Now that I know you work for them,
Now that I know your life is based around such lives and corporate greed,
You only believe what you are told,
You only defend laws that are old because it’s law,
Don’t make it right
And now I’m jaded, friends turn to enemies,
All my life,
I’ve done what I’ve been asked,
So who is right?
The one behind the mask
Behind the Mask, Goldfinger
If I become what they had taught me that is wrong,
I lose allegiance to the country that I’m born,
The country that I am born,
I always knew that they would find nothing,
No weapons, just a mind of my own,
This country was built only on treason,
These homes for the slaves,
Homes for the slaves
Iron Fist, Goldfinger
“You said, wolfman, that when you took my daughter away that she would stop living a life of crime, yet I have this,” Kaitlin’s father thrust the poster displaying his daughter’s bounty in Flik Sivrak’s face. After deciding to visit her parents on their trip to Ord Mantell, seeking a smuggler to help supply the new Ackley base on Uvena III with hardware, food and medical supplies, Flik was beginning to think stopping off at the farm belonging to Kat’s parents was a bad idea.
Azara, Kaitlin’s mother backed her husband up. “You said you’d wanted to take her away for schooling, Mr Sivrak,” she said, trying to be more respectful, as Flik and Shiba had secured the funds they needed to set up their farm again, even if it was on Ord Mantell and not their home on Chandrilla. “Yet we find our daughter is a wanted terrorist.” She used the tone of care to explain this? she used with her children.
Shiba glanced over at Flik, her gaze asking him if she should tell them the truth, but Flik shook his head negatively. He didn’t want to reveal that if they didn’t have to.
“I know that it looks dire -” Flik began, but Kat’s father’s angry outburst cut him off.
“Dire? Dire? You’ve ruined her life, wolfman.”
Flik used Jedi breathing exercises to calm himself down, lest he let his species’ natural response to such aggression take control of him. Shiba had no such compunction.
Shiba snorted, rather unlady-like. “From what I saw, Mr Ros, your daughter had already done a good job messing up her own life herself before we intervened.”
“That’s enough, Shiba,” Flik said, having regained control of himself. “Let me handle this.”
Shiba shot daggers at him – she resented it when he talked to her as he would the rest of the Ackley, instead of has his wife, but she understood the need to present a united front in front of these people, just like they’d had to when dealing with Hutts and other clients during their time as bounty hunters. That conversation would have to come later.
“I see no choice but to disown her,” Kaitlin’s father’s next announcement brought Shiba’s attention back to him.
“Andrin!” Azara said, exasperated.
“Oh do shut up woman! Do you really think I wanted to do this?” he rounded on her. “She was never content with just being a petty criminal – she’s become dangerous too. I don’t want the Empire coming here and taking away our livelihood again.”
Shiba exchanged a glance with Flik as the “enemy” fought amongst themselves. She caught a self-satisfied grin on his face that quickly evaporated before their “enemy” could notice.
“So this, this farm is more important to you than our daughter?” Azara all but screamed at him.
“We have other children, Azara. It’s them I’m thinking about. I’m doing this for Danin, Lena and Joel. Kaitlin is no longer our daughter.”
Shiba looked like she was going to deck the man, but a restraining hand on her shoulder calmed her enough to prevent that.
“I think it’s time we should tell them,” Shiba said, instead.
Flik reluctantly nodded his agreement as Andrin broke off from his heated discussion with his wife. “Tell us what, wolfman?” he asked, deliberately ignoring Shiba.
Shiba reached for the blaster that usually hung in the holster at her hip, but remembered when her fingers brushed empty air that she’d left it in the hired landspeeder they’d used to get out here. They usually used the swoop, but with the three of them, it had been more convenient to use a landspeeder than a swoop. Thinking of which, Kaitlin herself hadn’t spoken a word since greeting her parents when they first arrived.
“For the past eight months, your daughter has been a member of the Ackley, an elite group of Rebel Commandos. Since she’s been with us, I’ve taught her piloting skills and Shiba here as taught her basic medicine. As we are Rebel Commandos, we all have a bounty or death mark on our heads.”
“You think this makes things any better? Even knowing that she’s a Rebel could implicate us as well.”
Flik understood the man’s fear. Guilty by association. His entire family as far as he knew, had met their deaths at the hands of the Empire, apart from himself and his grandson, Zak, though there was a remote possibility that his niece and nephew, Nakita and Ryqik Dek were still alive, but as yet he had no proof.
He tried to put a positive note on the situation. “It is only a matter of time before the Empire is gone for good. Palpatine and Vader are both dead. Your family will one day be safe.”
“Look, it’s not that I don’t want the Empire to be gone, I do, nor do I not appreciate the sacrifice you and your people make, but I just never expected my family to be involved. I just can’t have the battle on my own doorstep. You understand that, don’t you?”
“Of course,” Flik said, remembering the old epitome – for evil to succeed, it only needs good men to do nothing. Even with Palpatine gone, his legacy of fear looked set to remain for sometime to come. He was glad he had such people like this man’s daughter in the Ackley who weren’t afraid to stand up to oppose that evil.
It seemed that there was nothing more he and Shiba could do here.
“Shiba, Kaitlin, I think it’s time we left,” Flik said, heading for the door. He stopped in his tracks and turned around at the sound of Shiba’s voice.
“Just a minute, Flik. Kat’s not here,” Shiba said.
Since observing that Kat had been too quiet, during the heated discussion with her parents, Shiba had looked around for her, but couldn’t find her and concluded that she must have slipped out unnoticed.
Flik muttered a silent curse to himself as he scouted around the room for her scent. He found it and followed her trail to the back door and went outside, skirted around the house and farm outbuildings until he was at the front of the house, before confirming that she was indeed, gone, as the landspeeder they had hired was missing too.
“Great! She took off!” Shiba exclaimed, having followed him, with Kat’s parents in tow.
“Azara, go get Danin, so he can drive these folks out of here,” Andrin ordered his wife.
Azara nodded silently and went back into the house to fetch her oldest son. The harsh note in Andrin’s voice suggested that he didn’t like the fact that he would have to give them the use of his landspeeder, but he wanted to get them off his property as soon as he could. Flik and Shiba didn’t mind; they didn’t want to remain on the farm any longer than necessity dictated, either.