Chapter 26

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As Til'trius ran a geolocation search in the dataverse, he groaned. His body hurt, despite bacta gel Corporal Urawa had kindly supplied him. He'd failed to mention his injuries to Kenobi, expecting the Commander to be upset enough about his misadventure. He'd been right.

Truthfully, he needed to visit a real doctor to tend to wounds, but he lacked the time. So instead he'd rented a cube at a shady cybercafe, where a lot of data junkies mingled, and resumed his work. He'd been running through sims for the op, when he received SarlaccSnax's confusing request for help.

The trace completed on this loser working to crack SKYE HQ's network. But that can't be right. 

He ran the search again. His body followed the trace, diving into the planet Rodia, flying towards the city of Iskaayuma and zipping across streets, until he stood before SKYE HQ's building A. But how could this wannabe slicer be located at SKYE?

It didn't make sense. Had a SKYE employee somehow hidden from the terrorists? If so, why wait until now to reach out for help? Perhaps he or she felt too scared, or had contacted other groups for guidance first?

Asking was the only way to find out.

"What in the force are you doing at SKYE HQ?" he said, applications packaging and transmitting his words as a message to SarlaccSnax.

"I'd love to be elsewhere," came the response in his mind, "but I'm a little occupied with being a hostage."

Til'trius was startled. Who was SarlaccSnax? He ran a quick search, and tiled information graphically in front of him.

That's right. The junior slicer did basic VI reprogramming, dabbled in program fuzzing, and had executed a few sophisticated attacks with BloodyBagels as pranks. An obvious question came to mind which made him weary.

"How'd they not take the jack off you, or disable your implants?" The terrorists couldn't possibly be that stupid.

"They did. Got a new jack. Long story."

Odd. There was no reason for SarlaccSnax to lie, for what could be gained by the deception?

So now to discover the person behind the handle. Til'trius ran a function that gathered all footage of SKYE hostages after the terrorist takeover, displaying them in a dome of panels around him. 

Another command scrubbed that footage, and Til'trius called a skin that populated figures of each SKYE employee in a formation in front of him. These figures were cross-referenced with known captives, and facial recognition software identified them. He eliminated all persons who had not entered the building SarlaccSnax was in, and removed all employees identified as Rodian terrorists.

There were only three humans figures remaining: Garon Kelde, Owen Skywalker, and Anakin Skywalker. Til'trius grunted. Chances were it was none other than a son of the SKYE CEO they were out to rescue. Unbelievable.

"Very resourceful of you, Garon," Til'trius commented.


"Good. I didn't think I was communicating with him. So which one are you, SarlaccSnax— Owen or Anakin?"

The junior slicer took his time responding, and Til'trius understood. No one liked giving up their anonymity on someone else's behest.

"How did you know that? Wait..." Snax paused, understanding. "I never should have revealed being a hostage."

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