Scum and Villainy?
Zeltron escaped slave, looking to get off-world ASAP.
Xeea was taken from Zeltros by Hutt slavers, years ago, as a girl. She doesn’t remember being captured. One moment she was playing in the woods and the next she was in a cage on a ship careening across the galaxy. She could sense great fear in the other inhabitants of the cages—mostly children, crying for their parents—the occasional adolescent. It was then that she learned to turn her empathy off. All the pain, all those weeks in that ship, would’ve been overwhelming. Now when she looks back on that passage, it is a blur of faces and sounds and whispers—which quickly retreated from her awareness as she slipped deep into herself, making up stories to avoid going insane.
Capitalizing on the skills of her race, the slavers sold her to a Hutt casino on Nal Hutta, where she was taught to wander innocuously through the crowd and report emotions that might be associated with cheating or stealing. As the years passed, she quickly rose in the ranks of slaves, reporting on much more than emotions of patrons: she would unravel the plots of workers who were stealing credits from the casino, a floor manager who was running his own business on the side. She was praised for her uncanny skills of perception and given promotion after promotion, as well as free time away from the casino given as a reward for her loyalty. By eighteen, she was “assisting” the floor manager, and had more responsibility—under the table, anyway—than he did. Sometimes she was even sent to Nar Shaddaa, serving as additional support for management when they entertained important guests.
What the casino operators didn’t realize is that she could do much more than empathize with their patrons: as she wandered around, listening and sensing feelings, she was teaching herself—intuitively—to read their surface thoughts. The process was emotionally overwhelming for her, though, and she enjoyed time away from the casino more than anything.
Once a week, she had two days off, on the least busy days of the cycle. She would take the transport out to the edge of the city where she would wander among the trees. The only emotions out there were simple ones: hunger and fear, from wild animals. Primal feelings that felt more natural than what she felt at the casino: pride and desperation, glee and deceit. One day, while she was wandering her favorite forest, she stumbled across a dwelling, where an old man invited her inside to eat. Sensing no ulterior motive, only the curiosity he wore plainly on his face, she followed him inside and ate the soup he gave her. She was fascinated by his mind. It was a placid lake. When she reached out to read it, she got nothing.
Inside the old man introduced her to his “charge,” though she was intrigued to hear the boy’s thoughts, plain as day. Not charge, the boy thought, but ‘padiwan.’ The boy’s name was Sol. At the end of her first day there, the old man—Aztin, he called himself—explained to her what she was: a mystic, who had been born with a facility with the force. One of the Jedi everyone hated, now. Just like them. She cried when he told her, for everything she didn’t understand, for everything that suddenly made sense. She loved that hut, and the man who lived in it, its quiet, its peace. She loved his stories of legendary Jedi pursued by the Empire, across the galaxy. At the end of the two days, when she was supposed to return to the casino, she didn’t want to go.
She came back, every week, during her days off, for a year. At night they listened to Aztin tell stories, which more often than not featured an exiled Jedi who was pursued by the Empire until he found a Utopia planet where he and other misfits lived in peace. Although he refused to answer personal questions, the old man always answered all of their questions about his stories—he told them all about the Utopia planet, what it was like, who lived there, and its customs. Those who lived there were followed an old code, he said, to help those who sought out the planet as a haven in times of great need. The old man, although clearly in his sixties, was very active, training Sol in hand-to-hand combat and what appeared to be theology. Xeea couldn’t help but notice that Sol was very good on his feet and with a sword, but less skilled at rhetoric.
One day, returning to the hut on her first day off from the casino, she arrived to find the hut in disarray and Sol shivering in a corner, half-asleep. He was sweating and mumbling nonsense, when she put her hand on his shoulder. When he woke, jerking at her touch, he remembered nothing of what happened. Reaching into his mind, she discovered he did not even remember his name. She searched the hut for clues, but came up with nothing. At a loss, but not wanting to return to work, she spent the weekend comforting him.
When it was time for Xeea to return to work, she found that she could no longer imagine a life at the casino without these weekends as an escape. Instead of returning, she decided to take Sol off planet to Nar Shaddaa, where she had made contacts who she thought could assist them in getting off-world. Her immediate goal is to escape her slavers and the casino, but she is also looking for information on the Utopia planet, where she suspects Aztin may have fled in his time of need.