Well, that's interesting, Uldir Lochett thought, as a pair of feminine legs in black tights came hurtling over his left shoulder. Above the tights he was vaguely aware of a dark yellow skirt and, even farther up, a young, determined face framed in short dark hair. But it was the feet that held his attention as they hit square in the center of the table at which he and his companions sat, shocking their drinks into brief suborbits. Then the feet were gone, propelling legs, yellow skirt, and all an estimated two meters up and one out toward the balcony above them. Searing flashes of weapon fire hissed by, and Uldir found his hand groping at an empty holster.
"Stop her!" Someone behind Uldir shouted.
Two of his three companions, Uldir saw, were also reaching for weapons that weren't there. The third, a human woman with startling platinum hair, brushed a fleck of Corellian whisky from the long scar beneath her left eye.
"I need a new drink," she noted, as another volley of yellow streamers seared by, striking the synthewood balcony the girl had managed to grab. The patrons of the In the Red cantina were diving away from the newly declared war-zone, but the music from the band continued to blare cheerfully over the sound of weapon fire.
"I hate locals," Leaft growled, thumping the curled fist of his foot on the table and scowling as only a Dug can scowl.
A glance over his shoulder confirmed what Uldir already suspected: The girl's pursuers were Corporate Sector Authority law enforcement, the only people on Bonadan allowed to carry weapons. From the color and intensity of their beams, he figured they were using a stun setting, and in any event their target was definitely the girl, who was now significantly above them, putting Uldir and his companions well out of the line of fire. He relaxed a little, settling his amber gaze on the girl as she heaved herself up, wondering what she had done to provoke such a strong reaction from the local constabulary.
"Very impolite," Vook said, apparently agreeing with the Dug. His flat, noseless Duro face was unreadable, but his tone, as usual, was melancholy, as if even this put him in mind of his lost homeworld.
"I hate vacations," Leaft said, thumping the table again.
It wasn't exactly a vacation. A close scrape with a Yuuzhan Vong interdictor on the Hydian Way had left the transport the unlikely quartet shared with a sputtering hyperdrive and no shields at all. They had managed to limp to the Corporate Sector, a rimward territory still essentially neutral in the conflict between what remained of the free New Republic and the fierce extragalactic Yuuzhan Vong, who were gobbling it up system by system in their religious crusade of conquest. Left with nothing to do while repairs were effected, Uldir figured they could all use a little time off, and consequently the four soon found themselves on the galasol strip, a colorful collection of overpriced cantinas and casinos near the spaceport.
The fleeing girl was dressed like the attendants Uldir had seen earlier that evening at the Blue-Shift Luck casino, but if she was really a game-girl, she was a nimble one. As he watched, she flipped over the balcony, twisting deftly between the several lines of fire directed at her, and crouched behind a now abandoned table. The CSA lawmen clustered below the balcony, firing up.
"That's probably a mistake," remarked Vega Sepen, the platinum-crowned woman.