They were only a short walk from where the Whydah was berthed, but Reil could tell Fi was seething with impatience. He lengthened his stride to keep up with her, leaving Jyllis and Cali to bring up the rear of their little group. Cali sized up the holo-star, and was disappointed to find that she didn’t look nearly as glamorous in person, but that might’ve just been the trash caked on her. Hopefully she was still rich. Jyll for her part noticed the attention she was getting from Cali, and stuck out her hand.
“Hi, I’m Jyllis.”
Cali returned the handshake somewhat reluctantly.
Jyllis grinned somewhat bashfully as Cali tried to wipe her hand off on the wall.
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
Cali tried to nod with enthusiasm she wasn’t feeling.
“Yeah, sure. Probably.”
As they entered the hangar, Reil keyed in the access code to lower the ship’s ramp.
“Ladies first.” He said, giving a mock bow.
Fi went up first, then Cali, and just as Jyllis was about to embark she turned around and noticed the half washed stain of red on the hangar floor. She turned to Reil.
“Is that bl. . . What is that?”
“That was. . . some earlier unpleasantness. Don’t trouble yourself about it.” Jyllis seemed hesitant. “C’mon, they’re waiting for us.”
The only room Reil and Cali had bothered to furnish were their own cabin, so Reil had to lead them into the cargo hold, where he and Cali made some makeshift chairs out of crates, by lying them flat, in a sort of circle. As they all sat down Fi released Mr. Mace, and the Fabool began to explore the back areas of the cargo bay. Reil hoped it was housebroken.
“I’m sorry the ship’s a little sparse, we haven’t had much company to-”
Fi cut him off.
“Reil, what do you mean Tam is alive?”
Reil rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
“It’s kind’ve a self explanatory statement.”
Fi was insistent.
“Reil, tell me now! What happened?”
Reil launched into his story.
“Well. . . There was some trouble, and Cali and I got pinched by police and then turned over to the Imperials.”
Fi nodded for him to keep going, eager for Reil to get to the point.
“And they took you to Tam?”
Reil hesitated, not sure how much of the story he wanted to get into in front of Fi’s actress friend.
“ More or less. . .”
Cali butted in.
“After you opened up your big mouth about the Disruptor.”
“Which happened after you got yourself shot and arrested, so stow it.” Reil snapped, and then regained his composure. It’s all outta the bag now. “I attracted the attention of somebody big, Truman or Terryman or. . .”
Fi’s eyes narrowed.
Reil snapped his fingers as he felt a tingle of recognition.
“Sure, I think. Anyway, we were put on this ship headed for a meeting with Tremayne. But before we get there, the captain of the ship pulls me aside to have a little chat. Very interested in Tam. We finish our chat and. . .”
Fi was horrified.
“Reil! What did you let slip?”
Reil threw his hands up in protest.
“If I could finish! The reason he wanted to know so much about Tam was because he was working with him, and Tam was making him uncomfortable. You see he, Tam, was already on the ship, working as some sorta crew. And he was actually pretty mad about me being there. So Tam came and paid me a visit in my cell, and that went poorly so he tried to get rid of me, in a violent and painful way that involves the phrase: Dermal Fracturing. Do you know what that is? ‘Cause I didn’t until he used his powers to squeeze me so hard my skin cracked.”
Fi shook her head as she tried to process this.
“No, that can’t be true. I saw his body.”
“Me too, when he was pummeling me with his mind powers.”
Fi looked at Reil earnestly, pleadingly almost.
“Are you sure it was him?”
Reil felt a twinge of irritation.
“Ye high? Soulful blue eyes? Blond, looks a little underfed? Can move things with his mind! Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was him.”
If Fi noticed the sarcasm she didn’t react to it, as she was consumed by her own thoughts.
“You’re not focusing on the part where he’s evil, and tried to kill me. It’s kind’ve a big deal. The Imperial Captain stopped Tam from killing me, then helped me and Cali escape before Tam could take a mulligan. So here we are. ”
Fi’s quiet contemplation was replaced with steely resolve.
“We have to help Tam. . . I have to help Tam. I can’t just abandon him.”
Cali couldn’t hold her tongue any longer.
“Again you mean?”
Reil glared at her.
“Stifle it. Look, Fi, I know this is a shock for you, but I need you to think this through. We can’t help him, because he doesn’t need help.”
Fi looked at Reil is disbelief.
“How can you say that? You just told me the Imperials have him, we need to. . !”
Cali cut her off.
“The Imperials don’t have him, he is them. He’s joined, or turned, or whatever you wanna call it. Tam is in league with the people who are bad. He’s with the bad people, is this sinking in yet Fi!"
Jyllis who had been silent up till this point leaped to her friend’s defence.
“Hey! Leave her alone!”
Cali rounded on the actress.
“Stay out of it! This doesn’t concern you.”
Jyll stood her ground.
“It concerns me the way you harass Fi. She’s done nothing to you!”
“And what would you know about what she’s done to. . . any of us!” Cali spat “We don’t know you, and you don’t know us, so you can take your attitude and shove-”
Reil put a halt to fight before it got out of hand.
“Shut up! Both of you, just shut up. Cali, just back off. Ms. Tromso, Fi is our friend, so I ask that you give us some leeway in how we interact,” Reil tossed a significant glance at Cali, “but there will be no more harassing.”
Fi reasserted herself back into the conversation.
“Reil, I don’t know if Tam is evil or what, but I need to help him.” Fi’s hand slipped into Jyllis’, as she started to gain confidence, “I am going to help him. If you aren’t going to help me save him, at least help me find him. I need to do this.”
Reil sighed, mindful of what he was about to do.
“ I’ll help you. All the way if I can.”
“What!?” Cali balked.
Mentally Reil amended his statement to add: If Cali doesn’t shoot me first.
“I’ve been doing some thinking. And I figure Tam is too dangerous the way he is. I admit to being a little sore at the beating I took, but more than that, he’s like a living weapon of mass destruction, and he’s off his rock. But the truth is, I don’t have anything that could go up against the Imperials, and frankly I don’t have anything that could go up against Tam if he got in a foul mood. So, what you really need Fi, is friends who could go up against the Imperials.”
Fi looked unsure.
“You mean the Rebels? I wouldn’t know where to begin. . .”
Cali glared at Reil.
“And neither would we!” She said firmly.
Reil dreaded the fight that this was gonna cause.
“I might have a lead on that. . .”
Cali’s tone was low and menacing.
“Reil. . .”
“Which we can discuss later. All this talk about Tam has gotten us a little ahead of ourselves. Why don’t we back up and you can tell me what the hell is going on with you two, and why people are looking for you?”
Zealos Reil thought he was hot
so he left the sim-pod cold
on his eighth mission he got shot
and that's all there is to be told.
Draw your own conclusions rookies.