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Elusive Quarry

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Your body is trembling. It has been for the last two hours. Honestly, you don’t know if you’re more nervous about confronting Keyman, or the fact that as soon as Din finds your letter, he’ll be hunting you down faster than he’s ever found quarry before. Some depraved and delirious part of your psyche thrills at that thought; but you quickly push it down. You’re here for a reason, and you need to focus.

         You had been watching the ships come in, your eyes darting back and forth amongst the pilots and passengers. But there was no sign of a scarred man with a limp anywhere. He wasn’t easy to miss, this shouldn’t be that hard. You’re hidden on top of a building overlooking the landing pads. Close enough that you could possibly kill him with a blaster if you trusted your aim. Most likely though, you’d spot him and follow him for a few blocks and then ambush him in an alley. That was the plan, anyway.

         Your comm. beeps, the sudden intrusion sending your heart into your throat. You release a deep breath, collecting your nerves as you examine your device. You don’t recognize the signal, but answer it anyway. If they know your frequency, there must be a reason.

         You answer with your name, keeping your voice as level as possible.

         “Hey baby, did you miss me?” comes an all too familiar voice.

         Kriff,” you hiss. Something’s wrong. Something is very wrong.

         “Dirty, dirty mouth,” he chastises, his cockiness sounds like it’s dripping through your speaker. “How’s the stakeout going?” How did he know?

         “Keyman, what the fuck do you want?”

         “To make a deal with you, beautiful. Our last interaction left a bad taste in my mouth, and I think it’s time we try this again.”

         “Keyman, the next time you see me, you’ll see the end of my blaster pointed at your brain,” you say through gritted teeth.

         “Oh come on, you don’t even know my terms yet. Annadani was a much better listener than you’re being.” Your heart stills in your chest, the air in your lungs vanishing in a painful vacuum.

         “No,” you whisper.

         “I’ll give her this, she was tough. But you can only endure so many cuts from a vibroblade, you know what I’m saying?”

         “You karking motherfucker!”

         “There’s that mouth again. She had one too, before I shut her up for good.”

         “Where are you?” you ask, trying to keep as calm as possible. But you can already feel your nerves slipping. Just being alive has gotten someone killed. She didn’t deserve to go out like that.

         “Hovering in the atmosphere…trying to decide where I should land,” he says cryptically. “You know that with some tampering, Annadani’s comm. let me know the coordinates of her last call. And if I was a betting man, which you know I am, I’d say it’s the Mando’s Razor Crest, right?” You remain silent, unsure of what to see. You know any answer you give will be revealing to the ex-bounty hunter. “So that’s where the deal comes in. I can either head over to those coordinates and blow up whatever I find there…or I can head to the loading dock that I’m sure your lurking at, and you can come join me on this ship.”

         “That’s bantha shit. The kid is worth more alive than I could ever be worth.”

         “Now normally, I’d agree with you. But I found your friend’s research, and baby girl how you’ve been holding out on me!”

         “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you say weakly, your voice sounding more like a wheeze.

         “Oh no? Between what happened on Jakku and the very interesting medical documents we hacked…” Shit. He tracked your previous location to the hospital. He must have more resources and tech than you previously thought.

         “Keyman,” your voice sounds desperate, but you don’t know what you’re pleading for.

         “So the way I see it, two for the price of one.” His words make you want to vomit, but you bite harshly on your bottom lip to keep the bile down. This has to be a trap. There’s no way he would give up on the kid so easily…but if Moff Gideon is truly wanting to study these abilities, to access that power, maybe your were more valuable as a human subject. They’d keep you alive long enough for you to have the baby; it’d be too great a risk to fully experiment on you, especially if your child was possibly gifted as well. That means you had time. Time to learn the ship, to form an escape plan. This was the only way.

         You know Keyman wouldn’t do anything to the kid, but he’d kill Din without a second thought. You try to stop the threat of tears as you think about the Mandalorian; there’s so much you want to tell him. So much you want him to know, and your heart sinks at what he will think when he gets back to the ship. You can’t risk his safety, the kid’s safety. And you need to make a decision before he comes and finds you, putting all three of you in the same location; easy targets for Keyman.

         “Fine, you fucking bastard. Come to the landing dock,” you spit, hanging up the comm.. Your mind is going too fast, buzzing with different thoughts; multiple half baked plans that threaten to shut down your thinking all together. You don’t trust Keyman to keep his word; what’s to keep him from blowing up the Crest as soon as you’re in his clutches? You go to your comm. but hesitate, your fingers trembling over the buttons. Would Din even leave if you told him to? He’s stubborn and proud…what’s keeping him from standing his ground in the hopes of rescuing you? But if he’s hurt and you had given him no warning…would you be able to live with that?

         A dark ship pulls down to the loading dock, and your stomach twists into a vicious knot. You can feel Keyman on board, his proximity making you ill. He won’t come off the ship, not when he knows you were waiting for him with a blaster. Your comm. will be confiscated as soon as you board the ship, so there’s no point in taking it with you. You take a shuddering breath and dial for Din, releasing it from your wrist as you wait.

         “Tracinya? Are you okay, where are you?” The modulated voice sounds unhinged, full of panic. You’re flooded with guilt and a lump forms in your throat. You open your mouth to speak, but nothing comes out. What can you even say? He whispers your name, earnest and…scared? You need to say something.

         “Do you trust me, Din?”

         “What the hell-“

         “Fucking yes or no, Din. Do you trust me?” Your tone is harsh, but you need him to understand how serious you are. There’s a tired sigh on the other end, and a thick moment of silence.

         “With my kriffing life.” In any other situation, hearing this would have filled you with joy, would have made you grin wider than your ears. But all you can think about is how you don’t deserve it.

         “Are you on the ship?”

         “Yes I found your note-“

         “Leave. I need you to fly away now.”

         “Tracinya, please! Tell me where you are.”

         “I can’t, Din. Protect our son, okay? Leave now. I love you.” Before he can protest, can convince you to change your mind, you cease the communication. You lay the comm. on the ground, along with the blaster. You know they will get confiscated immediately. Even with that knowledge though, you can’t bear to part with the staff slung across your back. Keyman won’t destroy it, it’s too nice. And you’ll need something to grab when you eventually escape. And you will escape. You take a deep breath and head towards the ship.

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         Your room has practically nothing in it. It’s made of durasteel, empty and cold. There’s a ledge coming from the wall that you assume is supposed to be your bed. A pillow and a blanket are stacked in the corner, and that’s it.

         When you had entered the ship, you were immediately greeted by five armed men. You assume they used to be smugglers before joining Keyman in his partnership with Gideon. They shuffled you along, immediately confiscating your staff, shoes, and belt. You were then ushered into your room and forced to change out of your clothes into a loose fitting dress. It was about a size too big for you, coming down to your ankles. The material was thin, but thankfully still opaque. The sleeves came down to your wrists, though the neck line was a little lower than you’d like given your current situation. Your clothes were confiscated as well, and you were forced to wait in the empty room.

         About an hour had passed, and you couldn’t stop the shaking of your leg as you waited impatiently for something to happen. You weren’t thrilled about seeing Keyman, but you also wanted to get the inevitable reunion over with. You considered going up to the door and yelling for someone in the hallway to give you an update.  As you stood, the door burst open, and you tried your best to appear calm.

         “You sneaky little bitch,” he sneered, limping in. His facial hair had grown out since the last time you saw him, making him look far more rugged than the pretty boy you were used to. It matched his scar better. But the limp…you wondered if he’d ever recover from that. It probably never healed right, a thought that fills you with a despicable smugness deep in your belly.

         “Nice to see you too,” you answer sarcastically, sitting back down.

         “I see the Razor Crest is gone…you know me too well.”

         “I just don’t trust you,” you retort, crossing your arms. You feel your cheeks heating up at the sheer discomfort of seeing him again. You never wanted to see him for as long as you lived. And now here you were, his prisoner.

         “Fair, I guess,” he says flippantly. His demeanor changes, his icy eyes narrowing like a predator’s. “I suppose congratulations are in order?” You inhale sharply, trying not to give anything away. He had already seen the medical records, you couldn’t deny your pregnancy. But you didn’t want to give him any other insight to your emotions.

         “You saw the medical records,” you state blandly, forcing yourself to hold his eye contact.

         “It’s funny, out of all the men you’ve fucked, it was this Mando bastard that you let knock you up. I know you were his cock slut, but to let that beskar son of a bitch breed you.” The way he said it made your lip snarl. He made it sound so dirty, as if it was grotesque. And it pissed you off.

         “Jealous?” you spat back, unable to help yourself. He got closer to you, his face inches from yours.

         “I don’t have time to be jealous of every man who’s cum inside your filthy cunt.” Ouch. “And trust me, he may be the first one to get you pregnant,” he pauses, his eyes flaming with something you can’t name. He leans in closer, his lips brushing against the shell of your ear, “but he won’t be the last.” You startle at this, scrambling until your back hits the wall. Your eyes scan the room, and you see two smugglers standing in the corners with their guns. You can’t risk fighting off Keyman.

         “Please,” you whisper, your lip trembling.

         “Calm down, no one is to touch you until you pop. Direct orders.” He crawls over you, bracketing your body as his hands press against the wall to frame the sides of your face. “But I’ll be the first in line once you do.”

         “You’re disgusting,” you mutter.

         “Sticks and stones,” he growls, inhaling the scent of your hair. It makes you shiver, and you wish you could melt into the durasteel. Thankfully he pushes back away from you and turns to walk out of your room. “The doctors will be in tomorrow to begin the tests. Try and be on your best behavior.” When he leaves, you hear the lock to your room latch, and you release the sob that has been building up in your chest. You take heaving breaths as the tears scorch trails down your skin. Your hand moves protectively over your stomach, craving contact to the part of Din you are carrying with you.

         “Dank farrik!”  You wipe away your tears and slowly regain control of your breath. You need to focus. You refuse to give birth on this karking ship. You refuse to let anyone take possession of your baby. You will keep Din and the kid safe. And you’ll die before you let Keyman ever touch you again. You sit up straight and close your eyes, attempting to meditate. The mysterious force inside you got you into this mess…maybe it will be your ticket out.

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         The child hasn’t stopped crying since they left Corellia. Din had followed your wishes, evacuating from the Crest’s current location. But instead of going immediately off world, he raced towards the nearest city to investigate at the loading docks. He knew that’s where you had wanted to confront Keyman, and it was probably his best bet to finding you.

         After an hour of searching, he had found your vantage point on the roof along with your comm. and blaster. He noticed that your staff was nowhere to be seen, hopefully still in your possession. He didn’t stop to examine the various emotions this thought elicited in him. He scooped up your belongings and headed back to the ship. He flew off planet, but hovered in the orbit, unsure of where to go next. That’s when the kid had begun to cry.

         Two hours later, the kid was still crying and Din was still drifting in the orbit. He grunted angrily, his hands making hard fists in his lap. He needed to breathe, to separate himself from the situation. His feelings for you were making this difficult, and you needed him to be better. What would he do if you were like any other quarry? Not his lover, not his son’s mother figure…if you were just some criminal he was tracking. Thinking of you this way makes Din feel nauseated, as if he’s betraying everything the two of you have built in the past year. But he needs to. He needs to do whatever it takes to bring you home.

         So, what would he do if he had some of the quarry’s possessions and had been able to visit their last known location? His best bet was to look for a lead on your comm. Maybe he could see who you had been speaking with previously. If he was lucky, he could use the past signals to pinpoint a current location, but he’d need help. He wasn’t knowledgeable enough to hack that information from the comm. himself.

         Din picks up the kid from the his seat in the copilot’s chair and holds him close to his chest, the violent sobs dying down to sniffles. With his free arm he types in the coordinates to Navarro and calls up Karga.

         “Mando! So good to see you, friend. Where’s your lovely little companion?”

         “I need a favor. Do you have someone good with tech?”