Special Delivery

This bit of backstory takes place before Sal enters the game.

Part One

“Stupid Imperials,” Sal muttered, punching at her console irritably. “Stupid Snarf.” She hit another button and replayed the last message her sister had sent her before she’d left docks. Poodoo about leaving her room alone and staying out of trouble and not getting killed.

Like Snarf’s room could be off-limits to the captain. Who cared if the captain was only ten? But Sal sighed anyway. Honestly, she was lucky Snarf wasn’t making her stay put while she went through training. Sal wrinkled her nose and swiveled her chair to face the rest of the now-very-empty ship.

“Stupid Rebels,” she said loudly, to fill the silence. But that felt like a lie. She didn’t think the Rebel Alliance was stupid. She didn’t think much about them at all, except that Snarf said they were against the Imperials who had killed their family.

Sal picked her way out of the cockpit once she was in hyperspace and trailed her fingers over the lounge console. The last game of Hei-Arboo Snarf had reluctantly agreed to play with her flickered on. Sal had been winning, of course, although the holodisplay wasn’t her favourite way to play. Snarf didn’t have a lot of patience for playing games, least of all games with actual pieces and where exploding things wasn’t a goal. So they’d quit halfway through.

Sal clicked the game off and went to work. The place hadn’t been properly scrubbed since she’d gotten it, and although it was used and pretty basic, she had come to really love the little ship. It was infinitely easier to fly than the Not Stolen had been.

The Not Stolen… Sal frowned at the stubborn smudge of grease she’d been scrubbing at. Mom, Pop, Snarf’s countless brothers and sisters and cousins that occasionally let her play with them. And at night all the brothers and sisters would pile together and it was so warm, and Snarf always made them let her in.

Sal swiped her sleeve over her eyes hastily. They were all gone now. All those fuzzy busy bodies, living and building and breathing and they were all gone! Sal slumped onto her ankles were she’d knelt, hugging herself and trying to hold back the tears. Snarf would be so disappointed if she cried like a baby. She sniffled.

And in the silence that followed, in which she tried very hard to compose herself, there was a tiny, teeny mewling.

Uhm. That wasn’t her.

“Uhm. Hello?” she called softly. When the mewling sound continued, she got to her feet, raking her sleeve across her face again. She continued down the corridor between the empty passenger quarters which doubled, at the moment, as extra storage. She checked each escape pod on a whim, but the sound came from still further back. “Hello!”

It wasn’t coming from either of the cargo bays either, so she threw open the door to Engineering. The mewling was instantly louder with the door open, and it wasn’t hard for her to find the source even with the lights off. She gasped when she slid to her knees next to it.

“Oh teeth!” she hissed, picking the thing up. She cradled it to her chest and looked around. “How’d you get in here?”

The infant stopped crying as soon as it hit warm body, and she bounced it gently, even as her mind whirred. When she moved to stand up, a memory chip fell to the ground.

Back at the console in the lounge, Sal reclined in the chair and patted the infant on the back as the recording played back.

Karrlos,” the woman said, “Please don’t let me down. Take Soewn to my parents. I’m not asking for anything else from you. Don’t do it for me, do it for your son. I’ve attached the coordinates. They know you’re coming. Please Karrlos.

The video cut out and Sal frowned. She wasn’t Karrlos. “But I guess you’re Soewn, huh little guy?” The infant clucked cheerfully. “I guess it’s time to find your daddy.” She reached forward to retrieve the memory chip, but it pinged just as she moved. Another file began to play automatically.

Uh, yeah. So you’re in the Alliance, right? So we’re basically on the same team. What I need you to do is take this kid to its grandparents. The coordinates should be attached. I just can’t do it. I got a mission, and I don’t know what to do with a kid, and…” The guy in the recording looked off, like he was guilty but not guilty enough to change his mind. “Just do me this favour, okay? I got your info from the dockmaster and there’ll be 500 credits in your account by the time you get back.

The recording cut out.

“Five hundred credits,” Sal said distastefully. Snarf would have killed her if she’d made that deal on purpose. Five hundred credits. But it was basically a package delivery. She could handle that.

Part Two

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