The droid pilot pulled the vehicle up near a long and broad walkway in the apartment district on Nar Shaddaa. The droid’s head unit was designed to resemble a human one – its face modelled to have all the distinctive feature of a humanoid. However when the droid turned to smile at the passengers, the face seemed bizarre rather than friendly. “We have arrived at the designated destination.” the droid spoke to the people in the back of the air-taxi.
The young man with curly hair and the frail woman carried the unconscious man out of the air-taxi. The man was wearing a two-size bigger blue raincoat, the scorched body slightly revealed beneath it. “That will be 50 credits, Sir.” the droid informed the passengers. Kaster took the credits from an inner pocket of his brown jacket and handed them to the droid. Kaster and Evelyn carried the wounded man on their shoulders, the woman slightly hunched under his weight. The walkways in this sector were mostly empty this time of night – no one dared to challenge the nocturnal authority of the local swoop gangs. When the Hutts’ men were not out on the streets taking care of their bosses’ sector the gangs would take the chance to plunder anything or rob anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves out at this time of night. This walkway was in the middle of a group of tall buildings that seemed to fade into the night sky and a deep pit underneath it seemed to reach to the very centre of the moon.
“Where to now?” the woman asked, her fatigue reflected in her voice.
“I’m not sure. I remember she lived here somewhere. One of these buildings, I think.”
“You think? Well, think faster, please. I can barely hold our friend here.”
“That one!” the man pointed at a nearby building, after examining it for a while “Yes, definitely that one.”
“I hope you’re right.” the woman replied in a slightly more enthusiastic manner this time. She was breathing heavily and her tired eyes seemed even more weary than usual. Evelyn was a refugee here on Nar Shaddaa, and had been ever since she can remember. She was brought here as a child – her family fled from Tatooine to pursue a better life, but ended up on Nar Shaddaa to live their lives in the pits of the refugee sectors. She has managed to get by ever since. Working first as a dancer for Horra the Hutt, back when she was much younger, she managed to provide for the rest of her family – her father and younger brother. Later, when her youth had abandoned her and her body became not as appealing to the crime overlord as it used to be, she started cleaning the cantinas and storage areas in Horra’s sector. With the help of her brother – a tech expert – she had built a cleaning droid, collecting various droid parts in the junkyard near their home. Scruffy, as she called him, wasn’t the best droid but it kept her company during her hardest times – when her father died, and her brother ran away to become an engineer in Gnossa’s cartel. Evelyn had been working hard ever since, but the strain of her constant work had worn her out.
The three made their way across a dark pathway towards the building Kaster had pointed at. The streets were exceptionally quiet, and neither of them seemed too fond of this awkward silence. They placed the man against a corner between the wall and the doorway, and Kaster pressed a button on the intercom, studying the names written there. After a few moments he buzzed it again, and this time the silence was broken with a static sound and a distorted voice coming from the device on the building door.
“Wh…Who is it?” said a drowsy, female voice.
“It’s Kaster. From the hospital, remember.”
“Wha…What time is it? What is it?”
“I have a man here, he is seriously wounded. I’m afraid he might die if we wait for the hospitals to open. Please, he needs your help.” The crackling sound echoed in the air for a while.
“Oh, well, all right. Come up. As long as I’m already up, anyway.”
The mechanic door opened with a click. The two carried him to a turbolift not far from the main door. Kaster pushed a button, and after a few moments of commotion the turbolift stopped, and its automatic door moved aside. Across the hallway was an open door and a woman standing at the threshold, leaning against a wall. She was a beautiful woman in her early thirties, her body was slim and attractive and her freckled face seemed youthful and vigorous, although she could barely keep her eyes open. Her shoulder-length dark hair was still messy from her sleep and she was wearing nothing but a white nightgown. As soon as she saw the unconscious man, she rushed to help the other two carrying him, taking some weight off the obviously over-encumbered woman accompanying Kaster. The three carried the man into the apartment, and laid him on a sofa in the circular living room. The sleepy woman rushed off behind one of the automatic doors, knocking over a vase on her way. A few minutes later she returned carrying a hold-all bag, and knelt by the injured man.
“What happened to him” she said as she examined his injuries.
“We don’t know. He showed up like this just when I was about to close up and soon after collapsed on the floor.” Kaster said, observing the woman leaning over the injured man.
“He suffered some serious bruises and burns all over his body so I’d say he was in a vicinity of an explosion, probably some sort of a grenade.” the woman concluded.
“Can you stabilize him” asked Kaster.
“I’ll try. I’ll tend to his wounds and strap them up, but who knows what kinds of internal injuries he’d suffered. We’ll have to get him to a hospital, as soon as possible”
“Thanks again, and we’re sorry for jumping in on you this time of night.” Kaster said as he took a seat on a nearby chair.
“No problem, this counts as a justified emergency. Oh, I’m Rhya, by the way” the woman said, suddenly extending her hand to the woman standing by the door.
“Evelyn; pleased to meet you.”
Rhya was tending to the scorched man’s injuries, rubbing a transparent blue balm before patching them with firmly tied bandages. She took off his rain coat, to tend to his broken arm, dislocated in the shoulder.
“How did you two meet?” Evelyn spoke to Rhya “If you don’t mind me asking.”
“No, not at all. Kaster, do you?”
“Absolutely not. Rhya was my doctor when I was injured in that speeder accident I told you about. She was my best friend too during those two months when I was there.”
“It was back when I was working in the hospital.” Rhya added, “Kaster was a kind boy who got himself into the wrong company, and it ended up how it did. Nobody would come to visit him, so I spent hours talking to him. And I had fun; those were the only joyful times of working in that…that horrible place.”
“I had fun, too. I’ll never forget those times.” Kaster smiled. “We hung out for a long time after that, but eventually our paths took a different turn. She quit working at the hospital, and I got a job sectors away from her, so we eventually stopped hanging out.”
“A pity.” Rhya shrugged, and got back to tending to the injured man. She started washing the man’s head, wiping away all the blood that covered his hair and his face and all of a sudden froze in shock.
“What is it?” Kaster asked, noticing Rhya’s expression.
“This man. I know him.”
“Where from? Who is he?” asked Kaster, his eyebrows high on his forehead.
“The war. When I served as a medic, under Master Levine. We were assigned together during one mission.” said the woman, cleaning the unconscious man’s hair with a wet towel.
“Do you know his name? Where he’s from?” Kaster said, coming closer to glance at the man’s face himself.
“No, I don’t. We knew him only by his codename. Ranger. He was a mystery back then as he is now.”