Chapter 70 (Vers. 1.1 28/12/13)
AN: Thank you to Inachis and Hawklan for all their work.
Lexa was standing still; she was in love. It was a Helix-B Class light interceptor freighter build as a cargo ship by Arakyd industries.
It was a sleek model with long wings, an engine that did 90 Mglt and a type x1 hyperdrive. It had a class 2 energy shield, one proton torpedo launcher, two blastburst laser turrets and 2 ion cannons in the front. It was built for a pilot, a co-pilot, four passengers and a cargo of 35 metric tons with one month’s worth of consumables.
It was a work of art to her. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered. She never really liked the tiny bath tubs, aka starfighters, Anakin liked to fly around in, and honestly the Enterprise was the size of a barge. It felt too big and clumsy whenever she was flying it under Xander, Jaina or Danni’s watchful eyes.
This Helix was so incredible, but of course it needed a better engine, a 100 Mglt engine at least. She quickly moved to check the state on her new friend. The price was criminal high and its history was amusing. The Arakyd had started to build it during the old days of the Empire and reported it to the BOSS (Bureau of Ships and Services) as a light transport. For some reason BOSS passed it and for more than 6 months Arakyd build the Helix and sold them, before BOSS discovered Arakyd was manufacturing illegally armed freighters.
Arakyd stopped the manufacturing at once, but new Helixs had still been sold from illegal factories, some of which claimed that they were owned by Arakyd, not that there was evidence found to prove that. With the fall of the Republic they had started with a new production line of Helix. The B version on display here had a cursing speed of 90 Mglt and 360 Mglt full speed instead of the old 70 Mglt cursing and 280 Mglt full speed.
Looking inside was like watching the inside of a starfighter with the luxurious space of a small transport. “I love you Helix,” she whispered. Now what would she need to do to get a piloting license?
“Dawn, I need you,” Lexa said as she hurried out. It was time for the dynamic duo to see what they could do. Cause moma needed her baby Helix.
Dawn blinked in surprise as Lexa grabbed her and pulled her to a ship and started to talk like a deranged person. “Alright that sounds fun. Let`s do it,” Dawn said with a grin and then leaned forward. “What do we do exactly?”
Lexa’s eyes seemed to gleam in an unholy glimmer and glittered in brown and black. “I’m going to take my piloting license and you are going to help me,” she said.
Dawn blinked and said in total awe. “How are you doing that with your eyes? Black is the absence of light.”
Lexa eyes narrowed as she pulled her stupid friend with her.
Jaina eyes looked up from her ice-cream. “My giggling sense is tingling. We’re missing something funny again.”
Xander and Danni looked at each other then back at Jaina and said, “Dawn and Lexa. Let`s ask Anakin where they are.”
“I’m so dead. Where are the girls?” Anakin said at the same time.
Noh Noss tried to calm him. “Don’t worry. What kind of trouble do you think they really could be up to?”
Anakin’s voice was depressed. “You don’t want to know what those two can do or what can happen when they’re alone,” he said, trying to stop the panic already starting, flashing back from their time on the Minbari home world where the two girls somehow managed to discover a sleeping predator from a species previously believed extinct. After it had gone rampaging and destroying buildings it was turned permanently extinct. He would never be able to watch the Earth movie Godzilla without having flashbacks again.
(In the cafe)
“I wonder if I’m supposed to panic or not,” Xander said, looking at the information he was reading.
Danni looked at her husband. “What have the two nuts done now?”
“Believe it or not, they’re going for the pilot license test,” Xander replied.
“Hm no, them taking the license is not the reason to panic. The reason why they’re taking the license is a reason to panic,” Jaina said with a smug smile. “We’re at one of the biggest star ship dealers in the galaxy, wonder why they wish to take the starship pilot license test now.”
Xander’s head hit the table and he refused to look up. “Don’t tell me. You believe they’re going to buy a starship?” He felt fear now.
Danni nodded and mused. “Well, most of the money we made from the journey was equally shared between all of us.” Xander did put up a pirate deal thing, splitting the money in shares. The ship got 5 shares that would be used for future repairs. Each member of the crew got 1 share each and one extra bonus if they had done something remarkable to earn it, as voted on by the others. Xander excluded himself as the ship part of the money gain would end up as his ship money in the future.
In the end each member of the crew did gain an extra bonus.
And now he could probably buy a Corellian corvette using only half a share. He could have, if he wanted to, buy Willow that cute micro Death Star. In the end he didn’t, it was too expensive and spare parts would be difficult to get. So if Lexa or Dawn were planning on burning money, they had all the money they needed.
“You’re right, this is a time to panic,” Xander said. “On the other hand, I’ve been teaching Lexa practical piloting and not what’s needed for a captain. There is no way that she could have learned all that.”
Jaina nodded. “If you say so. The fact that she’s been studying the rules and regulations by herself is not a reason to panic then?”
(At the same time in a government building)
“That was strange, they didn’t even ask for my age,” Dawn said. She had been so sure their luck would end right there.
Lexa grinned. “We have luck on our side, besides look up there,” she said, pointing at a sign, which said pilots and captains under the age of 18 must have adult supervision or be supervised by a licensed pilot droid. This was followed by a small note that the youngest age for pilots of the human species was 12.
Dawn blinked and then said, “Are they crazy? Letting a twelve year old fly…”
An angry huffing sound from a nearby 13 year old boy almost distracted her from her ranting abilities.
“It’s stupid, what if the kid gets angry or bullied at school? The kid could use the ship to destroy a class room. Perhaps abduct a classmate and leave him stranded somewhere. 12 years is too young… oh look… candy,” she said at the end, distracted by the candy bag Rona was holding out for her.
The 13 year old mused ‘abduction…’ not a bad idea; it sure would teach those bullies. And the other ideas the girl had weren’t bad either. And all he’d been planning on was on using the ship to buy a gun, then go crazy with it. He let out an evil laugh.
Lexa moved away from the kid who was now cackling madly like an evil mastermind. Some kids just freaked her out.
A 'bling' sound was heard then. “Look, it’s our turn to take the theory test,” Lexa said, then turned to Dawn. “Get your face out of the candy bag, it’s our turn.”
Dawn nodded and then wondered, “If you’re the one that needs the license, why do I have to take it?” she whined. “And you still haven’t said how you made your eyes glow black.”
“Backup pilot… now move it,” Lexa ordered, her eyes glowing slightly from the psi-energy behind her eyes. It wasn’t really a light, most living beings and some droids with enough advanced AI could see the glow of psi energy even if it didn’t really illuminated anything, it just felt like it was glowing in a black light. It was an illusion.
Her dad had told her about that. It was a difficult trick any PSI could learn and she had spent a lot of time learning it, because her brother had eyes that sometimes glowed in yellow and green. She deserved to have glowing eyes too and pumping in just enough PSI-energy she got her eyes to glow in black. With her eyes glowing in black she looked at the kid beside them, before letting the energy fade away again.
The nearby 13 year old swallowed. Perhaps the whole idea of a starship license was a bad idea after all.
The two girls entered the room. Each of them was seated far away in a cockpit module. A computer lighted up with questions they had to answer. It had 100 questions on the theory test. This was followed by regulations and law proceedings in space.
Then came handling tests where they tested your ability to handle simple repairs, cargo loading, treatment of passengers, safety protocols and safety inspections and at last the piloting test.
After one hour, a twitching look on her face, Dawn sat down. “I have no idea what are binary solar systems known for? I failed, I know I failed,” she said.
Lexa nodded. “I know, suddenly everything I read was blank.” What was so special about a binary solar system?
Now they just had to wait to see if they managed this test and could go on to the next.
The bing sound was heard again and they could see on a big holo board their name lighted up.
“I can’t see, tell me,” Dawn said, holding her hands before her eyes.
Lexa grinned. “You got fifty five points. You made it,” she said and then looked at her name. “I got fifty. Fifty… that’s not fair, but at least I made the test.” She groaned, fifty points was the minimum you needed.
They could enter the next room.
“Good luck,” Dawn said.
“Good luck to you as well,” Lexa answered and the two girls smiled as they walked inside.
More computer panels were waiting for them and a cruel looking droid that was overseeing the test.
“Is there a law that limits the speed limit on a loaded light cargo ship with 100 M tons cargo and is it allowed to fly according to the law if half the ion engines are not working?
1. Yes, there is such a law.
2. No, there is no such law.
4. Personal answer.”
The first question came too quick and Lexa just stared at it. What is it…let’s see. The cargo with 100 metric ton with half the ion engines offline would mean half the capacity of the ship is working and taking into account that the engine weight efficiency is not cut in half by removing half the engine…Wait… there wasn’t anything about maximum weight, it was all about extra speed limit. Lexa groaned, she would never make this. She looked over to Dawn, who was biting her lips as she answered her questions. The computer was hidden behind a distortion field so she couldn’t see what Dawn was seeing.
‘Best to try answer 2 then,’ she thought, then stopped herself. ‘No wait, many planets have laws that force wounded ships to fly extra slow. Yes, the number one is the correct answer.’
Dawn studied the question in front of her; this was her fourth question.
“You are carrying a cargo of spice from a planet where it’s legal to trade with it to a planet where it’s legal to buy it and have to pick up a cargo on a planet where spice trade is illegal. Can you do so?
1. Yes, you can.
2. No, you can’t.
4. Personal answer.”
Dawn bit her lips, she would try answer one.
In the end there were two tired looking girls, who walked out to get something to eat.
“My brain is leaking,” Lexa whined.
“Hmmm… brains…,” Dawn said walking like a zombie.
Lexa blinked and then swallowed. “Um perhaps we should eat something and then take the other test.”
Dawn turned her hollow eyes that looked like the eyes of the dead to her and agreed.
Grabbing Lexa, Dawn rushed to get some coffee. “Coffee crisis… coming thru,” she yelled.
(A lot of coffee and chocolate later)
“Me tired…. me feel brain drained,” Dawn said.
Lexa nodded. “Try more sugar and coffee,” she said.
Her friend turned zombie nodded. Who knew laws could be that evil and twisted?
Looking up Lexa could see the scores. Dawn 111 points while 100 were needed. Dawn did it. Nervous she looked at her own test scores and read 132 points. She ruled. She rocked, she was the lawyer…
“Alright, we can take the handling and the piloting test tomorrow if we feel like it. What do you think?” she said, then looked where Dawn had fallen asleep. “That’s a good reason for tomorrow.”
Using her telekinetic powers Lexa walked away with a flying Dawn floating along after her.
(Same time inside the starship trade hangar)
Rona had no starship. She was moderately interested in having one. She liked to fly sometimes. She liked to use the guns and be part of a starship crew, especially if the crew had a Jedi in it. Male, female, human, alien Jedi… it didn’t matter to her. Or to any force guardian. She couldn’t describe the feelings she had. It was like trying to describe the color yellow to a blind person or explain the concept of building a computer to an old person. It wasn’t possible.
The closest she could explain it was that it gave her a fuzzy feeling inside like she was doing something good with her life. Before the transdimensional journey it had been her and Chloe on the ship, two guardians all alone against the forces of evil protecting the wacky Jedi from harm.
Now she was alone and looking at a R-41 Starchaser nearby. Its fine form was impressive, but still she kept walking around. They said a starship or gizmo for anybody existed in here; yeah, like she never heard that before.
She felt that she needed something more. Thanks to Xander she had money burning a hole in her pocket and thanks to her stupid conscious she felt she needed to do something useful with it.
‘What was that? No, who was that?’ she said to herself. “Wait a minute,” she mumbled and then rushed forward to the dark skinned man hiding under a wig.
“Hi, it’s me Rona,” she said carefully. Seeing his confusion she added. “I’m with Xander.”
The man smiled at her. “How is Jaina? Is she here and are Xander and the rest here as well?” he asked, not really wanting to meet them. It was in fact Xander’s fault he was depressed. Thanks to Xander and the new toys he and others of the galactic Federation of planets had gained, one of his many corporations was earning more money than ever. It was boring, no challenge for him to make it earn money.
Rona nodded. “Of course. What are you doing, are you under…?” she was silent.
The man replied, “No. I just... a stupid habit from before.” He removed the wig and continued. “Some of my greatest ideas I got while sneaking around playing cards or just helping the Republic infiltrate a base. My wife is handling the kids and my other affairs. And I feel the need to create something new, something grand and I have no ideas or inspiration. You might say that the great Lando Calrissian is out of ideas and bored to tears,” he said.
Rona felt sorry for the man. Even if he was as old as her grandfather, he still radiated vitality and energy and a youthful love and curiosity of life. Now he seemed bored and it felt wrong. “So now we are two that sing the blues,” she said.
Lando blinked and wondered, “Sing the blues?”
Rona rolled her eyes. “Earth expression... Singing the blues means feeling down and sad.”
He nodded, not really understanding it and not really caring. “So what’s getting you down then?”
“Money... I feel I should use it for something, but I have no idea for what,” Rona explained.
Lando nodded. “That can be bad.” He slowly started to smirk. “I have an idea. You could pay an Ithorian herdship to send one of its ship to Shesharile 5 and 6. It’s a bit expensive, but if the herdship finds a good market for its goods, they will give you some or all of the money back. If the minimum earning is made, then you get around half the credit back. If normal earning is made, then you get back around 80% and if the double amount of cash is earned, then you get your money back and 10% extra as a finder’s fee.”
“Umm… what is a Herdship?” Rona asked, not knowing what Lando was talking about.
“It’s a big gigantic ship, around 4-5 km in diameter. It’s a flying space city and has a living forest inside of it. The Itorians live and work in those cities and they always have goods to sell, so when they enter a solar system they set up a marketplace to sell their goods. You can pay them to journey to a specific solar system and if the money they earn is good enough, they give you the money back and most likely return a year later.”
Rona nodded. “A moving market place? How much would it cost to pay them?”
Lando leaned back, “Well I have a friend and…” He started to smirk. “Never mind, Shesharile is actually a good and a bit risky investment for a herdship. I could lose the money without problem and if it works, my Ithorian friend would feel he owns me another favor. You don’t have to worry about it, unless you’d like to be part of the deal.”
Rona shook her head. She could see the wheels where turning inside his head, a self assured smirk on his face and glittering amusement in his eyes.
The two dark skinned humans smiled as they sat next to each other, looking almost like grandfather and granddaughter.
“Well let`s see if I can’t find a way for you to burn money and get more money to burn back,” he said with a grin. He knew the girl was rich. Not extremely rich like he was, but still she was rich.
Rona shrugged as she looked at him. “You know the space traffic in Shesharile has increased multiple times since the mines started? What if I used most of my money with a sponsor who knows how to make them return profit to build a Rona refueling and space hotel restaurant? Inside a space station or perhaps use an asteroid base.”
“A space base with landing spots and perhaps motel activity for refueling and a restaurant? You don’t earn much money on that. But do it the right way and it will grant you and your grandchildren a safe income. What’s your idea? Show it to me.”
Rona shrugged. “It should have some simple landing platforms or perhaps hangars, but mostly just docking arms for external docking. Rooms to sleep in, a bath house with real water, as most ships seem only to have sonic showers and you miss water after a while. And a restaurant, not a big one, more like a pizza restaurant. Perhaps we can introduce pizza for the humans in the galaxy.” She shook her head.
Lando grinned, making a bed and dinner motel space station work would be a challenge. He did see potential in that, especially around the gas mines. “Simple, yet effective. The expensive part is actually the startup cost. Don’t worry, my lawyers will contact you later and the two of us can hack out the details and if I get money from the Herdship, I’m going to give you 25% as a finder’s fee since you got me thinking about it.” He stood up and stretched. “Well say my hello to the others. I have a Herdship to find and my wife wishes for me to hurry back home.” He walked out with energy and vitality and the love and curiosity for life only a child should have. Excitement and possibilities seemed to flow from the man as he walked away.
Rona grinned; she felt so much better now.