Chapter 38, Part 3

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"Excuse me," the Rodian officer said to Daniah, "But your vessel has been selected for extra inspection." Muru gave a winced, "I told you this might happen" look.

"There must be some mistake," Daniah protested. "We've already been cleared by customs and traffic control."

"The autori is conducting its own inspections today, in response to the SKYE and Nagobu street attacks. We're taking extra precautions and want to get to the bottom of this fiasco. Frankly, we're surprised cajalas would dare visiting Iskaayuma right now."

"Business can't stop for just any old danger that arises."

The Rodian shrugged. "Sounds like a stupid attitude to me, but it's your life. I just need to ascertain you're not endangering anyone else's."

"Fine. What can we do to be on our way?"

The Rodian nodded. "I'll need IDs verifying the background check conducted by traffic control. My droid and I need to scan your ship, and I'll need to gather details on your visit to Rodia."

Daniah turned to Ben, who took a deep breath, and said with that authoritative yet relaxed tone only he could muster, "You don't need to accompany your droid aboard our ship."

"I don't need to accompany my droid above your ship," repeated the autori soldier.

"Tell the droid to 'Conduct the investigation alone.'"

The Rodian looked over to the droid. "Conduct the investigation alone." The droid beeped an affirmative.

The repetitious nature of the conversation creeped Daniah out. She wondered if it ever bothered Ben to use the force in this way; to treat people like puppets.

Daniah saw Ben flick his eyes towards the droid and shake his head slightly. The Jedi's message was clear: his mind tricks would have no impact on the droid. But why didn't he just ask the autori to call off his droid then? Would it protest with this being against protocols and dispel the illusion? She figured Ben knew the limits of the force better than she did, so she let it go.

It was a good thing she'd stowed away their equipment in the gun wells. With Echo, she had no need for the weapon turrets to be fired manually, and so she'd walled them off and converted them into covert cargo holds.

She'd learned in more than one way not to be dependent on a Jedi. Ben had been supportive of her precautions. After sharing Muru's texts about the random inspections, he admitted he couldn't guarantee his mind-influencing powers would work.

Now to think quickly through a backstory. Daniah turned on a comm channel so that Echo could listen in and said to Ben, "Regar, If you wouldn't mind laying out the details of our exotic backpacking trip in the Nageezi range with Muru and --" she looked at the autori soldier's badge, "--Officer Guti here, I would appreciate it." She grabbed the autori droid's arm. "I'll escort the droid aboard our ship, so he can run his checklist." Echo had better deduce the situation, or they could be in trouble.

Daniah and the droid walked back towards the Halcyon. "What do you need to complete your ship inspection?" she asked.

"Task is twofold," replied the droid. "One, to search the vessel and its cargo. Two, to collect your travel logs and travel plans."

Daniah messaged her astromech to doctor up contrived travel information immediately. They went up the Halcyon's ramp and into the cargo bay, and Daniah stalled for time. "Oh, don't mind the walls," she said. "Recent containment failure. Very unfortunate. Lost expensive goods. I've repaired the malfunction since then, but haven't gotten the--"

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