"What a nice start to the day," Klin-Fa Gi commented, cutting her dark eyes at Uldir. Her sarcasm wasn't lost.
"At least we're alive," he said. "That was anything but a given last night."
Klin-Fa's mouth settled in a thin line. Uldir wondered if he would ever see the young Jedi smile. She was pale, her short brown hair matted and full of silt from the flood they had survived the night before, and the bump on her forehead had gone a shade of purple he'd heretofore seen only in certain nebulae. Still, he felt if she smiled, she'd be pretty.
Annoying, almost insufferable, but pretty.
"Yes, we're alive," she admitted. "Bravo. Terrific job. Now if you'll just take care of that search patrol and the -- what? Eight enforcement fliers? Maybe I'll forget that if it weren't for you I wouldn't be in this mess at all."
That was a little too much. "CSA was chasing you before I ever laid eyes on you," Uldir said. "Without me they'd have you by now."
"Doubtful," Klin-Fa retorted. Then she sighed. "Also irrelevant. Do you have any weapons?"
"No. I lost the blaster." My hands were full saving you from drowning, he silently finished.
"At least I still have my lightsaber."
"Yeah," Uldir said, eyeing the ever-nearing search party coming down the arroyo toward the cave where Klin-Fa and he were hiding. "Look, I'll admit you're pretty handy with that thing, but against these odds -- "
"The Force can prevail against any odds," she insisted firmly. "Anyway, it's not like we have a choice. They'll find us soon enough. Unless you have a plan."
"I do, as a matter of fact. Sit tight until the rest of my outfit shows up. They're bound to be here soon. If you want to use the Force, try to project the thought that we're in a different direction."
Klin-Fa's mouth twisted as if she'd just chewed a sour thom, but she eased her head in a reluctant half-nod. "That might work -- even at this distance, I might be able to project a suggestion. But it won't fool that Yuuzhan Vong down there." She lifted her chin toward one of the members of the search party. Even from this distance, Uldir could make out the scars and tattoos that marked him as a member of the extragalactic invaders bent on conquering the galaxy -- and doing a more than competent job of it so far.
"True," he admitted, "But he doesn't know where we are. He'll have to trust his local guides."
Klin-Fa grunted what he guessed was agreement, took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She reached out her arm, and the fingers of her right hand fluttered slightly. Uldir felt the Force in motion, which had the affect of deepening his frustration with the whole situation. He'd studied at the Jedi academy but left it a failure, having no natural aptitude for the Force. The most his training had left him with was a slight ability to sense Jedi when they worked with the Force, and what some would say was an uncommon sort of luck. Still, the experience had taught him something important -- sometimes it didn't matter how hard you wanted something, you weren't going to get it. You lived with what you did have and took pride in your real assets, not the ones you wished you possessed. He'd thought he was over useless self-remonstration at his failure, and he had been. He really had -- at least until Klin-Fa Gi had bounced off the center of his table in a local cantina, pursued by law enforcement officials of the Corporate Sector Authority. Her attitude had managed to wake the old resentment in him. Why did someone like her have such strong affinity with the Force, while he could only hear it whisper?
It wasn't fair, which made him even angrier, because he knew the universe wasn't fair.
But it ought to be balanced. That was what the Force was all about, right? And there was something very unbalanced about Klin-Fa Gi. When she had used the Force to cushion the crash of their atmospheric flier, he'd almost thought he sensed something dark.
Her eyes were still closed, and Uldir studied her. She didn't look evil, in her tattered yellow skirt and black leggings. She looked young and intent.
Ah, what do I know? Uldir asked himself. I couldn't tell a Sith from Master Yoda himself, not with my puny senses.
She'd said she was on a secret mission for Master Skywalker. He'd believe her until proven wrong. Anyway, she was Jedi, and Uldir's job was to rescue Jedi from the Yuuzhan Vong and their agents. He might not be able to use the Force, but no one had ever said he wasn't good at his job. There wasn't a better rescue pilot in the business.
Of course, right about now it would be nice to have something to pilot.