It all started with an explosion rattling the ground of the marketplace, sending civilians scattering and shopping stalls careening. Obi-Wan refrained from sighing, he had just been about to get a snack, but now that dream was dashed. Satine ducked for cover and Obi-Wan stepped out into the fray, lightsaber already in his hand. Mandalore was a terrible place to be. Obi-Wan felt like he wanted to scream, this nonsense should not be happening. Maybe Satine would want to hear what he had to say.
“Did you ever think that maybe your life is at risk because of your ridiculously extremist ideals?” Obi-Wan shouted at Satine, blue lightsaber humming in his hands as he fended off blaster bolts being shot their way. “Maybe you’re getting death threats because you are erasing milenia of culture!”
Satine shot him a dirty look from behind a stone column. Her pale blonde hair was in disarray and her clothes dirty, yet the piercing glare still scared him.
“As your only confidant at the moment,” he blocked another shot and continued on his rant. “It is my force ordained duty to tell you that I think you are kriffing up. Big time! Like at this point I’m only protecting you because it’s the right thing to do and not because I agree with any of your policies.”
Satine’s angry voice carried across the gunfire. “Why are you bringing this up now?”
Obi-Wan wasn’t actually sure about that, his mouth wouldn’t say shut and he was speaking his mind with no stop in sight. “Great question. An even better question would be why you think being a pacifist is going to stop the war around you!”
“Lead by example!” She shouted back, retreating further back from the front of the fight. Obi-Wan moved with her, arm constantly swinging to stop the onslaught of blaster fire. It was strange that he hadn’t engaged anyone in hand to hand combat yet, the Mandalorains usually attacked him with fists and guns.
“That example is dumb. A ruler of the people should represent them and cater to their wants and needs! You are planning to force a culling of those who are only trying to protect their identities!”
Satine gripped his shoulder, spinning him around to look into his eyes. She gasped. “You’ve been poisoned!”
Obi-Wan scoffed and dragged them behind a broken down food stall. The owner looked at them with wide eyes as Obi-Wan continued to argue. “If I’d been poisoned, I think I’d notice.”
Satine shook her head. “No, no. This is different.”
He peaked around the side of the stall, looking for an exit. “How?”
“ Haat pirur !” She exclaimed. “You were given haat pirur !”
“And what the kark does that mean?”
The food stall attendee spoke up tentatively, her eyes watching them warily. “It translates to ‘Truth Drink’.”
Satine nodded vigorously. “It’s a poison that in high dosages kills immediately and leaves no trace in the victim’s system.”
The woman joined in on Satine’s explanation. “In low dosages it causes the drinker to speak only the truth until it wears off.”
Obi-Wan’s mind flitted back to the tea he’d chugged. Satine hadn’t wanted it, so he had downed it in one go before they’d gotten into this shuffle. It had a funny aftertaste if he was remembering correctly. “Someone tried to poison you … ”
Satine blew a stray lock of hair out of her face. “Lucky for me, I’ve got a Jedi protector with a scary metabolism.”
“So he won’t die?” The woman whose cover they were sharing asked.
Obi-Wan shook his head and Satine answered for him. “Something about the force in his body breaking down harmful substances at an accelerated rate.”
“Oh.” She breathed out.
“It’s helpful.” Satine responded. “It also means someone used a lot of poison if it’s affecting Obi-Wan this way.”
There was what he was looking for. The sound of boots was getting closer, but the ones hunting them were searching the citizens first. The shopping court had been a bad place to try and hide. Obi-Wan felt guilty about the civilians who were wounded in the attack meant for Satine. “It was nice crouching with you,” Obi-Wan offered to the woman before grabbing Satine’s hand. “But we’ve got to go.”
They ducked around other stalls that had been broken when the gunfire had started, using them for cover and scaring the ones who were already using it for refuge. The entrance to the sewer sat conspicuously a mere body length away from their latest shield.
“Really?” Satine hissed.
“Would you rather die?” Obi-Wan whispered back, using the force to pull away the cover of the manhole. He slid over and started to lower himself in. Obi-Wan judged the distance down before letting himself drop. Satine followed right after, landing on him with an “Umph!”
“Here we go.” Obi-Wan said quietly, using the force to put the metal plate back into place. The sewers descended into darkness once more, Obi-Wan lit his lightsaber to use as a light source. Satine started to navigate the smelly tunnels, leading them on in silence. They had very little time, the Mandalorians would be following them shortly.
Obi-Wan stepped out of the sonic shower, feeling cleaner than he had in days. Camping in the sewers was something he never wanted to suffer through again. It had taken too long for Satine and him to steal a speeder and make their way to the next town over. Luckily, even in their smelly and very dirty state, one of the inns had let them room with only a few strange looks.
They’d been on the run for five month-cycles now, having lost Obi-Wan’s Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, almost three month-cycles ago. The entire trip to protect Satine while her advisors tried to secure for her the position of Mand’alor was only supposed to last a total of two month-cycles.
“The sonic is open!” Obi-Wan called to Satine as he finished dawning his most recent disguise. Jedi robes were no longer an option for his attire, Obi-Wan had been wearing cheap Mandalorian style clothes for almost the entire time they’d been travelling together. The only real issue was his padawan braid which Satine meticulously braided into the base of his skull. He’d had to ditch his nerf tail hairstyle a month back when he was recognized solely on that basis.
Satine had skills with hair dressing and had given him the customary Mandalorian crop. A short style best for wearing helmets with. Obi-Wan had no intention of wearing armor though, the force muffling beskar was not a metal he’d want to put over his head.
Obi-Wan shuffled out of the ‘fresher, bumping into Satine on the way out. She held out a paper menu and pointed to one of the dishes. “Could you go get us some late-meal?”
He accepted the menu and scanned for the price. They could afford this if Obi-Wan ordered less tea for the next few day-cycles. Considering Satine had been the one to lead them through and out of the sewer system without getting caught, less tea was an easy trade off. “I’ll be back by the time that you are done.”
Obi-Wan exited the room, securing the door on the way out. The force was calm, hopefully that meant no one was going to try and murder the person he was sworn to protect. That’d make him look bad.
The restaurant and bar located under the inn was dimly lit, a warm atmosphere crowding the homey rooms. There was a quiet buzzing of conversations, patrons to the restaurant calm and peaceful while eating their food. Obi-Wan wandered over to the bar where he could order to-go. The bartender meandered over and took his order. Obi-Wan just pointed to whatever Satine had chosen, knowing if he said the word out loud that he would give himself away as a foreigner to more than just the bartender. “Two of those please.”
“That will be coming right up.” The twi’lek said, gesturing for Obi-Wan to take a seat. He pulled out the closet chair and accepted the complimentary water glass that was pushed towards him.
“Are you new?” Asked a voice to his immediate right.
Obi-Wan turned to see a boy only a standard year younger than him in orange plated armor. “Yes.”
The boy with slightly curled black hair leaned back, amber eyes watching Obi-Wan curiously. “How are you liking Manda’yaim ?”
Obi-Wan’s eyes caught on a scar that ran down the side of his face, curling around his temple. “Well enough. The climate is nice.”
The boy snorted. “The only thing you can find to complement is the climate? That makes us seem bad.”
Obi-Wan shrugged apologetically. “My circumstances for this visit aren’t the best.”
They sat in silence for a few moments before the boy startled Obi-Wan by turning to stare at him abruptly. “Hey, you might want to cover your face.”
Obi-Wan stiffened, hand instinctively reaching towards the lightsaber hidden in the holster strapped to his thigh. “What do you know?”
The boy’s gaze drifted to a holo projector being set up by some of the waiters over by the far wall. The customers had started to take notice, a shush slowly falling over the crowd. This did not seem to be a common occurrence.
“Take this, you’ll need it.” A shawl was dropped over his shoulders, the soft fabric coming to cover part of his face. “I’m Cody.” The name was obviously given as a way to gain trust. Obi-Wan only nodded, he was still wary of the stranger and his advice.
“Here you are.” The twi’lek had returned with a paper bag and Obi-Wan slid over the credits he owed them. “Feel free to stay, there is news straight from the capital.”
Obi-Wan turned to look at the machine that had just finished being set up. The other patrons of the restaurant had all turned their attention to the projection. Obi-Wan clasped the shawl closer around him, using the force to send a suggestion in the area around him. He wasn’t sure if it would work, but hopefully no one would have a clear memory of his passing.
The holo sprang to life, a shaky video being spoken over by a Holo Net announcer droid. ‘Here we have footage submitted by one of the civilians caught in the most recent attack.’
There was the explosion that had tipped Obi-Wan off to the fact they’d been found. A vendor selling trinkets shrieked as they dove to the ground, narrowly avoiding oncoming debris. Obi-Wan recognized the scene, whomever had filmed this had been close to where Satine had been. The camera steadied as Mandalorians began to descend from the sky on jetpacks, blasters aimed and loaded.
A collective gasp was heard around the restaurant when on the projection, a figure emerged to stand front and center, lightsaber ignited. Obi-Wan fought a shudder. It was him.
The footage showed the fight, mostly just Obi-Wan refracting shots back at the ones doing the shooting, none of the commandos had yet to land. The video feed switched to original volume, heavy breathing coming from the one filming.
‘Did you ever think that maybe your life is at risk because of your ridiculously extremist ideals? Maybe you’re getting death threats because you are erasing milenia of culture!’ Obi-Wan’s own voice rang in his ears. He was doing the unthinkable, questioning the validity of Satine’s claim to the throne. He wished to disappear on the spot.
“ Te jetti cabur ashnar tionire. ” One of the patrons at the bar marvelled. He was shushed immediately.
‘As your only confidant at the moment, it is my force ordained duty to tell you that I think you are kriffing up. Big time! Like at this point I’m only protecting you because it’s the right thing to do and not because I agree with any of your policies.’ The Obi-Wan in the holo ducked a blaster shot before throwing the shooter a rude hand gesture. He had no memory of doing that.
Satine appeared on frame, thin face looking exceptionally angry. ‘Why are you bringing this up now?’
Obi-Wan faltered. ‘Great question. An even better question would be why you think being a pacifist is going to stop the war around you!’
This was answered with disbelieving laughter from the table behind him. He could feel the glee coloring the force. This was terrible, Satine would likely abandon her pacifist ways just to kill him in retaliation.
The two of them started to get closer to the camera, their banter becoming a lot more clear over the rain of blaster fire. ‘Lead by example!’
Obi-Wan’s look of disdain was caught clearly by the video. ‘That example is dumb. A ruler of the people should represent them and cater to their wants and needs! You are planning to force a culling of those who are only trying to protect their identities!’
They were almost to the source of the video when Satine exclaimed. ‘You’ve been poisoned!’
Obi-Wan scoffed, the video gosteled as the two of them flopped behind the overturned food stall. ‘If I’d been poisoned, I think I’d notice.’
Satine shook her head. ‘No, no. This is different.’
The video zoomed in on a breathless Satine. Obi-Wan’s voice carried over. ‘How?’
‘Haat pirur!’You were given haat pirur! ’
Obi-Wan’s face was back in frame looking irritated. ‘And what the kark does that mean?’
The one who took the video spoke up. ‘It translates to ‘Truth Drink’.’
Satine gave the camera a thankful smile. ‘It’s a poison that in high dosages kills immediately and leaves no trace in the victim’s system.’
‘In low dosages it causes the drinker to speak only the truth until it wears off.’ The camera angle readjusted to Obi-Wan as the food vendor added onto the explanation.
Obi-Wan’s face went slack and guilt flashed in his eyes. ‘Someone tried to poison you … ‘
Satine teased. ‘Lucky for me, I’ve got a Jedi protector with a scary metabolism.’
‘So he won’t die?’
‘Something about the force in his body breaking down harmful substances at an accelerated rate.’
Satine looked at Obi-Wan with concern. ‘It’s helpful. It also means someone used a lot of poison if it’s affecting Obi-Wan this way.’
Obi-Wan’s face turned to the camera from where he had been scouting. ‘It was nice crouching with you, but we’ve got to go.’ The two of them dashed off.
Voices started to murmur around him and Obi-Wan suddenly felt a rush of gratitude towards Cody and the shawl that was obscuring his very recognizable face.
The droid appeared back on the holo. ‘After this footage emerged, the Haat Mando’ade and Kyr’tsad have agreed to begin peaceful negotiations with Satine Kryze and her council of advisors. Kry’tsad has sent forth a truce, they will no longer try and kill the Duchess so that the negotiations may proceed. This is the biggest development in the fight for the throne yet. More updates will come soon.’
Obi-Wan sighed in relief as the patrons around him broke into uproarious conversations. He was relieved, Satine was safe, and Obi-Wan was free to find his Master and return to the Jedi Temple. Cody’s hand found his arm and pulled them off in the direction of the stairs that led up to the inn.
“Thank you.” Obi-Wan tried to return the shawl to Cody who just shook his head.
“Keep it. It’s not mine.” Cody looked at Obi-Wan questioningly. “You are him, are you not?”
Obi-Wan tried to keep his expression neutral. “Who?”
“The Jetti, Obi-Wan.”
“I am.” Obi-Wan said quietly.
Cody breathed out a relieved sigh. “You’ve done me a great service.” He pressed something cool into Obi-Wan’s hand, a comm. “If you need me, feel free to comm.”
Obi-Wan’s eyebrows raised in surprise. This was quite a gift. The rather advanced comm could find him his Master along with getting contact to Satine's people. “Thank you again.”
The words were not met with any reception, Cody had already slipped away back into the restaurant. Obi-Wan shook off the surprise and started his way up the stairs. Satine would be getting good news along with her dinner.