“Nien, I know. Not really thrilled with it but it will take days if not weeks for the Jedi to make up their mind,” Lando said. The two of them sat on the bridge of the Lady Luck with the door shut. The flicking light from hyperspace filling the bridge.
Nien waved his arms and gestured back to the door. Lando sighed. “Look, Nien, they tried to kill us. You don’t try to kill someone in a business deal unless you are doing something you don’t want to get out. And don’t tell me you changed your mind about the fact that we both agreed that this wasn’t something we could ignore.”
Nien made a face and gestured again back toward the hatchway. “We take what we can get, bud. We are going to head back to Yavin once we see if Takodana has anything for us.” Nien said something else and crossed his arms over his chest and settled back in the chair.
“Yeah, yeah. I will make sure that they don’t destroy the ship.”
Rae sat in the lounge her legs crossed and stared at the game console. Lowbacca sat across form her and touched the controls, moving one of the pieces toward Rae’s pieces. Rae sighed and shook he head. “You are really going to try to that maneuver on me again? It didn’t work the last time.”
Lowbacca chuffed and motioned to her to move. He settled back on the couch stretching his arms across the back of the cushions. Rae narrowed her eyes. The two of them played against each other for years, most of the time the wins alternating back and forth between them, though she had been having a bit more luck before Lowbacca left for Kashyyyk. She wondered if perhaps he found a new strategy while he was on his trip.
She moved her piece, studying Lowbacca’s face as she did. He grinned at her, baring his canines. Lando walked out of the bridge and back to where they were. “I see you already found the game table.”
Lowbacca nodded but was studying the board. “Yes. Ben encouraged us to play games against each other. Trying to get us to anticipate the actions of others, I think.” She looked at the board and frowned seeing the move Lowbacca made. She frowned as she studied the board. “Seriously?”
Lowbacca laughed again and motioned to the board. He turned his attention to Lando chuffing and talking. “How long until we reach Takodana?” MTD asked.
“About six days. I would not be surprised if we are contacted by Ben before then,” Lando told them.
Rae shook her head, not looking up from her studying of the board. The move that Lowbacca did not making sense to her. “No. He will just rip us a new one when we get back. He generally let us have enough rope to hang ourselves when we were going to do something he didn’t approve of.”
“I had the feeling that you two had done stuff like this before,” Lando said and moved past them to the autochef unit.
Lowbacca nodded and spoke. “Yes. It’s worked out well most of the time,” MTD translated.
“What about the times that it didn’t work out well?” Lando asked as he dialed up something to drink.
Rae made her move, wondering what Lowbacca’s plan was on this. “Well, two weeks of constant training and very little rest, since we had so much extra energy to do what we weren’t told to do,” she said. She grinned at Lowbacca. “You know, he didn’t forbid us from going back there even after we were punished for doing it without asking him permission.”
Lowbacca stopped, his hand over the controls and looked at her. He nodded slowly. “I believe that you are right,” MTD said. “Master Solo did not tell you that you could not go looking for viper wasps after the first time. Perhaps, he figured if you were to get stung another dozen times or so you would learn.”
“We only got stung a couple of times,” Rae said as she watched Lowbacca when he made his move.
“Each,” MTD added.
“We recovered just fine.” Rae studied the board and reached for the controls when Lowbacca growled something. Rae met his eyes. “You are full of it. There is no way you beat me in ten moves much less eight,” she said. Her eyes narrowed when he chuckled and motioned her on with a casual wave of his furred hand.
Rae looked back down at the game and sighed. He was probably just trying to get under her skin. She made her move then looked away.
Lando watched as Lowbacca studied the board. “How many times have the two of you been off Yavin since you started your training?” he asked.
“About a dozen or so. We have been to Coruscant several times with Ben. The Jedi aren’t using what’s left of the old Jedi Temple there but it has become a destination of all of the padawans at least once or twice in their training to go through the old buildings and see if they can find anything that might be useful,” Rae said and turned her attention back to the game watching Lowbacca make his move.
“Have they found anything?” Lando asked.
Lowbacca waved his hand back and forth and growled. “Not really,” MTD said. “A couple of padawans found a few Holocrons that were hidden away. They did not really contain anything that was of use.”
Rae frowned as she looked at the board. She thought she saw Lowbacca’s plan, but she wasn’t sure. She moved a piece defensively to keep another from being taken. “It was always hoped that we could find something in the old city sections under the temple but they won’t the Masters won’t let the padawans in the undercity.”
“It was for safety concerns,” MTD said. “There are all kinds of unsavory beings that live in the depths of Coruscant.”
“You got that right,” Lando said, remembering the events that lead to forcing the remains of the Empire off Coruscant. “And if I remember right, they sealed off the Jedi Temple from the undercity. So, besides playing games, what are you going to be doing for the trip?”
“They should both be meditating,” MTD said. “I do have a recording of the lessons that Master Solo was going to be instructing both of you on. He gave me the information in case Lowbacca was gone longer than he thought he would be.”
Rae snorted. “Yeah, we probably should keep up with the lessons. Let’s not give him another reason to be mad at us.”
Lowbacca growled in agreement and tapped the controls, his piece jumped forward and took one of hers. He chuckled and looked up at her. “Yeah, you think you’re clever,” she said and studied the board.
Lowbacca growled something for MTD to translate. “How big is the cargo hold on your ship?” MTD inquired of Lando.
“It’s ten meters by five meters on the lower deck,” Lando answered watching Lowbacca watching Rae contemplate her move. “It’s about three meters tall. You guys aren’t planning to go swinging lightsabers down there are you?”
Rae shrugged. “Maybe, but we won’t cut anything we don’t mean to.” She moved one of her pieces, taking his piece. “Trading pieces isn’t a good way to win, Lowie.”
Lowbacca nodded in agreement and launched one of his weaker pieces into one of her stronger, only for it to die in an animated sequence. He growled and shook his head. “That piece wasn’t strong enough even though her piece was injured, Lowbacca,” MTD said.
Rae smiled. “I think he is getting frustrated,” she said and moved one of her other pieces to take one of his weaker ones.
Lowbacca growled low in his throat, a sound that made Lando take an involuntary step back. He moved another of his pieces into the fray, attacking a different one of hers but losing the pieces.
Rae raised an eyebrow at him. She had seen him angry before and wasn’t worry he would let the legendary wookie temper out. “No need to get frustrated, Lowie. It only makes you make more mistakes.” She reached out to the controls and judged her moves. She had some smaller pieces that were spread out away from her larger ones. She still had more pieces than he did. She moved one of her larger pieces forward to close the gap with Lowbacca’s.
Lowbacca growled again, but instead of moving one of his smaller pieces, he moved a larger one between Rae’s smaller pieces and into her larger one. Between the two, Rae’s piece should have been able to take out Lowbacca’s but her piece was already damaged and by the rules Lowbacca’s weaker piece survived unscathed where her’s was taken from the game.
Rae stared at the board and looked around. Now that he had started his gambit, she saw it. Sure she had pieces which could do damage first, but none of them would be able to take out his larger pieces. All of his smaller pieces had done damage to her larger ones… And he had several avenues of attack on her objective piece that she would not be able to stop. She looked up an met his eyes, seeing him bare a little of his teeth in a wookie’s version of a grin. “You… you acted like you were frustrated to bait me into leaving openings?”
Lowbacca laughed and leaned back on the couch, lacing his fingers behind his head. Rae sighed. She didn’t think she could win this and entered the resignation code into the console. “You’ve been practicing,” she accused.
Lowbacca nodded. “He had the Ambassador to play against for three days on the way from Kashyyyk to Yavin 4,” MTD said. “I believe that the Ambassador used that exact maneuver on him though he did not act angry to throw Lowbacca off.”
Rae sighed. “I think I would have lost anyway, the acting didn’t help though.”
Lando shook his head and turned to head to the bridge.
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading this far. Shawn Bennett ( email@example.com