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Arcing the armed charge over her head with one hand and pointing her blaster with the other, Jacqueline backed away from the crowd. Injured as she was in the lowest levels of Coruscant, her pockets — and more — were primed for the picking.

Back off,� she growled at them, thumbing the explosive trigger on the charge. ��Cuz I had a really bad day, and more than happy to fuck up yours with mine.�

A few shots fired indiscriminately into the crowd and eventually Coruscant�s scavengers peeled off in search of an easier target. Those the shots hit lay in the street. No one tended to them save their pockets. Others lingered at a distance, eyeing Jacqueline as she limped in the direction of her speeder, like carrion birds watching an eventual meal. The captain knew well that a stumble or moment of unconsciousness, any credit chip, datapad, blaster, or even clothing was ripe for the taking. Such was survival in the depths of Coruscant.

She only doubled back once, not liking a shadow she caught in the corner of her eye. Once assured her pursuit was simply a conjuring of her own imagination, she set back on course. Taking the streets� twists and turns like a veteran, soon she found her speeder. Predictably, it was picked at too, but its vultures found little to quarrel over but barbs. Scorch marks marred the walls where the speeder�s defenses activated, showering would-be thieves with blaster bolts. One lay lifeless in the street. Jacqueline ignored it.

Her left side burned, the skin raw with a burn. A bolt, a hit from the flamethrower, or something else, Jacqueline was left hip-to-armpit with seared skin. Her first attempt to mount the speeder failed, her injuries proving too great to maintain a proper stance and grip. After her fourth failed attempt, she sat against it, opting for the medkit stashed in the speeder�s locked storage instead. There was hardly enough Kolto or even burn cream to tend to anything more than the absolute worst of it. The rest was up to the pain meds, whenever they would blissfully kick in.

Laying her head back, she sucked in breath and waited, her eyes slowly scanning her surroundings. Her fingers fumbled over her datapad, finding it mostly intact. She tapped out a quick message and sent it, then paused. After a quick visual survey of nearby, she spared her eyes a few extra seconds and quickly searched bounty head postings. She grimaced at the empty results.

�Could�ve sworn the fucker was a bounty hunter,� she murmured to herself, tilting her head back. Her mind�s eye replayed the fight, lingering on the moments the captain was suspended mid-air. �Some kind of Force-using, hired asshole of a failed fucking hitman.�

Brembal,� she grunted, but though the name carried a deep resentment, it also bore doubt. Would the old Sith resort to such a blatant attempt? Why, and why now? Surely the child caught between them could sense such intent, or eventually would. The old Sith would factor such a calculation. Jackie had.

More likely someone on the board wanted her dead, or a company rival — or an old friend.

�Heh,� she mumbled, feeling the pain meds finally kick in. Though her left side still ached, her speeder piloting was passable now. Or at least she wasn�t liable to fall off mid-flight. Still, it took two attempts to properly mount the speeder before setting on her way. In spite the pain, she took the roundabout route, eyeing her aft for pursuit. 

In the midst of it all, her datapad bleeped with two messages. At one, she rolled her eyes. The second abruptly changed her course for home.

Author Ari
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