The little girl stared up at the shadow that towered over her.
He was a tall Deveronian, with coppery red skin, a pointed face and two large dark horns sticking out of his bald head that cast an eerie shadow in the dim light of the warehouse. His yellow eyes were surprised as they beheld the child half hidden behind the crate.
She was a small little human, thin and dressed all in grey rags. She stared up at the blaster he aimed at her face with wide eyes, half hidden behind grimy dark hair and a filth covered face.
"Well, this is unexpected" The deveronian said, and despite his frightening features his voice was gentle as he chuckled softly and lowered his blaster. "What are you doing here little one?"
The girl shrank away.
"Now don't be like that kiddo. I may look like a demon but I don't bite I promise." he held out his hand towards her.
She didn't move. She just stared up at him fearfully, clutching in terror at her stomach as it gave an audible warble.
"Hungry are you?" The Deveronian sighed and rummaged around in his pocket. "Here"
He unwrapped the small nutrition bar and held it out for her in the palm of his hand.
For the first time since he saw her the girl leaned forwards in his direction, her gaze suddenly fixing itself on the bar of food. She reached out timidly, and the alien noticed her small fingers were dangerously thin as they wrapped around her prize. Upon catching sight of his suddenly grim expression, the girl snatched the nutrition bar out of his hands and scuttled backwards.
"Hey wait-" But too late, the girl was gone.
She winced as she opened her eyes.
Just a dream…nothing more. Ouch!
She rubbed her throbbing head, as she blinked up at the ceiling of her cell.
It was blank and black, but she didn't really care. She was too busy berating herself for her stupidity.
Though she may have been young by the standards of her chosen (for lack of a better word) profession she still should've known that this job was too good to be true.
Neimoidians were notoriously stingy with their money. And this lot of spineless wimps from the Trade Federation were no exception. Indeed, they set the prime example.
They wouldn't have willingly paid for something as trivial as the hit they'd hired her for. Especially if they could simply dispose of her afterwards with their droids…or arrange to put a slave's transmitter chip in her body as they were planning.
Whilst slavery was illegal in this part of the galaxy, this bunch of Neimoidians were certainly keen on the idea. After all, why waste your precious money paying for services when you have a slave do it for free? Especially if the slave was a highly trained bounty hunter.
Like Una Crest.
She looked down at herself, smirking as she felt around her person. The stupid droids that had dragged her unconscious body down here had forgotten to take away her small military grade hold-out blaster from its back holster. In fact, most of her gear was still on her, except for her larger rifle and standard blaster. Even her small vibro-blade was tucked neatly in the inside pocket of her hooded dark red jacket.
Obviously, they'd thought the knock out drug they'd injected into her would keep her sedated while their even dumber alien leaders, bumbled around searching for a satisfactory slave chip to insert into her body.
Whilst Una, didn't usually care much about race or species, she did have to admit, she was growing to hate this group of aliens with each passing minute.
They were, to put it simply, just plain pathetic, and that was saying a lot as she'd met some wretched characters in her less than savoury line of work.
And yet she'd let them capture her.
She supposed this was the universe's way of getting back at her for her own stupidity.
Slyde would have my head if he knew what I'd gotten myself into.
She mused to herself glumly as she glanced at the door of her cell. Outside it she could hear the two stick-like droids speaking robotically into the corridor as they delivered an update on her condition.
She frowned a little as she quietly listened to their speech, wondering vaguely how long it would take for the idiot with the slave chip to come and finish his job.
It can't take this long to find one tiny chip. They're droid manufacturers for crying out loud.
She rolled her eyes, fingering her blaster pressed into the small of her back as she approached the door.
Well, she'd spent enough time feeling sorry for herself. Now it was time to get even and get paid.
After all a bounty hunter always gets his due
She smirked as she quietly sidled up to the doorway and gave a loud cry.
"Ahhh! Help please I need help! Can't-can't breathe-" she forced a fake choking sound, laughing to herself when the alarmed droids on the other side of the door quickly jumped into action.
"Prisoner claims to be in physical distress" one of them robotically "possible respiratory-system malfunction -requesting permission to enter cell."
"Permission granted." Another droid said "Open the doors"
Una rolled her eyes.
This was just too easy.
When Master Qui-Gon Jinn ad Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi both stepped off their spacecraft they both bristled at once. There was something in the force, a nudge, if nudge it could be called, from the depths of this very space station.
If either Jedi or Padawan were concerned about it they didn't show it as they graciously followed the silver protocol droid Tee-cee-fourteen out of the hangar and further into the ship.
They were quickly ushered into what looked like a conference room with a large table set with many chairs.
"We are greatly honoured by your visit, Ambassadors. Make yourselves comfortable, my master shall be with you shortly." Tee-cee-fourteen, bobbed its head docility before bustling out of the doors which shut tight behind it.
As soon as the doors were sealed shut, the two Jedi lowered the hoods of their brown robes.
"I have a bad feeling about this" the younger with the short auburn hair and a small Padawan braid, folded his arms in his sleeves, brow furrowed anxiously.
The elder of the two, an older man with dark brown hair and beard peppered with grey seemed calm in comparison as he softly spoke.
"I don't sense anything"
"It's not about the mission master. It's something elsewhere…illusive" he muttered, eyes darting around nervously as they slowly strode up towards a large window opposite them.
"Don't centre on your anxieties Obi-Wan. Keep your concentration here and in the now where it belongs." Qui-Gon clipped quietly, staring out onto the vast expanse of space outside.
"But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future" Obi-Wan frowned in confusion, much to his master's slight amusement. Mature though he may be in many ways, his Padawan was still very much green in others.
"But not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living force, young Padawan"
Obi-Wan said, calmly, though the slight furrow in his brow betrayed his own concerns as he felt through the force. He wasn't sure why, but he felt genuinely like something was going to go wrong for them. Also there was someone else here…
Qui-Gon smirked slightly at the determined look on his Padawan's face. Obi-Wan was a stubborn one, always had been, and always would be. Even so…
The old master turned his attention now towards the still shut conference room door. He could feel the life force of, not one, but many beings aboard this station, many of them afraid and nervous by their presence. All save one, which seemed to be determined to move about erratically, almost desperately, it's purpose not quite clear, its form somehow brighter amidst all the dark shadows cast into the Force.
Perhaps this being was the elusive disturbance in the force Obi-Wan was sensing?
If so, he hoped for their sake it was not antagonistic. The Nemoidians on this station seemed disturbed and wary, and already he could feel that it wouldn't be easy to sway them to the Chancellors demands. It would truly be tiresome to have to deal with another hostile adversary in addition to their formal duties as ambassadors.
By the gods, you'd think the Trade Federation would think to invest in smarter droids
Una rolled her eyes as she quietly slid out of the ventilation shaft and down into the corridor. She was finally out of the station's detention centre, but so far there had been no raising of security, nor any patrols alerted to her situation. Obviously, her escape had gone mostly unnoticed. Then again, the Viceroy and his deputy had wanted to keep her presence on the ship as hushed up as normal.
They must not think I'm that important after all.
She almost felt insulted. She was one of the best in her field of work, and took great pride in her skills as a bounty hunter.
However, seeing as her present state of anonymity currently worked in her favour in keeping her alive and not being shot at, she was willing to overlook such insolence and focus on the tasks ahead. Tasks like getting paid for her job, and payback if that didn't work.
A bounty hunter always gets his due.
She repeated to herself silently, slipping her small blaster up her jacket sleeve, dark brown eyes darting around.
But even as she walked down the deserted corridors, she could hear frantic small groups of Nemoidian drudges hissing and whispering about the arrival of some ambassadors sent by the supreme chancellor.
Ah…so they don't want to cause a scene in front of these ambassadors, do they? That explains it.
She wondered vaguely who these ambassadors could be to warrant such worry. She could tell at once that their concern wasn't the usual nervousness of an impending business deal. No this was pure fear.
And soon she saw the reason for it.
"Shit." She breathed.
There was Naboo, the magnificent, gigantic beautiful blue and green marble she had just been admiring in her ship several hours ago from a distance, now surrounded by a ring of other smaller black space stations, which orbited like an asteroid belt.
Though she'd never seen such a spectacle in her life, she knew at once what it must mean.
"Blockade…" she frowned as she caught sight of her faint reflection in the glass.
A young woman, no more than twenty years old, stared back at her. Two cat-like dark eyes narrowed from within a lightly tanned skinned, angular face. Her wavy long black hair, already streaked with some strands of grey, was tied back into a high ponytail of cornrow braids which stood out starkly contrasting with the high collared blood red jacket she wore over her armored skin tight blue-black jumpsuit.
Trust her luck to be stuck in the middle of these messy stupid politics.
She shook her head and sighed.
She was wasting time. She needed to get back to her ship and re arm herself. She wasn't going to be much of a threat against armed droids with her tiny blaster. Well she could, but she'd often found that a rifle always looked far more intimidating when handling "business negotiations".
She had almost reached the main hangar where she'd docked her spacecraft when something shiny caught the corner of her eye.
She turned quickly and saw a silver protocol droid bumbling along down the corridor, a tray of refreshments held tight in its hands. It was a shinier newer model than the other protocol droids she'd seen closer to the brig. She wondered whom it was serving.
Despite her urgency to get herself another rifle from her ship, Una found her feet drawn to follow the droid's path. She couldn't explain why, but her gut was telling her that wherever the droid was going it was probably going to be useful. And Una always trusted her gut.
She quickly caught up to the droid, and it turned with a slight jolt, surprised at her sudden appearance.
"Oh, hello. I am Tee-Cee-fourteen. How might I be of assistance."
"My name is Una Crest, I have business dealings with your masters. Would it be possible for you to guide me to them? As you can see I'm a bit lost." Una responded cordially, carefully fingering her blaster in her sleeve, just in case.
But the droid did not seem alarmed at all. On the contrary it bobbed its head and said robotically:
"Of course, it would be my pleasure to serve you. However, I am afraid the masters are unable to talk right now. They will be shortly in proceedings with the Supreme Chancellors Ambassadors-"
"I know. That is why I am here. I am from the ambassador's ship and I need to deliver an urgent message to them and your masters" Una lied, the words slipping from her mouth easily.
The droid didn't even bother to check her credentials, as with a civil and courteous bob of the head it acquiesced to her request and led her down towards its destination.
Una kept her face schooled into one of blank politeness, though her mind was racing as a plan began to form in her cunning mind.
So this droid was serving those ambassadors were they? They must've been here to stop the blockade. Normally Una made it a point to never take on a job that got her involved in politics, but considering her current situation and her lust for payback, she was willing to bend her rules just a little.
Of course, she could just get a bigger gun and point it at the Viceroy's head if he didn't pay her up front. But where would be the fun in that? But if she were to ask for payment nicely in front of these Ambassadors… They'd have no choice but to give into her demands without looking suspicious.
Being caught in illegal dealings was bad for business. The last thing they'd want would be for her to spill the beans on all the sordid work she'd done for the Trade Federation in recent days…especially since it looked like it had contributed to this suspiciously hostile blockade on one of the most pacifist planets in the Republic.
Oh those sleemos would be squirming in their seats!
She could practically smell the credits pouring into her pocket as Tee-Cee-Fourteen, led her into a conference room where two men were sitting.
Or rather, two Jedi in brown robes.
Una's eyebrows shot up slightly in surprise as she drank in their features. One was young one old.
A master and a Padawan.
She mused. She had never met a jedi before, but had heard a lot about them from Slyde, who himself had said he'd only seen a couple in his long life.
Padawans, he'd told her, always wore a small braid on the left, like the one the young man had on his head which she saw as his head whipped around to look at her. He looked to be about her age, maybe even a couple of years older. She wondered vaguely how far he was into his apprenticeship, for though he wore the braid, he looked sure of himself as he met her gaze in surprise.
As Tee-Cee-Fourteen announced her presence he opened his mouth to speak, only to be silenced by his elder who looked upon her face, scanning it intently as she took a seat at the table a few feet away.
"Would you like me to get you some refreshments as well Miss Crest?" the protocol droid asked and Una nodded.
"Yes please, and make it something strong."
"Of course ma'am." The droid bobbed its head and bustled out the door again. Once the doors were shut the older Jedi, spoke his voice careful and measured.
"You're not from our ship."
"No. I'm not" Una smirked leaning back in her chair.
"Then why are you here?" the younger one clipped, his small scowl not quite able to cover his own curiosity as he looked her over.
"I have, what you might call, unfinished business with these Nemoidians" she said carefully "And they weren't responding to my calls so I thought a more physical presence might speed things up."
"And what kind of unfinished business would a Bounty Hunter want with the Viceroy of the Trade Federation?" The older Jedi's eyes narrowed ever so slightly.
"I would tell you-" Una shrugged nonchalantly. "-but if I did I'd be breaking the confidentiality agreement I have with my current employers, and that would be bad for business"
"So why join us here?" the young Padawan asked swiftly not missing a tack "Why sit here with us when you could go and meet the Viceroy face to face and talk business in private?"
"Because, like I said, the Viceroy has been avoiding me. But he won't be ignoring you two,"
"So you're using us to get to him?" the older Jedi straightened up eyeing her sleeve where she had the gun which glimmered for a split second.
"Don't worry, I'm not here to kill him. I just need to negotiate my payment and I'll be out of everyone's hair. Contrary to popular belief not all of us hunters are bloodthirsty thugs"
"I'm glad to hear it" the older Jedi relaxed in his chair. "My Name is Qui-Gon Jinn. And this is my Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi"
"Una Crest" Una bobbed her head at both the Jedi, before turning her head to the door as the silver protocol droid returned, carrying a second tray with a tumbler of amber alcohol and two metal cups of water.
"So how long have you two been waiting in here?" Una took the glass with a nod of thanks.
"Quite a while actually" Obi-Wan turned to Qui-Gon. "Now that I think of it, we still haven't heard word of when they'll come down. Is it in their nature to make us wait this long?"
"No." Qui-Gon's brow furrowed as he looked around the room at large "I sense an unusual amount of fear for something as trivial as this trade dispute"
"You aren't wrong there" Una muttered taking a rather unladylike swig from her drink, "everyone I've passed on my way here seems on edge. It seems you two have caused quite the stir. Even the security droids seem on edge. Then again if I had two Jedi on my space station I would be nervous too."
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Obi-Wan asked sharply.
Una just shrugged.
"Listen, I don't know much of the situation here, but it doesn't take a genius to see that these bastards are up to something weird. And if I were in their shoes, the last thing I'd want is for the galaxy's peace keepers on my front doorstep demanding to know what's going on."
She took another sip of her drink, resisting the urge to bristle uncomfortably as Qui-Gon fixed her in his stare once more.
However, unlike before, he seemed to be looking at her with curiosity.
And not without reason.
Not many people, let alone women, could make a successful living out of being a Bounty Hunter. It was a difficult job, filled with a lot of risk and hardship, and often it would take many years for someone to gain recognition for their skills, especially from high paying employers such as the Trade Federation.
Yet she had done so, and she was barely a few years younger than his own Padawan. Under the jacket and jumpsuit, he could make out her build. Lithe, tough but feminine enough to disguise her strength.
Her mind too, sharp and keen like her cat like eyes. He watched as she relaxed her hand and let her blaster slip down her sleeve slightly.
A normal person might've assumed she kept it there at the ready because she was wary of strangers. But Qui-Gon knew that she kept it there in his line of sight on purpose as proof what he already suspected.
So…there was something suspicious about the Trade Federation's movements. The fact that they had to hire a bounty hunter alone was seedy enough.
He wondered what kind of job they'd hired her to do. She was a killer, that much was plain to see what with the confident way she held herself in their presence. But she wasn't brainless or trigger happy. She was cunning, smart, calculating, and obviously NOT happy about not getting paid her due on time, hence her blatant attempt at blackmail.
Had he not been so concerned about the entire situation, he might've been impressed by her daring.
He could sense his Padawan was less impressed as he glanced at her suspiciously. Una just smirked a little in amusement, silently challenging him to put voice to his frustrations out loud.
This should be interesting
The corners of the Jedi Master's lips quirked upwards as he watched the two younger people sizing each other up.
But then the moment was broken as Una suddenly leapt to her feet.
It was as if someone had set off a bomb inside her.
One minute Una was feeling just the overwhelming tension hanging low in the air. The next it was almost as if a shockwave had blasted through her.
The explosion, (for what else could it be?) had barely been close at all, and yet she could feel it as if it had happened in the room right next to her. And what were those screams of pain she heard?
They didn't come through her ears, but rather they just flickered like faint memories on the surface of her brain.
"What's wrong?" she heard Qui-Gon's sharp question as she turned to look at them eyes narrowed.
"I don't know what is going on but you two need to get out of here. NOW!"
"What do you me-" but Obi-Wan's frown was cut off quickly as a deep rumble suddenly sounded below them and the ground shook.
The Jedi both leapt to their feet, blurs of blue and green illuminating their faces as they drew their lightsabres.
Despite her alarm at the situation, she had to admit, she was impressed by the sight, though it was quickly ended as something hissed from their feet.
They all looked down just in time to see what looked like white smoke issuing from the air vents.
"Dioxis" Qui-Gon muttered and at once all three of them quickly sucked in a deep breath, the two males quickly extinguishing their sabres.
Just my luck I'm stuck with these two trouble magnets.
Una rolled her eyes at herself as she heard the hiss of the doors opening and the bustling of Tee-Cee-fourteen as it exited the room with a shocked:
"Oh, Excuse me"
Still holding her breath, she let her small blaster slip down into her hand as she heard the metallic thumps of metal feet shifting towards the now open door.
"Check it out Corporal, we'll cover you" One battle droid spoke.
"Roger, Roger" another droid responded.
Beside her Una saw the Jedi both reignite their sabers.
"Uh-oh. Blast the-" but the droid did not have time to complete the sentence as a blaster bolt from Una promptly hit him in the head.
Beside her she could see the two Jedi launch themselves at the small squad, their sabers flying as they swept down upon the thin stick like droids who desperately tried firing at them.
Unfortunately, they were quickly overwhelmed by the swiftly swung light sabers and clean shots from Una's firearm, one of which missed Obi-Wan's ear by a couple of millimeters to hit the last droid.
"Cutting it close aren't you?" he scowled at her as she strode forwards to snag a larger blaster from the fallen droid.
"Believe me Junior, if I wanted to shoot you I would've done so already" She snapped waspishly as she prepped the weapon in her arms testing its weight. It was light, and weaker than her more powerful rifles, but it would have to do.
Obi-Wan looked ready to retort but was stopped by Qui-Gon's bark of:
"Enough! We need to keep moving before the next squad comes"
They all quickly hurried away, Una vaguely wondering to herself why she was joining them. By all means she should be running back to her ship.
Only she probably had no ship left to go back to, since she was quite sure that explosion they had just felt had come from the main hangar.
I'm never going to get paid, am I?
She sighed heavily, as lazily, she shot a couple of droids that tried to ambush them from a corridor to the side. She didn't even need to look to know she had hit them.
"Your aim is impressive." Qui-Gon nodded at her as they strode down the next corridor.
"pff! Childs play" she rolled her eyes. "The bridge is through there if I remember correctly"
She pointed down a corridor to their left, where a solitary door had just quickly shut at the very end.
They quickly rushed towards it, Una firing at the droids that had started to spill into the corridor behind them.
Obi-Wan joined her in their defence, deftly deflecting blasts with his lightsabre. Once or twice he and his master threw several droids back with a small force push from their bare hands.
Una wondered at this display of power. Like most children in her youth, she'd only heard of the abilities of the Jedi, but never once dreamed she'd ever get to see them in action.
She had to admit it was impressive even just to see Qui-Gon's lightsabre disappear into the now fortified blast doors behind them. The heat was so intense that the metal melted under the sheer power of the blade.
Then something grinded behind them, something that sounded to Una like two metal wheels clunking round and round on the floor.
"Master, Destroyers!" Obi-Wan called and Qui-Gon quickly retreated from the half-melted door to flank his Padawan.
"Blast it!" Una scowled as two circular droids rolled into view. She remembered seeing them the first time she'd come aboard the station, guarding the Viceroy.
They reminded her unpleasantly of the Colicoids she and Slyde had once faced before. They'd been chasing a rather slippery fiend who'd somehow managed to worm his way onto Colla IV to hide, only to get eaten alive by the Colicoids who'd found him trespassing on their nest. His two hunters barely had found his half-eaten corpse before they themselves had to escape from the insectoid alien's clutches.
Even five years afterwards, the events still brought a shiver of disgust to Una's spine as she fired upon the destroyer droids. However, her shots had little effect, as both droids were suddenly surrounded by transparent blue orbs of energy.
"They have shield generators" Obi-wan cried out pushing Una behind him and his master as he deflected the blasts with his lightsabre.
"Well spotted captain obvious" Una grumbled as she aimed a shot between the two jedi, which promptly bounced off their deflector shields and into the nearby wall.
"It's a standoff. Let's go." Qui-Grabbed her shoulder and quickly steered her out of the way, just in time to avoid the red bolt of energy that had aimed for her head.
They all began to run, Una cursing herself and her rotten luck as the source of her credits got further and further away from her.
"Why me?" she growled as they turned a corner and hit a dead end "What the hell did I do to deserve all this shit?"
"Well you did try to blackmail the Viceroy of the Trade Federation" Obi-Wan suggested sardonically. He had to admit he was a little pleased with himself as she narrowed her eyes dangerously at him.
"Maybe I wouldn't have to blackmail them if they only kept their end of the deal." she spat angrily. "I did their job, I asked no questions. But do they pay me? No! Instead they dump me in a cell and try and put a slaver's chip in me!"
"Slavers chip?" Qui-Gon stopped abruptly, eyes narrowed suspiciously. "They tried to enslave you, illegally?"
"Yeah! I know! Can you believe it?!" Una threw up her arms in frustration. "I mean why else would I be here trying to blast their brains out?"
"I hate to interrupt your conversation Master, but I sense we won't be alone for very long" Obi-Wan hissed eyes darting back down the path they'd come. Sure, enough they could hear the approaching footsteps of droids from around the corner.
"The ventilation shafts. Quickly!" Qui-Gon pointed to the vents above their heads.
"You've got to be kidding me." Una groaned as she watched the two Jedi climb up into the vent, Obi-Wan smirking at her from his spot.
"If you really wanted to you could stay here and let the droids shoot you"
"Oh, shut up Junior!"
"They are no match for Droidekas" the Nemoidian Viceroy's right hand smirked as they watched the surveillance feed from the corridor outside. In it the two Jedi and the Bounty Hunter running from said destroyer droids, the latter most blasting a nearby panel that forced a pair of doors shut behind them.
"Sir. They've gone up the ventilation shaft" one of the nearby drones called out from his section.
"Even the Hunter?" the Viceroy gulped nervously.
"Yes sir" the Drone nodded.
"I told you we should've disposed of her" his Advisor hissed. "Now she'll tell them everything"
"Not everything." The Viceroy mumbled, though his voice still wavered unsurely "She-she still does not know what was on that data disk we had her bring back. She only killed the fool that carried it and brought it back before anything could happen-"
"For all our sakes I hope you're right" His Advisor muttered under his breath.
"Sir," another drone from their right suddenly piped up "A transmission from the planet"
"it's Queen Amidala herself" the Advisor exclaimed in surprise as the pale painted face of a beautiful woman, garbed all in red with an elaborate headdress filled the communications screen.
"At last we are getting results" The Viceroy smiled.
At least this part of his day was going correct. He shuddered to think what would happen if they failed in this part of their bargain.
Lord Sidious would have their heads.
"Thank the gods" Una breathed as she landed in a crouch behind Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon.
After ages crawling through those cramped air vents, the two jedi and the bounty hunter had all finally found their way into what appeared to be a large hangar.
They quickly hid behind several crates of supplies, yet to be moved by the many droids rushing to stand in neat organized rows. All around them, large armed ships stood, silent and waiting.
"Battle droids?" Qui-Gon frowned.
"It's an invasion army" Obi-Wan scanned the many rows, upon rows of droids.
"But why?" Una whispered. "Naboo's one of the most goodie-two-shoes planets there is. Why attack them?"
"I don't know. This is an odd play for the Trade Federation." Qui-Gon admitted turning quickly to his two young companions "We've got to warn the Naboo and contact Chancellor Vallorum. Let's split up, stow aboard separate ships and meet down on the planet. Yes you too Una"
He added as Una quirked a brow at him. "You're in enough trouble as it stands. They'd kill you if you stayed-"
"And my safety is important to you because?" she deadpanned
"Because you've worked with the Trade Federation-"
"And you want me to spill the beans on them" She rolled her eyes, ignoring Obi-Wan's stony stare of annoyance in her direction.
Well, she supposed it was only natural they'd want her for information. She had after all admitted to doing some of the Trade Federation's dirty work.
However, ratting out information about previous jobs for free was just bad business. But then again, so was not paying a bounty hunter for their services.
So, she did what any reasonable bounty hunter in her position did, she asked:
"Alright. Say I do spill the beans then what? How much get out of this shindig?"
"You'd live to see another day, and possibly help save millions from total annihilation." Obi-Wan clipped coolly his face not even bothering to hide his sarcasm as she glared at him from the corner of her eye.
"Wasn't talking to you Junior." She turned back to Qui-Gon "So old man?"
Unlike his Padawan, Qui-Gon regarded her calmly, without even a hint of anger or annoyance.
"I honestly do not know what we will face when we get down to the surface" he answered his voice quiet and grim "However should you choose to help us I will personally see to it that Chancellor Vallorum compensates you for your troubles when we reach Coruscant. For now, however the only reward I can promise you in return for your help is your safety"
Una gazed at the Jedi Master, eyes darting between his almost as if she were trying to catch one of them lying.
As she did so, Qui-Gon was certain he felt the force around the three of them shift ever so slightly.
He mused as the young woman sighed and leaned back, resignation all over her face.
"I suppose that'll have to do for now. But I warn you Jedi," Una glared at him hard and fierce "If I don't get my credits at the end of this, I will shoot you between the eyes, right where you stand. I've already been made a fool of once. I won't have that happen again. Are we clear?"
"Transparently" Qui-Gon nodded, completely relaxed despite the threat as she quietly made to move away to crouch behind another crate.
"Now I really have a bad feeling about this" Obi-Wan scowled at her back as she slowly crept her way towards one of the large droid ships.
"You need to follow her into one of the ships" Qui-Gon he turned back to look at the battalions in front of him. "Keep an eye on her, make sure she won't slip out of our sight when we land."
"Forgive me master, but I doubt she'll slip away now there's promise of payment" Obi-Wan rolled his eyes with slight disgust "She likes her credits too much"
"Maybe so but until we get to Coruscant she's our only lead in finding out the Trade Federation's true motives." Qui-Gon whispered, his expression softening a little as he saw his apprentice bristle uncomfortably.
"She seems perfectly capable of looking after herself"
"Perhaps, but still. We can't be too careful"
"Very well then" Obi-Wan sucked in a deep breath, smirking a little as he snorted to himself "You were right about one thing Master. The negotiations were short."
"Perhaps…now get a move on" Qui-Gon quipped, shaking his head fondly.
Sometimes his Padawan could be quite cheeky.
Now what to do about you Una Crest?