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Chapter 20

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Til'trius stood speechless. How could Krul be responsible for the attack here on Nagobu Street and the SKYE takeover? And how did these separate acts relate to the terrorist's end game? This Rodian was everywhere, his resources incomprehensibly vast. 

"I hope you enjoyed the firework show," the voice accompanying the holosculpture continued. The panicked crowd, still floundering, quieted slightly due to curiosity. "You came to this part of the city to be entertained, and I didn't want to disappoint."

Paying closer attention, Til'trius noticed the voice lacked Krul's unique timbre. Yet the voice was naggingly familiar, a quick mental query revealed why. It belonged to his old "buddy" Pijo.

Til'trius grunted. Decide to show up this afternoon, and milk off Krul's tirades?

He summoned his aircycle, and ran a search, which uncovered the source of Pijo's transmission: a physical breach to the otherwise secure municipal local area network. Someone — Pijo even — was accessing it just blocks from here?

"We've freed you from these distractions," continued Pijo's voice, "these idols to humanity, such as the sensationary lounges, where you parasitically live off the experiences of rich humans and the galaxy's indifferent upper crust. Don't you see?" He paused for dramatic effect. How obnoxious. "The sensationaries are shadows designed to pacify you, even as they degrade and mock you. They showcase opportunities denied you, which should have been yours all along; not experienced second hand.

Why can't the everyday Rodian expect to explore the verdant oceans of Dunmar, or the luminescent Jitruvian wastes? Or to wax domestic, own a home not in slums, not crammed with three other families?

These sensationary 'experiences' are given out as scraps to a household pet. With them, we forget ourselves. So go home. Don't numb your minds when one of the greatest events in our history occurs. Listen to the te Rosin shown before you. The stars and their treasures will be ours again if we but—"

Til'trius stopped listening upon spotting his aircycle approach. He made it honk at other air and hover craft to get out of its way. He put on his riding goggles to protect his lidless Bith eyes, and as he reached towards the vehicle, Muru asked, "What in jadu do you think you're doing, baby?"

He mounted the aircycle and zipped away silently, while Muru grumbled about ingratitude and him not taking her with him. No way he could seat her fat butt on the cycle anyway. Yet as he gained altitude, moving expertly around other vehicles scrambling to flee the dangerous scene at Nagobu street, Muru's question lingered in his mind.

Just what was he doing? He'd already committed himself to an operation, and Commander Kenobi counted on him. He couldn't afford to get injured, or worse.

You're a slicer; not a super soldier. You could die. He should reset his course.

He didn't. Pijo was close, and hadn't he killed potentially as many people as Krul right now, and countless scores before? Wasn't stopping him worth his attention?

Moreover, Pijo's actions were partly his responsibility. Under the Republic's behest, Til'trius trained that "supposedly reformed," slithering dianoga, before Pijo betrayed Republic intel to terrorists. Maybe he'd even helped Krul plan the SKYE attack. These bombings following right after Pawa Wanga's trial felt too convenient.

Whatever the case, Til'trius would close the loop on that mistake on training Pijo. Now was his chance. But what would he do if he found him?

Til'trius arrived on location before his thoughts could resolve themselves. Two autori squad speeders were already on scene, soldiers piling out of the vehicles with blaster rifles ready. Their responsiveness impressed Til'trius. Perhaps the SKYE crisis perked security up a notch, or perhaps now that actual Rodians got hurt they gave a damn.

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