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The Spaces Between

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Carrick Station

After the Assaults on Korriban and Tython

 

The Fleet was… the Fleet. Carrick Station was loud and smelled like spilled booze, leaky engines, and sweat. It wasn’t that she didn’t like people, she just preferred to not be in the midst of the large market crowds or jostling for a seat in the cantina. And it wasn’t that she didn’t mind being recognized, it was just tiring having to explain that she wasn’t a healer—she couldn’t cure someone’s weird rash. She couldn’t see the future, couldn’t predict market shifts or weather patterns. And if someone thought their kid was Force sensitive, they really needed to talk to someone on Tython—not her.

“You could try wearing something that doesn’t scream ‘I’m a Jedi’,” Kira suggested at her Master’s huffs of annoyance before she exited the Defender.

“I’m not even wearing the robe!” Jas said, exasperated.

“You’re still all tan with dark brown accents. Not to mention the lightsaber.”

Jas let out another irritated sigh. “Do I look alright, at least?”

“For eating noodles at Mama Tips?” Kira raised an eyebrow at her, and then squinted a bit as Jas turned around. “You’re not going to be able to avoid people when your eyeliner and lipstick says ‘hey there, flyboy’. We’re not going out for noodles, are we?”

“I’m… meeting someone.”

Both of Kira’s brows arched high. Any higher and they would have been popping off her head. “Who? It’s not the Grand Master’s secret love child is it?” There was an audible gasp and cackle from Kira as Jas frowned at her apprentice. It was all the confirmation Kira needed. “The mysterious past, clandestine career, fancy hair—yeah, I see the appeal.”

“He was instrumental in helping me fight the Empire off of Tython, if you recall.” Yes, that was totally the reason there had been a mixture of anticipation and dread of this rendezvous since Theron Shan had sent a message days ago asking to meet.

“Ah, I see. Help a girl save her homeworld and she’s all over you. I’ll remember that.”

Jas shook her head, but couldn’t help grinning at Kira. They kept each other honest, even if sometimes it was a little too honest. “Goodnight, Kira. Don’t wait up.”

“You know I am. I want all the details when you get back.”

Theron Shan: the spy with the Jedi heritage, yet no ability in the Force. That alone had made her curious. Then, he had been the voice in her ear—calculating and calm. When her heart was beating out of her chest and her blood boiled to expel the invaders from her home (never mind that they had just done the same thing to Korriban), he had been the one carefully guiding her so they would win. As always, she was the precision weapon, but this time, he had been her tactician—her minder. There was a certain affection for that role.

The fact that it was all bundled up inside a very attractive package—tall, charming, clever, a biting sort of humor she understood, and, of course, his fancy hair—made her impression of him several shades more complex.

Jas spotted him in the corner of one of the less-busy cantinas, lounging lazily with one foot propped up on his knee. He was watching a holo of several figures, including one that she recognized. She rocked slightly on the soft carpet and waited until he was finished.

“That was the Grand Master, wasn’t it?”

Theron sat up with both feet back on the floor as she approached. “She’s acting as emissary to the Drayvos League. Nowhere near Tython.”

Jas nodded. She had known the Grand Master was off-world during the time of the attack. “I have never seen her fight, but I’ve been told she’s amazing. No doubt she would have sent those Imperials packing far quicker than I did.”

She had meant it as a compliment because while she had often disagreed with the leader of the Order, Jas did admire Satele. Theron, however, seemed almost uncomfortable with what she had said. But then, she had never been one to pick up on the subtly of conversation. Of what people left unsaid or in the spaces between their words.

“We weren’t close, but that doesn’t mean I can’t check up on her.”

Jas realized he was making sure she was safe. That she hadn’t been caught in an explosion and was missing. That her ship hadn’t been ambushed. It was unexpectedly sweet, and Jas nodded again, this time feeling embarrassed for misunderstanding.

“Here.” He stood and pulled a chair from another table over to his. He waved at the bartender for two more drinks.

“Thank you.” Jas sat in the chair and nodded at the waiter who brought them twin glasses of some glowing blue-ish liquid. It was a signature drink of the establishment, though Jas usually preferred whatever was on tap. It was sweet, and bubbly, and quite a bit stronger than what she was used to. She took a polite sip and then set it back down on the table. “You’re her son, but you’re not….?”

Theron shook his head, a small smirk on his lips. “No, it seems to have skipped over me. I was actually raised to be a Jedi, but turns out it was a wasted effort.”

“I think you turned out pretty well,” she said, giving him a smile.

“Yeah.” He returned the smile, easier this time. “I’d say things have worked out just fine.”

“So you were raised like a Jedi—do you keep up with any of it? Like meditation?”

“Every morning.”

Jas wasn’t sure she could hide her shock even if she wanted to. He was still grinning, like he was pleased with himself over something. There was something in his smile—the promise of something dangerous, yet fun. A contraband that would garner rumors and disapproving looks, but would be worth every thrill. She reached for another sip of her drink and shook her head.

“Why? How often do you meditate?” he asked.

“Take a guess.”

His head tilted slightly as he looked at her. She could tell he was doing the spy-thing: sizing her up, cataloging everything he’d ever read about her in briefings and mission logs. He was going to use all those tidbits of information he’d gathered about her to make a guess. Though it was a little unnerving, Jas didn’t look away from him. The corner of her lip pulled upwards slightly as she wondered just how close he would get.

“Not often—a few times a week, maybe. More if you know you’re going to have to fight.”

Her eyes glanced down at the drink her in hand and and then back up at him before nodding slightly. “That is a very good guess. How did you come to it?”

He leaned forward slightly, his elbows resting on his knees. “You really want to know?”

She swallowed a mouthful of the alcohol, still unable to look away from him. If she hadn’t been a Jedi, if she hadn’t already known he was totally incapable of using the Force, she would have sworn he was using a mind feat on her and looking right into her soul. Realizing he was waiting for an answer, she cleared her throat. “Yes, tell me.”

“I ran into your Sergeant Rusk at the ammo shop.”

Theron laughed first, probably at her startled expression. After that stunned second, she laughed and set her drink back down on the table between them. Her cheeks felt warm, for a number of reasons. She chose to blame it on the liquor settling in her empty stomach and not the fact that he had apparently asked a member of her crew about her. She wondered what else he had asked, and what else he had been told.

“So the other reason I asked to meet—the ops, Colonel Darok… Something’s being buried here. I’m sure of it.” He sat back again in his seat and his look returned to the earlier intensity. “Are you going to take that shiny medal and go home like Darok’s hoping? Or are you ready to start digging?”

The momentary blush melted away and was replaced by an eagerness to join in whatever the spy had planned. Jas had been greatly annoyed that the Colonel had brushed her off after Tython. Clearly, there was something else going on that they—she—needed to get to the bottom of. It was her turn to move forward in her seat, practically leaning over the table towards him. “Where do we start?”

“Well—hypothetically—I’d have to recruit someone on the outside. Someone who gets to work around normal protocols—who’s often given a wide berth to work as they see fit.”

Jas frowned. He was going to find someone else to work with? Why wasn’t he just going to ask for her help?

Theron let out a sort of half sigh/half laugh and leaned towards her. They were quite close now; his nose just a few centimeters from hers. “You—I’m talking about recruiting you, Master Jedi,” he said, his voice low.

“Oh.” She let out an embarrassed chuckle and nodded for him to continue.

“Then, I’d find out everything I could about Darok and the Sith Lord you talked to. Find all the connections. Once I find something, I contact my new friend and we get to the bottom of this.” Again, the corner of his mouth quirked into a satisfied little smirk. Jas grinned right along with him—she liked this plan. “This is all hypothetical, of course.”

“Of course.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you back to your ship.”

Jas let out a small sigh and frowned again. She wasn’t ready for their—date? It wasn’t really a date. They had talked mostly business—the Jedi, a possible conspiracy—and he hadn’t even touched his drink. Whatever it was, she wasn’t ready for it to be over.

His hand hovered just over hers. Perhaps hesitant at first, but then his fingers grazed just barely against hers. Again, he spoke quietly, “There’s an Ugnaut at the bar who’s been watching us quite intently. I think it’s time we left this place.”

“I’m used to that sort of thing,” she said, thinking nothing of it. She couldn’t think of anything, really, not with his fingers lightly dancing over hers.

“But you don’t like it.”

She looked up from his fingers and back to his eyes. “There’s a complex answer to that. Maybe next time.”

“Next time,” he said with a smile. His fingers tightened around hers and he stood up, pulling her with him.

He led her out of the cantina, through the massive, crowded station corridors. At some point, he had tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow and held it there. They took the long way around back to the docks reserved for the Jedi Order. When Jas commented on that, Theron just grinned and acted like he hadn’t realized.

She still held onto his hand as they walked through the doors leading to the large platform reserved for her Defender. It was warm and firm—not sweaty or twitchy with unnecessary or nervous movement. His nails were surprisingly well-manicured, not chipped the way hers sometimes were from too much time spent in conflict. There was a callous on his wrist which she had asked about. Theron said it was from a bulky wrist comm he used to wear. The scar that she hadn’t asked about, he said was from a knife fight with a Zabrak on Dantooine. There was a mischievous glint in his eye as he told her and she tucked it away as something she would ask about another time.

When they finally made it to her ship, she reluctantly pulled her hand away. “Whether or not our hypothetical partnership uncovers anything, we should meet up again.”

“Yeah, we should.” He grinned and ducked his head slightly as he took a step back. “Until next time, Master Jedi.”

“Jasati,” she said quickly. “Or Jas. I’d rather my friends use my name.”

“Alright. Jas.”