Knarf sat by the Holonet console in the Clan Kandera bunker working through some codes he was receiving from several signals and channels. Shadie swivelled in the chair in which she sat, somewhat bored. T4 kept twiddling on about something.
‘I’m sure Fane’s all right,’ said Knarf. He looked at the droid. ‘Anyway, since when are you so worried about other Jedi? You’re a Mandalorian droid.’ T4 beeped a reply, an elaborate reply. Knarf laughed. ‘I suppose that’s true, T4; we’re all practically Mandalorians by now. I forget sometimes how you’ve known us this long.’ T4 beeped a series of comical sounding sequences in his binary language.
‘Well, I’m telling you,’ said Shadie, ‘it’s the second time Dargoza is put to shame by a Force-user. I don’t think he’s going to mess with us again.’
‘Not any time soon, no,’ said Knarf.
At that moment, Brenum and Trylia arrived.
‘Ah, conversational company arrives at last!’ Shadie exclaimed.
‘Why, is he that boring?’ laughed Brenum.
‘Right now, he is,’ said Shadie.
‘Hey, I’m trying to figure this out, here. I need my focus,’ said Knarf.
‘Any news from Fane or Talyc?’ asked Trylia, concerned. ‘Neither of them returned to the tavern last night after the two of you left.’
‘Yeah, after you two opted for a quiet walk home,’ said Brenum, ‘Trylia and I got chatting with the patrons. We hung around as long as we could. We were hoping you had news.’
Shadie shook her head. ‘I haven’t heard from Fane and he wasn’t at his apartment.’
‘Oh, I hope he doesn’t feel bad for what Dargoza said to him,’ said Trylia.
‘I’m sure he’s fine,’ replied Shadie.
‘So, what are you doing, Knarf?’ asked Brenum.
‘I’m trying to figure Perce out.’
‘Eh? Come again?’ The blue-haired Jedi leaned in, creasing his forehead.
‘He keeps tampering with some Holonet signals, or various channels,’ Knarf explained. ‘Every time he does something, I slice it, and he has to try something else.’
‘Isn’t he going to figure you out too?’ asked Trylia.
‘That’s what I’m hoping he thinks,’ said Knarf. ‘You see, he thinks that every time he programs or jams something, I’ll figure it out, so that he can learn to do something I won’t ever be able to slice. However, as soon as he does something complex enough for it to look realistic, I won’t slice it, let him think he’s got me.’
‘What if he still discovers some of your secrets or methods?’ asked Brenum.
‘That’s what I’m banking on,’ replied Knarf.
‘I’m still not following, but I trust your judgement,’ said Brenum.
Fane arrived at that moment. He was followed by Talyc, who was back in his usual purple and brown armour.
‘Fane,’ said Brenum. ‘You okay?’
‘Yes,’ said Fane, nodding.
‘I’m telling you, Dargoza sure felt shame from his Scorekeeper after you pushed him the way you did,’ said Brenum. ‘It’s a shame you weren’t there to see it.’
‘It’s okay. I, uh,’ Fane scratched his head awkwardly, ‘cleared my mind instead. Meditative activities.’
‘Oh, that’s good to hear,’ said Brenum. Shadie smiled, stifling a laugh.
‘I think he means he was with someone,’ said Knarf casually.
‘Oh,’ said Brenum. ‘And what about you?’ he asked Talyc. ‘Brought anyone home?’
Fane blushed. Talyc looked around shyly, and scratched behind his ear. The two were as obvious as a rancor in a nexu cage.
‘I see you blushing,’ said Brenum. ‘Who are the lucky ladies?’
‘Uh, Brenum,’ said Shadie, bringing her hand to her mouth to hide her smile. She shook her head. ‘No ladies.’
Knarf turned and pointed at Fane and then Talyc. ‘The two of them,’ he said. He swivelled back to the console and continued his slicing.
‘What, you two? Oh, together!’ Brenum’s eyes widened, then he grinned.
‘Oh, that is so wonderful,’ said Trylia, placing her hands on her cheeks. ‘I’m so happy for you.’ She gave them both a hug.
‘It was about time, if you ask me,’ said Shadie. ‘The way he’d been pining over him.’
‘You told her how you felt about me?’ Talyc asked Fane.
‘No.’ Fane shook his head.
‘Talyc,’ said Shadie, ‘you forget that Fane is my apprentice, and therefore we share a bond that allows us to understand each other in certain ways. I’ve known for a while, well, suspected. And you’re no better. Feigning you’re afraid of death when he saves your life.’
Fane looked at Talyc. ‘You said…’
‘I know. I was falling…for you.’ He smiled shyly, and then offered Fane his hand. ‘Seeing as our friends know now, no point in depriving ourselves of showing our affection.’ Fane took his hand.
‘Oh, you two,’ said Brenum. ‘So romantic. It feels good doesn’t it, to show affection thus?’ He looked at Trylia.
Talyc leaned his forehead on Fane’s. Shadie smiled at Fane and winked.
‘Talyc!’ a shout came from the other end of the bunker.
Everyone stood at the ready. Mandalore walked in.
‘I need to speak with you.’ Mandalore looked at the others. ‘In private.’
Talyc looked at Fane and then back at Mandalore. Shadie wondered if it had anything to do with Dargoza.
Talyc followed Mandalore out of the bunker.
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