Ironic Endings

“I’m not very good at this kind of thing, so forgive me in advance,” Kal-faj said to Jin Tai Lo as they traveled through hyperspace aboard her ship. “I would like to…well…thank you. Thank you for saving my life.”

“You’re welcome, Kal-faj. I am grateful to have had the chance to show you that I meant what I said on Molk,” the Jedi master said.

“Yes, I understand. If there is ever anyway I can repay you, please don’t hesitate to ask.” She smiled, “And please, call me Zirtah.”

The Jedi master smiled in return. “Actually, there is something you can do.” Zirtah looked at him with surprise. “You can give up your life as a bounty hunter.”

Zirtah looked at the floor, and then raised her gaze to meet the Jedi’s. “But what would I do for a living? I have no job skills or connections.”

“Don’t worry. I have a friend who runs a shipping business. With my recommendation she will hire you immediately.”

Zirtah’s eyes began to fill with tears. “Why are you doing all of this for me? Especially after what I did to you and your friends!”

“I’m doing this because I believe that even as evil perpetuates itself, so too does good. As I show you kindness, it will allow you to show kindness to others.”

“Thank you,” Zirtah said. “I will always remember your words.”

The Jedi master bowed and left the cockpit.

*******

Brin’tac winced in pain as Satchel finished dressing his wounded side. Nyarchagga stood next to the makeshift medical bed in concern. “I’m sorry, Brin’tac. You wouldn’t be in such pain if it hadn’t been for me, and you wouldn’t have wasted time that could have been spent finding your family.”

Brin’tac smiled, then winced in pain once more. “Sorry,” Satchel said. “I haven’t done too many of these on real people.”

Brin’tac thanked Satchel weakly, then looked back at the Dug. “It’s the least I could do for all the help you’ve given me to find my family. How many times have you risked your life for them? And besides,” he gave Nyarchagga a sideways grin, “you are part of my family. I don’t know what I would do without you, Satchel, and Master Lo.”

Nyarchagga gave the Bothan a grateful smile, then abruptly changed the topic, uncomfortable with the sudden air of emotion.

“By the way, how did Master Lo get a lightsaber and four blasters into the Coliseum?”

“He didn’t,” Satchel said as he finished with Brin’tac’s dressing. “When we knew we would have to infiltrate Zorba’s to rescue you, Master Lo contacted a fellow Jedi Knight who is currently working undercover at Zorba’s. This Jedi Knight informed Master Lo that Zorba has a flare for irony. Knowing this, Master Lo devised two plans.

“The first plan was simply to pay for your release. Using Zorba’s love for irony, Master Lo was going to also attempt to rescue Kal-faj.”

“How? I don’t follow,” Nyarchagga asked. “And why would he want to rescue that Bantha podoo anyway?”

Satchel answered, “I guess he senses some good in her. As for how…

Suddenly Brin’tac interjected, “Now I understand. The irony is that the bounty hunter that captured Nyarchagga is in return captured by Nyarchagga and his friends! Unfortunately, Zorba either didn’t see the irony or he would rather have made money using us for dragon bait.”

“Or,” continued Satchel, “he preferred the irony of the bounty hunter being killed alongside her bounty. Master Lo believed this would be the case, that is why he had the other Jedi Knight place his lightsaber and four blasters in the sand. We were never in as much danger as it seemed. If things went wrong, the undercover Jedi would have revealed himself and saved us. Fortunately, he still remains undercover.”

“I’m sorry you had to leave your lightsabers at Zorba’s,” Nyarchagga said.

“Don’t worry,” Satchel replied. “Since our informant is still in his position, he has assured us that he would return our weapons to us as soon as it is safe.”

Nyarchagga sighed, “Well, that at least makes me feel a little better. But I still have one last question. If your first plan was to pay for my release, how did you plan on coming up with enough money? Brin’tac is wealthy, but not that wealthy.”

“that is the true beauty of it all,” Satchel said with a grin. “Are you familiar with Krayt dragon digestive systems?”

“What?” Nyarchagga asked. “Not that I see the connection, but somewhat. Please refresh my memory.”

“Well, Krayt dragons swallow large, sharp rocks to smash against their food to help break it down for digestion. Well, after awhile these rocks become smoothe. When that occurs, the Krayt dragon then expels the useless, smoothe rock. At least, useless to the dragon. For the rest of the galaxy, these are known as dragon pearls, a very valuable jewel. As it turns out, our Jedi friend found one from Zorba’s own dragons, and he sent it to use to use to purchase your freedom.

“So you see, even though we rescued you, Master Lo wanted to get Zorba off of your back, so he sent it to Zorba before we left Nar Hekka. The beautiful thing about it all is that a Hutt who loves irony became the butt end of irony himself: his own Krayt dragon supplied the funds to pay for your freedom!”

All three of the companions shared a moment of laughter when the door suddenly opened and Jin Tai Lo stepped through. As he entered the room, Brin’tac briefly met his gaze, then quickly looked to the floor.

“I am sorry, Master Lo. I have failed you again.”

The Jedi master calmly shook his head. “Why do you say that? Is it because you were wounded and fell unconscious? No, Brin’tac. In fact, you were quite successful. Each person has strengths and weaknesses. Your strength lies in knowledge and wisdom, not in dexterity and fighting ability. In your areas of strength, you acted superbly.”

“Yes, but I feel so helpless all of the time. Every instance where we are in danger, I feel so weak. What good would it be if I acted wisely and find my family, only to lose them because I am too weak to defend and protect them?”

“I cannot answer that for you,” Jin Tai Lo said. “However, if you ever desire to learn basic fighting skills, just ask. And please remember, you were not the only one injured. On Ryloth, Satchel was wounded. And today, Zirtah was also wounded.”

Nyarchagga interjected. “Excuse me, Master Lo. Meaning no respect, but speaking of Kal-faj—or Zirtah—I can’t believe you actually saved her life after what she did! She’s probably planning even now how she can re-capture us and return to Zorba’s.”

Before Jin Tai Lo could answer, the door to the main room opened and Zirtah walked in. Nyarchagga snickered quietly to Brin’tac, “Speaking of the Sith!”

As she approached Nyarchagga, she quickly glanced at Master Lo. “I’m sorry to interuppt you, but may I speak?” Jin Tai Lo nodded reassuringly. “Nyarchagga, I have done a great deal of thinking about what Master Jin Tai Lo had said. You are extremely fortunate to have such great friends who are willing to risk so much for you.” She paused and looked at each of them in turn. “And so, as a means of making amends for wronging you I would like to offer you a gift.” At this she held up the same small, bug-shaped robot which Brin’tac had used to jam into the door aboard Houk-qal’s ship. Zirtah held out the robot and it’s control module to Nyarchagga. “This is a surveillance droid that I developed several years ago when I became a bounty hunter. Since I have decided to give up that profession, I figure that Gnat would be more help to you.”

Nyarchagga was so shocked that he could only mutter a weak, “Thank you,” as he took the small droid. Zirtah nodded and turned to walk back to the cockpit. As she left, she looked at Jin Tai Lo and smiled for the first time in years.


The End

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