The ship entered Hyperspace with no sign of pursuit. Vax breathed out a sigh of relief. Those Jedi had seemingly come out of nowhere, but he didn’t think they knew he had been on-planet.
He stood from his seat at the controls and went to check on Talyc. He put a hand on the unconscious Mandalorian’s face. He felt warmer and the colour was returning to his skin with some pink on his cheeks. Vax observed him for a few moments. He dared not to think what could have happened had he not found him at Awgro’s mercy. While Vax had known Awgro meant to kill a Mandalorian, he had not known the Mandalorian in question was Talyc. The Sith had also not told him was why he wanted to kill him. At least he knew the prototype energy shield functioned as intended.
Vax went to the holoterminal and contacted the Minister of Intelligence; he only now realised the Minister had tried to raise him earlier.
The holoimage of the Minister appeared.
‘Minister,’ said Vax.
‘Cypher Five, I’m glad you are reporting in. I hope you are no longer on Mandalore. The Sith you were accompanying has gone rogue and is no longer to be trusted, as per orders from the Dark Council.’
Vax nodded. ‘I saw that. He tried to kill Clan Leader Talyc Kandera. I arrived in time and had the opportunity to test the prototype energy shield. It works. It saved both of us from Awgro.’
The Minister narrowed his eyes. ‘Now, when you say “both of us,” what exactly do you mean?’
‘I mean precisely that,’ replied Vax. ‘I saved Talyc, and now he’s in my care.’
The Minister stood. ‘You mean to tell me you’ve kidnapped a Mandalorian clan leader?’
‘Kidnapped is a very strong word, Minister,’ said Vax. ‘I saved his life!’ Vax put enough emphasis without raising his voice. ‘Awgro was trying to kill him and he is not stopping there. The Jedi and his clan failed to protect him from Awgro who remains on Mandalore; therefore I deemed it best he come with me. He will be better protected on Dromund Kaas.’
The Minister sighed. ‘Very well. I suppose it is too late to return him now. I hope you know what you’re doing, Cypher Five; technically, that man is our enemy.’
‘He doesn’t have to be,’ said Vax.
‘I want you to bring him in for questioning as soon as you touch down on Dromund Kaas, and I mean immediately when you arrive.’
‘Understood. Cypher out.’
* * *
A small contingent of guards took Talyc from the med bed and lifted him, carrying him from Vax’s ship; the Mandalorian’s feet dragged on the ground. Vax did not particularly like the idea of Talyc being taken in this way, but he had to follow procedure, given he’d essentially acted out of order.
When they arrived at the Minister’s office, the tall man sat behind his desk, scowling.
‘I hope you know what you’re doing bringing this man here to Dromund Kaas,’ he said.
‘You’ve said, yes,’ replied Vax.
The Minister looked at the guards. ‘Remove his armour. Regular procedures.’
The guards removed the armour pieces, as others continued to hold Talyc up. Not quite the way Vax would have imagined watching Talyc being stripped of his gear, but he stood watching, hands behind his back, and did not object to the procedures. The guards put the armour, vibroblade and blaster in a crate and tossed it aside.
‘You’ll safeguard his things,’ said the Minister.
‘Yes. He can stay at my apartment,’ said Vax.
‘With a guard outside your door,’ added the Minister. ‘Now search his person for anything that might be hidden: datapads, recording devices, trackers, anything at all.’
The guards began searching as Talyc started to come to, his head lolling, and his eyes slowly opening. He moaned in discomfort before his eyes went wide and he began wrestling the guards, fighting them as any skilled warrior would. He had one in a lock as another shocked him and punched him in the gut.
‘That’s enough!’ Vax called out, stepping between the guards and Talyc, taking hold of Talyc to help him stand. ‘I did not bring him here to be tortured. I brought him here so that the Empire could protect him from that Sith Awgro.’