It was a hot, dusty evening on Tatooine and Oda was packing to leave. That's when the announcement broke out over the holo-news playing in the cockpit:

"... And finally the station would like to pay last respects to Rett Zul, a human trader in his mid 30's and the owner of 'Superparts.' Rett sold quality goods and touched a lot of peoples lives. Today he passed in what authorities have deemed a freak accident. As of yet we have no details on a funeral or where to send flowers but stay tuned to IGN for on the spot updates." ( Holly Starstorm )

A job well done.

Belt on, engines warming, Oda got herself ready to go with a small smile on her lips. She pressed comms: 'Mos Espa ATC, this is Vulturine. Requesting permission for takeoff. Over.'

This is Mos Espa ATC. Copy that, Vulturine. All clear. Permission granted for take off. Out.

Oda felt the blood in her body as the ship took off and surged on upwards into the cloudless, pink sky; the pannels about her rattled as she broke through atmosphere. Soon the pink before her faded away to lilac and then after that to the darkness of space. The ship came to a graceful drift. Oda reached into her coat to retrieve the cold and silver, palm-sized strongbox, the reason she had come all this way. She gave it a squeeze then set it up on the dashboard with a soft clink. Before kicking up the hyperdrive she made connection back to Darth Maliphant , her master. The latency on the TunnelNetVPN ( Arken Lussk ) could act up some in hyperspace, so it was best to get it through to him now. He'd be waiting:

Item retrived and target neutralised. No loose ends.

She flicked on the neon-blue switches and charted her course for lightspeed. Should be 144 hours, give or take. Tatooine wasn't too far off the Corellian Run, so it was going to be a matter days, rather than weeks, to get back to Coruscant.

Auto-pilot on and the jump engaged, she unclipped her belt and sat with her head in her hands for a quiet moment. She then kicked off her boots, slipped out of her coat, and then her jumpsuit. She was content to leave it all in a messy pile on the cockpit floor. Stretching her arms, she got up to wander down the tunneling corridors of the ship, barefoot in her shorts and vest. It was good to feel the cool air on her skin after days of the oppressive Tatooine heat. It was just her onboard. Six days alone.

Vulturine wasn't a small ship -- plenty of bounty hunters would happily live out the last of their days in such a vessel as their only home. For one lady all by herself, it was a sprawling palace. With AI taking care of everything, Oda was all alone with her thoughts, and that of late had been taxing. Her thoughts were not hard to carry in the way jaded soldiers who had done and seen too much found them; in fact, she barely gave another thought to the pulpy remains of Rett back on Tatooine. Her kills and cruel torments never bothered her in that way. No shadow of guilt. It was fun to push a life to the edge then snuff it out. No, it was nothing like that.

She was tired.

The way in which her memory was returning after her accident was exhausting.

Traveling by herself and without distraction didn't usually bother her. She worked better alone, always had -- that she remembered and knew about herself. Silences were a relief, an opportunity, not a pain to endure. Once upon a time she could pour hours into meditation to pass the time, focusing the Force and her powers, just her and the rumble of the hyperdrive.

Not just now.

Every silence unoccupied left her mind open to invasion, forcing her to consider old memories, learn more of what she had forgotten. She was too curious, so she couldn't let it be. Instead of her peaceful meditiations she was frittering away hours with simple tasks, bearing the strain of her mind trying to knit everything back together. At first pacing seemed to help, but soon she found herself frantically jogging up and down the main corridor, metal plating thudding underfoot, until the sweat was rolling down her back. She did it for five hours.

Her memories came in drips and drabs, the strangest, smallest things seeming to set them off before sending her down a thread of more.

Lavender scent in the air scrubbers. Her mother. Proud. Noble. Her father. Both dead, but not to worry. They died revered among sith for their sacrifice. No siblings.

After dwelling, eating alone, not speaking -- only remembering -- for almost three days it was wearing her thin. Her sleep was short and feverish. Memories were piling up and up, unfolding and overflowing, becoming ever more tangled. Her childhood was starting to form, her time at the Academy, the source of her great pride, but hell it was hard trying to take it all in. It was as if her own mind was wrestling with her.

Frittering time, frittering time.

Three days in she was sitting in the pilot's seat legs up on the dash and painting her toenails plum purple, still remembering. She opened a pack of topato moss chips. Another memory.

Taste of topato. Bar in Naboo five years ago with topato barsnacks. Handsome pilot stranger with the sort of rugged face she, wrong face. You saw that face just now, you fool, when you were leaving Tatooine. No, that was five years ago. You killed him. No I didn't.

The pilot's face shifted in her mind's eye, jumping from one body in her past to another. It felt so weakening, beyond her control, like she was some senile beggarwoman from the hellhole of a planet she just left.


Just remember. Just remember it all! Why can't you bloody remember and leave it be?! Think! Think!

Oda winced and screwed her eyes shut as she was suddenly afflicted by a familiar, sharp pain, the one she had suffered when she had first come to on Maliphant's operating table; the hand holding the varnish brush twiched and smudged the skin upside her big toe. Great. Oda kicked the bulk of the panel and cursed. The soft beeps and hums of the ship were all to answer. Her gaze drifted to the monitor charting her hypersace jump as she chewed at the inside of her lip in frustration. She didn't need to check, but she felt the need to move in that moment. Leaning over she pressed some buttons and her face was bathed in a green glow.


.... SCANNING...

A while still. This would be a hellish ride.

As she drew back, Oda noticed dark little blobs on the white dashboard. She cursed under her breath... damn polish, that was going to come up hell. She licked her thumb and dragged it over the surface, cleaning up what she could.

It came up wickedly red on her skin when she smeared it between her fingers, slippery and warm. It wasn't polish.


As she hovered, confused, there was a soft patter and another blob appeared on the dashboard below the navigation screen. She raised her gaze, and there in the reflection of the interface glass she could see a faint image of herself, and a dark, wet line running down from her nostril.

She froze and watched, but she didn't panic. That wasn't her way -- without any need for memories, she knew that about herself.

It must be something to do with her crash, with her trying to fill out all the voids in her memories. It wasn't good for her. No more trying to remember, no making sense. Not for now. She steadied her nerves. Her heartbeat slowed.

Oda flopped back in the pilot's seat and pinched her bloodied nose hard with her head tilted back. Soon she could taste a metallic tang at the back of her throat. She put her legs back up on the dash and watched silent hyperspace blur by.

Three more days.

She'd need a drink after this.