Warning: The following chapter contains scenes depicting torture and violence, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.
The Coruscant spaceport was busy; Shadie had a hard time finding Talyc’s Force signature. He had undoubtedly been here, but they would have to retrace their steps back and go from there. There were too many Force signatures and presences in this area to find Talyc’s.
‘I don’t understand,’ said Fane. ‘If someone’s presence can be sensed, how is it we’re not finding Talyc’s.’
‘Because he’s not here,’ said Shadie. ‘Not anymore. If he were here right now, we’d be able to find his Force signature, but if he was weak when he was here, then his presence would have already been faint in the Force, and thus any lingering presence, days later, would be gone.’
‘Then we need to go to the Temple,’ said Fane.
They travelled to the hallways where Shadie had intercepted Master Herl’unik. She found Talyc’s Force signature.
Fane gasped. ‘He was upset. I can feel it. He was alarmed and hurt.’ Fane looked up at Shadie. ‘I hurt him.’
‘I fear someone has hurt him, but not you, Fane.’
They followed the lingering signature of the Force presence through the halls and into the streets of Coruscant, all the way to a turbolift. They took the lift down. It led down many levels, down to one of the lower districts, a slummier area, though it was much higher than Coruscant’s lowest districts. They followed the Force signature that seemed to change from hurt to angry.
They arrived at a tapcaf. The sign read: “Open all day. Open all night.” They noticed some flickering lights as they entered. The place was scarcely furnished and only two patrons sat at opposite ends of the tapcaf. A burley man came to greet them.
‘Do you serve drinks?’ asked Shadie.
‘I do! What’s your poison?’
‘Whatever your special is. One for me and one for my friend here,’ Shadie pointed at Fane who was studying the place, ‘and one for yourself.’
‘Ah, you’re too kind.’ The burley fellow poured them their drinks, as Shadie and Fane sat at the bar. Shadie placed a generous amount of credichips on the counter. ‘To what do I owe this pleasure?’ the man asked.
‘To sharing information,’ said Shadie. She gestured towards her lightsaber. ‘We’re Jedi. We’re looking for someone who might have come here for some drinks the other night. I have it in good faith that he was in here until late.’
‘What’s he look like?’ asked the man from behind the counter.
‘Mandalorian,’ said Fane. ‘Purple and brown armour.’ He showed him a holo image of Talyc.
The man thought for a moment. ‘I heard of a man with this said armour coming in here the other night. Left without paying.’
‘Easily fixed,’ said Shadie, adding more credits to the pile she’d already placed on the counter.
‘Also left with my waitress,’ continued the man.
‘What?’ said Fane, slamming a hand on the counter and standing.
‘Fane!’ Shadie said firmly. He took a breath at her warning and sat back down. ‘Can we speak to this waitress of yours?’
‘No,’ said the man shrugging. ‘I haven’t seen her since the other day. It’s as though she just…’ he shrugged, ‘disappeared.’
Shadie saw Fane blush, as though realising he’d jumped to conclusions and now understood this waitress must have been the one to capture Talyc.
‘She was a new hire too,’ the man said. ‘Must have gotten a better offer somewhere else.’
‘Got a description for this waitress?’ asked Shadie.
‘Tall, Mirialan, dark green, lime hues in all the right areas, very beautiful. She’s got a face tattoo, some lines and some dots, shapes, you know how they are.’
‘Thank you!’ Shadie added a few more credits. She stood and exited the tapcaf.
‘Some lines and some dots?’ said Fane, standing right outside the entrance, glancing around the area. ‘Because that narrows the pool to identifying her among all other Mirialans.’
‘Well, at least now we know what happened,’ said Shadie. ‘Somewhat. We just need to figure out where she took him.’
‘Or who she is,’ said Fane.
‘Fane, I promised you we’d find him. We’ll find him.’ Though Shadie was beginning to be a little unsure herself.
It was clear there had been something in Talyc’s drink for the waitress to be able to overpower him, otherwise he would have fought her off, and there would have been marks in the tapcaf or around the area to indicate a fight, had there been one. It seemed patrons so seldom visited this place; there had not been a fight for ages. Other than graffiti and old laser burn marks, the area was clean.
After searching the surrounding areas for Talyc’s signature in the Force, they lost it. It had become too faint, too weak. So they returned to the Temple to give an account to Master Herl’unik, who seemed concerned to know about the disappearance and the strange occurrences. Then Shadie and Fane returned to Mandalore.
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