly.

"Here?" he asked, his voice hushed.

There were many others on the deck, idly minding their own business, but there were eyes everywhere and no shortage of ill-intent. Aveyla simply nodded, the memory of her passionate kiss with Kunmi still coursing through her. She wanted the same feeling from him, the one she had chosen to carry her heart. To her, location did not matter, and her commanding presence had resurfaced, making him understand that this was less of a request and more of a demand.

She was remarkably stubborn about certain things.

As the ferry undocked and moved away from the system, Saz turned to the young woman that had saved him, his hand reaching up to the line of her jaw. Their eyes fell into each other and their lips met as the ferry slipped into hyperspace, leaving behind the known galaxy and into a realm of uncertainty and the unknown. But as Aveyla reached up and locked her arms around his neck, her body pressed against his and her heart racing against his chest, she resolved to face the unknown with her strength, unfettered by fear, and would protect that which she loved from anything that might threaten them. And he silently contracted with her to face those things at her side, where he would carry her when she fell or reach for her through the vortex.

Going nowhere in particular, there was no place they would rather be.


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