Chapter 51

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"You're a droid, Echo," Daniah said with a roll of her eyes. "You don't believe, you know. Now tell me what's wrong."

"When the power surged, my programming did what it could to reroute or break circuits."


"And in this process, the hyperdrive may have been...deactivated."

"And you didn't think to re-route to something less critical, like say, your electronic brain?" Daniah exclaimed. "I'm going down to the engine bay to fix this problem, and if I can't, I swear I'm going to deactivate you before we're boarded."

"Anakin," Daniah ordered, "you handled yourself well back there, and my ship. I'll be on the comm if you need me." She grabbed a tool belt, and strapped it to her waist.

"Wait, you want me to pilot your ship, alone?" Anakin said incredulously.

"Yeah, and don't worry, I'll have Obi-Wan check on you from time to time to make sure there are no monsters under your seat." She paused at the door and said gravely, "I'll be back before the Kur'zo intercepts us."

Anakin leaned back in his chair, taking the flight deck in once again. Now that he had the run of the ship to himself and wasn't being shot at, he poured over the meters and systems he was less familiar with. The more he saw, the more he found to like.

The Halcyon had a fairly impressive tractor beam system for a ship its size. He practiced vectoring the grav beams like he used to in his E-77. Granted there wasn't a lot to vector against out here, but it might come in handy versus the Kur'zo.

Daniah's voice came in over the comm. "Anakin, I'm gonna have to patch at least two major circuits in the engine bay. Even with the help of Kenobi's engineer, it'll take at least 30 minutes. How far out is the Kur'zo?"

"At our current speed and trajectory, the Kur'zo intercepts in about 25 minutes, just before the H-point."

"We need to slow this ship down to buy time," Daniah ordered. "If we hit H-point and don't jump straight to hyperspace, those buddies of ours are likely to jump all the same. And that would leave us facing the Kur'zo alone."

"OK...I'll throttle down the engines and fake that they were partially damaged in the power surge."

"Good. I'll explain the situation to Rauoo," Daniah said ironically, and cut the channel.

With Daniah gone, Anakin noticed an incoming message from a lone interceptor tailing them from several RU away. Other than the Kur'zo, most vessels had abandoned chase at this point. There was no way they would intercept before the Halcyon jumped to hyperspace. Which made this small interceptor a curiosity. Despite his reservations, Anakin opened the message.

Before him was Chona. Chona who had singed his flesh, stabbed his tongue, and carved underneath his nails. Chona who had relished in his pain, dangled hope in front of him only to snatch it away, and done all of this and more to Owen. The purple demon's mouth opened, and her viscious voice poured out.

"I am coming for you, young pups. Sadly, our time was cut short. I had hoped to spend more time teaching you before I sent you on your journey to Jadu. Know this. I will not rest until you, and your family, and every cajala chupa who thinks they have escaped, is dead."

Anakin didn't know how long he sat there, wondering about what it would be like to have Chona hunting him, and his family, for the rest of his life. Would he be at a restaurant with Owen, when Chona sniped them both through a window? Or would Anakin choke on his food, discovering only too late that he had been poisoned? Or would he be about to take a bite, when his brother started choking, and he watched the life seep away from Owen's eyes?

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