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Free as the Wind

Part 1: The Streets

The Sylel Wind limped toward the Crenellian port-city, Rismyne, at less than half power.

"This is it," her pilot from Sylelius, Caeben Matock, told his companion disgustedly. "We've got to find a mechanic to patch the Wind together."

His co-pilot, Arramylian, wurfled agreement. Too many shortsighted upgrades had left the Wind falling apart internally, though she still looked to be in mint condition.

"Sylel Wind, you are cleared for landing in docking pit 23," the space flight controller announced over the comm.

"Copy, control," Caeben replied, following her coordinates.

Once he had set the Wind down as smoothly as possible in her shaken condition, the young pilot turned to his Wookiee friend. "Arra, let's find a cantina and a drink before we go looking for a good mechanic."

Arra grumbled an assent. He rubbed his brown and black streaked head where it had struck the ceiling in the bumpy landing. After this hair-raising ride, he needed a good drink.

"Thirteen!" Kaltyk yelled, his spittle spraying on Jae's averted face. "Thirteen credits! That's all?"

Jae Tallen nodded mutely, wishing he could flee the gang leader. He knew all too well what was coming next. But his arms were pinned by two of Kaltyk's cronies and he could not move.

"Hold him down," Kaltyk ordered his friends as he removed his belt.

The thirteen-year-old was pushed to the filthy alley pavement and brutally held there face down, his cheek pressing the rough stone. He closed his eyes as his ragged tunic was pulled up over his head. Familiar depression flooded him, his slight frame tensing in anticipation of the first blow. This daily ritual was becoming more and more difficult to endure.

Kaltyk's belt lashed down on Jae's already welt-covered back. The bully was nearly twenty and strong enough to subdue any of the homeless youths he tyrannized. It was easy for him to punish Jae for his failure to procure his daily quota of thirty credits. But it was beyond Kaltyk's power to make the boy beg or steal, and Jae would not be moved.

The beating went on for what seemed hours to the young Crenellian taking it. At last Kaltyk replaced his belt and Jae was dragged to his feet to face his tormentor again. The young gang leader was angered by the resolution in the boy's blue eyes.

"Still thinking of running away?" Kaltyk sneered. "Don't forget this." He pointed at the stun bracelet on Jae's left wrist. The device was programmed to stun the wearer when carried beyond a certain point, and was quite effective for keeping Jae under Kaltyk's cruel thumb. "You can't take it off without the code, and only I have that. Your fancy little tools are worthless."

Jae didn't flinch. The boy already knew that his efforts at removing the bracelet only activated it. And always when he woke from the stun bolt, Kaltyk was standing over him, belt in hand.

But his tools were not worthless. Jae could fix anything set before him, and that preternatural talent was all that kept him alive. He earned credits repairing whatever he could--his only source of income. He would rather die than steal, and as for begging, no one ever responded to his pleas. His eyes were too bright and capable, despite ever-present bruises, ragged garments, and ghost-like skinniness. He'd much rather live on his skill anyway.

Kaltyk snorted. "Let him go." He and his gang vanished into the night.

Jae sighed and set out in search of a job for the tiny tool kit strapped to his hip.

The next night Caeben and Arra sat in the Rainbow Vrelt, the cantina they'd found after their arrival in Rismyne. Each morosely nursed a drink. Their attempts at finding a mechanic for the right price had been unsuccessful. Caeben was beginning to fear they were stuck on Crenellia until they could earn enough credits for repairs.

Arra growled a question, and Caeben looked up. "What time is it?" he repeated. The young Sylelian glanced at his wrist chrono, shook it, tapped it, pounded it on the table, and shook his head. "Ah, Sithspawn--my chrono is broken."

Arra rumbled a comment.

"Yeah, my eyes are telling me it's time for bed too. It's been a long day. What do you say we head back to the Wind?"

Outside the cantina, night was coming on. Caeben took off his chrono and knocked his knuckle against it, then shook his head again. Arra growled for him to hurry.

"Excuse me, sir. Do you need your chrono fixed?"

Caeben looked up, then down, and found himself staring into the blue eyes of a street boy. Arra woofed a short bark of surprise.

"What?" Caeben managed.

The boy's eyes were intelligent and straightforward. With a thin hand he pushed too-long dark brown hair away from his face, revealing a bruise on his cheek. Arra saw other dark bruises and livid welts through the rends in his ragged tunic.

"I can repair your chrono." The small urchin indicated the tool kit on his hip. "Five credits."

It was less than a shop would charge, so the pilot handed the chrono over. The boy took out a small multi tool, opened the device, glanced at the inner workings, then set to work. Within a minute he closed the chrono and handed it back.

Caeben looked it over, found it to be in perfect working condition, and reached into his credit pouch. The waif's skill and speed had left him speechless.

Arra looked the lad over with discerning eyes. His uncannily correct judgment of character had often stood him in good stead where he existed at the edges of the law, and he saw here a street vrelt that refused to act like one.

The boy was at ease in his surroundings, showing he had survived the streets for some time, but he hadn't begged and he hadn't tried to steal Caeben's credit pouch, which Arra knew by painful experience was very easy for most street boys. The youth had repaired the chrono with a competence and swiftness beyond the best of the trade, and he had asked less than a reasonable price.

Arra also saw that the young alley waif was swaying a little with hunger or pain, his thin body covered with welts and bruises. The Wookiee's compassion was aroused.

Caeben was also interested in the small fixer, but only because of his unusual abilities. The pilot handed over twice the asked price. "What's your name, kid?"

The boy looked startled. "Jae Tallen, sir." He glanced at the credit chit in his hand, then tried to give it back. "I'm sorry, I don't have enough change."

"Keep it, Jae. You look like you could use a good meal."

The diminutive Crenellian nodded slowly.

Arra turned to his human friend. [Ask him what else he can repair,] he said in Wookiee.

"Anything," Jae said at once, startling them both. "Mix-beaters, data-logs, comlinks, electronic journals, writing styluses, droids, landspeeders, navicomputers, even hyperdrives."

Arra could tell their interest had warmed the boy. The Wookiee saw the departure of desperate loneliness as it left the youngster's blue eyes, which had been dulled with starvation and anguish of both body and spirit.

"I can fix anything made of metal and wire. I don't really know how, but it's always been that way for me; if I can see it, I can repair it."

[And you understand Wookiee,] Arra rumbled in surprise.

"Yes. Also Sullustan, Rodian, gutter argot, several others."

Caeben looked at the boy with growing interest. "Ever fixed a ship?"

"No… but I think I could, if I was asked to."

"Would you be willing to work for us on our ship, the Sylel Wind? We need a mechanic."

Jae's face suddenly fell. "I can't go beyond Tairan Street." Pointing to the device on his wrist they had taken for a chrono, he explained its function.

[You are a slave?] Arra growled, anger in his soft brown eyes.

The waif's shoulders slumped. "Not until Kaltyk took over this street, about six months ago. I got along pretty well until then, working in a repair shop and sleeping on the street. But that big vrelt and his gang demanded 'protection' fees of all the shop owners, and made my employer let me go so I could work for Kaltyk, begging and picking pockets." He glared angrily at the stun bracelet. "This keeps me from leaving, but I won't steal and I won't beg." Jae glanced at Arra, hard determination in his eyes. "I just won't. Kaltyk beats me every day because I never reach my quota, and I'm always hungry, but I will not steal. I just won't. And that's that."

Caeben had lost interest the moment he learned Jae could not go with them to work on the Wind. "Come on, Arra. Let's get back and get some sleep."

Arra did not like leaving the boy; he had grown firmly attached to him even in such a short time. He asked Jae why he could not take off the stun device, for he certainly had the tools and mechanical ability.

"Attempts at removal activate it," Jae wearily replied, leaning against the wall. "And then the tracking function kicks in. Every time I've tried, when I woke Kaltyk was there and beat me again."

Arra saw the despairing desolation of being totally and completely alone return to the port waif's eyes, and somewhere within his furry chest Arra's heart ached in sympathy.

"Come on Arra, let's get back to the Wind."

The Wookiee reluctantly let himself be dragged along the street, frequently glancing back. Jae had sunk down to the pavement and hid his face in his arms, despondently leaning on his knees. He looked very small and vulnerable, alone and lonely.

As the sun sank all the way down, street and shop lights flicked on. It promised to be another beautiful night on Crenellia, the brilliant stars shining in their myriad patterns even through the thick haze of Imperial pollution.

At the end of the street Arra turned, wanting a last glimpse of the unusual street boy. At the sight he grabbed Caeben.

"What--?" The young pilot swung around. "Oh."

A group of large youths had converged on Jae's position. He was standing, slight figure dwarfed by the youths, pinned between two of them and facing the leader. The leader fingered a few credits in his hand, among them the one Caeben had given the boy.

Even from down the street they could hear the young gang leader. "Huh, fourteen credits. Better than yesterday, but still not quite thirty. You aren't holding out on me, are ya?"

Arra growled and started heading back, hands moving to the blasters he had on both hips. Caeben followed, cursing softly, but Arra's affair was his affair, no matter how foolhardy. "Arra, this isn't our fight. Leave it alone, will ya?"

Arra growled the negative and asked whose fight it was then as he slipped into cover behind a fruit stand. Caeben followed. They silently traveled closer to where they could hear Kaltyk's voice. "Okay, comrades, hold him down."

Arra barely suppressed a roar of rage as he heard the cruel sounds of leather striking flesh. They went for more than a minute--a seemingly eternal minute--as the crew of the Wind sneaked steadily nearer.

At last Arra burst out of cover with a Wookiee roar, Caeben at his heels. At the sight of the enraged two-meter creature, all muscle and fur, the youths scattered--all except Kaltyk, whom Caeben grabbed in a chokehold. The Sylelian's blaster dug through the young tyrant's spiky green hair and into his temple.

"Drop the belt," Caeben growled, his slow-coming compassionate ire raised by the sight of blood on Jae's back. The boy still lay where he had been held, for a moment too weak and ill to rise.

Kaltyk muttered a strangled curse as he dropped the bloody strip of reptiloid leather. Caeben's arm around his throat made it tough to breathe.

Arra knelt by Jae and helped him sit up, his anger gone as quickly as it had come. He wurfled a concerned inquiry.

"I'll be all right," Jae said shakily, gripping Arra's hairy arm for support. He glanced warily at Kaltyk. "At least, I will be until you leave. He'll be worse than ever tomorrow."

"Don't worry, kid, you're coming with us," Caeben said, making up his mind at last.

Arra barked his thanks and gently ruffled Jae's dark hair. Something leapt into the kid's blue eyes, completely dispelling the despair and loneliness that had already been partly banished by their mere presence.

"He can't!" Kaltyk said angrily despite his constricted throat. "Only I know the code!" The boy's grip tightened on Arra's arm, and the Wookiee growled, leaning protectively a little closer to the shaking waif.

"So tell it to us," Caeben said dangerously, tightening his hold on the gang leader's throat.


The blaster muzzle dug harder into Kaltyk's head. "You don't have a choice, vrelt."

Kaltyk swallowed in sudden nervousness. Being a coward, he didn't have an alternative. "All right," he gritted. "Beneath that protrusion is a button. Push it."

Jae pressed the button Kaltyk pointed at and a panel flipped open, revealing a tiny numpad.

"Enter 35562108," Kaltyk said resentfully. "The stun bracelet will open into two halves."

The boy entered the code with a small trembling hand and the device fell off his arm. Jae gasped with relief and leaned back against Arra's furry side, hardly able to believe his good fortune. "I'm free," he whispered.

"Free as the wind." Caeben grinned. He released Kaltyk, keeping his blaster trained on the belligerent youth. "Get outta here." The young man fled, fury in his hard features.

Arra stood and helped the youngster to his feet, leaving the stun bracelet where it had fallen. Jae suppressed a groan. His entire body ached fiercely and relentlessly, and his stomach was tied in several anguished knots. But he was no longer alone! Someone had stood up for him, had taken his side.

"Time to get back to the Wind," Caeben said with satisfaction, replacing his blaster in its holster. "We've found our mechanic."

Arra rumbled a worried question.

"Yes, I can walk," Jae said faintly.

They had made it two blocks when Jae collapsed but was caught from hitting the ground by Arra's strong hands. Back on his feet for the moment, he stood swaying, blue eyes clouded and dazed.

"Kid, are you all right?" For once, Caeben was pulled out of his self-centered shell. Genuine concern softened his features.

Jae's arms wrapped around his torso, and he bent almost double with pain. "I-I can't go on," he murmured slowly, head spinning.

Arra growled and scooped the shaking urchin up in his arms. [Quickly, to the Wind,] he said. [We have med facilities there.]

Caeben didn't argue, but swiftly led the way.

The lights and shadows of the Rismyne streets whirled around Jae, and he leaned on Arra's furry warmth and closed his eyes. Pain and hunger faded into black, leaving one thought--I am free.

Kyell Tallen entered Tairan Street, glancing over the few sentients who moved about under the lamp-lit night. All law-abiding citizens of Rismyne had gone home by now, leaving the night to the rogues, thieves, and alley waifs.

Not to mention Rebels, Kyell thought with an inward grin as he kicked at a piece of machinery lying on the ground. Suddenly he stopped and picked it up. Is this what I think it is?

A stun bracelet. Kyell shuddered and dumped it in a nearby recycler unit. Slavery was yet another reason he had joined the Rebellion.

Besides the fact, of course, that the Imperials had killed his family and confiscated their property just because Governor Shelpion was bored and greedy. Kyell had been at the Imperial academy on Carida when he had learned the news.

His family had been investigated for 'anti-Imperial sympathies,' all poppycock and hogwash. Kyell's father had protested the stormtroopers' rough treatment of his wife, and the entire Tallen family was slain for 'resisting justice.' Enraged and grief-stricken, Kyell joined the Rebellion on his next leave and began working as a slicer, a trade he excelled in.

Never thought I'd be coming back, the twenty-two-year-old thought, glancing at the familiar Crenellian night sky. A cool breeze ruffled his sandy brown hair.

While slicing into Imperial records, Kyell had found evidence that his brother, at the time of debacle eight years old, had fled into the street and not been found. Five years after the tragedy, Kyell stared at the data he'd accidentally stumbled across, mind spinning in shock and sudden hope. Could Jae have survived on the street for this long?

It was worth a hard search. Kyell had thought his entire family was dead, and the slimmest chance that Jae had survived was enough to have him begging leave from his Rebel commander and searching the streets of Rismyne for his brother with a microcular if necessary.

Kyell stepped into The Rainbow Vrelt. He was thirsty and ready to rest his feet.

Just inside the door he paused, blue eyes flashing. A youth with spiky green hair stood in front of the portly owner, hand out with the palm up. Several other menacing-looking malcontents backed him up.

"Come on, old man. Spit out the credits. I'm in a bad mood."

"But Kaltyk, I already paid this week," the graying man said, swallowing nervously. "I don't have enough right now!"

"Oh, too bad," Kaltyk said not at all regretfully, grabbing the man's collar. "I'm gonna have to teach you a lesson, just like I do the street brats." The youth's fist waved before the cantina owner's eyes.

"Hold it," Kyell said, stepping toward them. "That's no way to treat an elderly person. Every Crenellian knows that."

Kaltyk released his intended victim and spun around to face his new opponent. "Who do you think you are?" The owner of the cantina slunk out of the sight of the angry young gang leader.

"A Crenellian."

Kaltyk's buddies surrounded Kyell smoothly and efficiently.

"Yeah, well soon you're going to be dead, friend Crenellian." Kaltyk's voice was smug and contented. "Go on, comrades; let's teach him not to mess with us."

Kyell fought well with the advantage of training and greater experience and strength than these street vrelts, but there was no way he could ultimately prevail. They were too many and too mad, and the injuries Kyell inflicted only infuriated them more. During the first minute and a half he managed to avoid being struck, but the tide of battle was gradually turning. Before long he was being mercilessly beaten.

Two minutes into the one-sided fight, four stormtroopers appeared in The Rainbow Vrelt, summoned by the owner. Kyell had never thought he'd be glad to see that repulsive white armor, but he was now.

"What's going on here?"

Kyell dragged himself to his feet, bleeding in three or four places and nursing a bruised rib. "These vrelts were threatening the owner of this cantina."

"Lies!" Kaltyk blasted. "This scum was disturbing the peace, and we law-abiding citizens wouldn't stand for it. We fought him for the sake of the Empire, though he struggled like a dust-adder and hurt some of us."

That, at least, was true. More than one hapless teen was fingering a bloody nose, black eye, or sore rib. One was doubled up on the floor, gasping like a crell-fish out of water. But Kaltyk had stayed out of the fight, letting his cronies battle with the lone Rebel.

"Is this true?" the stormtrooper asked the cantina keeper.

The man glanced at Kaltyk. The youth's hard eyes told him that if he stuck with the truth, he would pay dearly. He caught the message and nodded miserably.

The stormtrooper turned back to the stunned Kyell Tallen. "You are under arrest on charges of disturbing the peace."

Kyell swallowed and silently resolved to resist the inevitable interrogations as long as possible. He had learned too many Alliance secrets, working with pure data for as long as he had. But ultimately, resistance was futile. So much for his search for Jae, and most likely for him and his Rebel friends as well.

Governor Mynan Shelpion fingered the gold knob of his black crystallite cane, the ruby in the ring on his puffy hand flashing in the bright light of his office. "And that's all you've been able to get out of the prisoner?"

"Yes sir. Only his name, Kyell Tallen, and his claimed reason for coming to Rismyne. Personally, I think that talk about looking for his brother is garbage. I was on the squad that suppressed the Tallen family. No one got away except this Kyell, whom we later heard skipped out on leave from the Carida academy. His instructor there was sure he had become a Rebel."

Shelpion tossed the data pad he had been studying down on his desk. "As I remember it, an eight-year-old boy ran out the door and was never found."

Captain Anlessic snorted. "No child could survive the night streets of Rismyne."

"Still, conduct a search. Our having the boy would have profound effects on the prisoner. Has Tallen admitted to Rebel involvement yet?"

"No sir. He has a unique ability to resist interrogation."

Shelpion looked up at him. "Keep a double-sharp look out for Rebels, Captain. Arrest even slightly suspicious characters, such as Wookiees."

Anlessic nodded. "Yes sir."

Consciousness returned, and with it pain. A moan escaped Jae before he could stop it, and he shifted slightly where he lay. Kaltyk's beating had been thorough and biting, though cut off. Familiar as the boy was with the pain of welts old and new, he had difficulty ignoring it, especially in the first moments of waking in the street, lying on rough stone.

But he was not lying on the pavement! The young port vrelt was in a warm bunk, covered by a soft blanket, his cheek on a pillow. A gentle paw-hand touched the other.

The boy opened his eyes, surprised to find a furry brown face near his own. Suddenly memory returned.

"Arra?" he whispered cautiously. Sudden warmth welling in his heart forced Jae to blink back tears. Arra, his friend, who had dared fight for him, a worthless street waif.

The Wookiee wuffled in a relieved tone, gently stroking the boy's cheek. It had been a little difficult but worth it for the huge being to get on eye level with his patient.

"Where--?" Jae asked. "How long have I been asleep?" At his companion's response he blinked. "Twelve hours? Stars above us."

Slowly the boy struggled to a sitting position, ignoring Arra's concerned grumbling. "I'm better Arra, honest. What was wrong with me?"

"Just hunger and malnourishment as far as the medcomp could figure," Caeben said, appearing in the doorway with a tray of food. The pilot's dark gray eyes twinkled. "How ya feeling, kid?"

The smell of the food hit Jae like a ton of bricks. "Hungry!"

"Okay, let's eat."

After the meal Jae felt much stronger and ready to get to work, but Arra insisted he rest for at least another eight hours. Caeben disappeared forward on his own business, but Arra wanted to stay with the boy at least until he fell asleep.

Jae was too curious for sleep though. There was so much he wanted to know about his new friends.

"How did you meet Caeben Matock?" he asked.

[Cantina brawl,] Arra said, snuffling with laughter. [I'd been keeping an eye on him, liked his looks, you see, scruffy but good deep down, when he got accused of cheating at sabacc and a free-for-all broke loose. I saved his life, and we took a liking to each other. So we became partners.]

"He doesn't seem to like me much."

Arra ruffled the boy's hair comfortingly. [That is just Caeben. He is afraid to let anyone come too close.] The big Wookiee sighed. [As long as I've known him, I've never seen him open up to anyone but me. His heart is in a shell.]

"I'm sorry to hear that," Jae said softly. "He seems lonely to me."

[Perhaps. It would be only natural. While he was on his first job, working as a relief pilot on a large freighter, his family went on vacation-to Alderaan. They were there when the Empire paid its visit.]

Jae shuddered. "The Empire destroyed my family as well. Five years ago they slew my family, and Governor Shelpion took over the property. And I was on the streets, alone and homeless."

Arramylian squeezed Jae's shoulder, being careful not to hurt the boy. [The Imps stole my future as well. They made my mate Woothiramilla a slave, and took her far away.] A tear welled up in the Wookiee's eye. [Long I searched for her, only to find she had been taken to Endor, a planet closed to all but Imperials. Still I hope for a way, but it is not likely.]

"I'm sorry, Arra. The Empire has a lot to answer for."

[Yes, little one. And the only ones able to make them pay are a motley band of Rebels. Still I hope, I hope.]

"Perhaps you should join the Rebellion."

Arra's voice was thoughtful. [Perhaps you are right, little one.] His tone became brisk. [Now is the time for you to sleep, Jae. Soon enough you will be working on this pile of scrap. Now rest.]

Jae settled down against his pillow with a smile, and slowly his eyes shut. Arramylian wuffled approval and caressed his forehead, then went up front to see what Caeben was doing.

Later, after a long sleep and another meal, Jae was eager to get working doing what he loved, repairing machinery. Caeben took him on the grand tour--beginning with a good look at the outside. The Sylelian was proud of his beautiful ship, and he wanted his young mechanic to get the full effect.

Jae took it all in: the gently curving lines, the smooth paneling, the almost organic molding. It was a gorgeous ship, more like a work of art than a hunk of metal designed to keep beings alive while hurtling through the empty void of space. The young Crenellian nodded to himself as he examined the Sylel Wind, going over a mental list.

"Well?" the pilot asked, waiting for an exuberant reaction. He never failed to get exclamations of wonder and delight from those who saw his lovely Wind. "What do you think, kid?"

"Impressive," Jae said. Then to Caeben's utter shock and wounded pride he added, "I didn't know a ship of this configuration could handle this much. You've upgraded everything by at least a hundred percent, haven't you?"

Caeben mumbled something under his breath--most likely a curse. From the hatchway, Arra barked with laughter.

[She can't handle that much, friend Tallen,] the Wookiee said. [That is why we need you.]

"Please show me the rest of your ship, Captain Matock," Jae said. Only the 'captain' saved him from some choice phrases.

Caeben led him on a detailed tour, his proud mood spoiled. The boy continued to stun him at every turn with insightful comments and questions the Sylelian could not answer. Gradually his sourness gave way to reluctant admiration.

"How do you know all this stuff?" he asked as Jae began marking a flimsy with a list of supplies he would require.

"I don't know." The former waif glanced up with surprise in his blue eyes. "I just know what is right and what is out of place. I notice a cable slightly different from the others, an odd casing--it's mostly intuitive, I think."

Caeben shook his head in wonder. "You must be some kind of genius."

The boy reddened. "N-not really. I missed five years of schooling--can't do more than multiply and divide. But I know machines inside and out."

Arra snorted an amused agreement. He liked Caeben Matock, but he didn't mind seeing him taken down a notch by a youngster half his size. The Wookiee found it extremely entertaining.

Jae held out the flimsy. "Here's the list. I'll need it pretty soon."

Arra took it and prepared to set out. The items weren't all that expensive, but the quantity was a little surprising. Fifty Y2 couplings, sixty-five trans-nirem wires, thirty bren fuses… The Wookiee took his credit pouch and was out the hatchway.

"Captain Matock, will you show me where the tools are?"

Jae went through the tools with several grunts of satisfaction and one yelp of surprise. "Where are the hydrospanners?"

"What?" Caeben was startled.

"What happened to your hydrospanners?"

The pilot scratched his dark brown head, trying to remember. "Oh yeah, I lost them in a game of sabacc."

Jae was slightly scandalized. "You gambled your hydrospanners? Captain Matock."

"I've turned over a new leaf since then," Caeben defended himself, looking embarrassed.

The boy sighed. "I'll have to send Arra right back out once he returns."

"No, he hates that," Caeben said, flushing red with chagrin. "Look--you stay here, I'll go and tell him and help carry back the stuff."

"All right," Jae said wearily. "I won't be able to do much until I get some hydrospanners. Get a whole set, okay? All the way from two millimeters to ten centimeters."

"Okay. We'll be back soon. Just lie down and rest, okay?" Caeben disappeared out the hatchway.

Jae sighed again and made his way to his bunk. Nothing else to do, and he was still sore anyway…. Not tired enough to sleep, though, he spent the time in wakeful dreams, painting hopeful pictures of a future far away from the streets of Rismyne and Kaltyk's cruelty, somewhere he could be free, and make a difference for the better in the galaxy instead of merely surviving. Somewhere… like the Rebellion. Jae smiled slowly to himself. Yeah, the Rebellion….

Part 2