The Ruins of Dantooine

Free The Ruins of Dantooine by Voronica Whitney-Robinson

Book: The Ruins of Dantooine by Voronica Whitney-Robinson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Voronica Whitney-Robinson
And it was not good.
    “I don’t know anybody who’s ever killed oneof them things,” a drunken Rodian had slurred. “They’re just evil,” he added. No one else had been able to offer much more in the way of useful information except for the general direction in which they might find some caves that housed the creatures. They had to make do with that meager guidance.
    Making sure she had emergency supplies in her pack, Dusque concluded that she was well equipped. Between her sampling tools and food rations for both her and the Ithorian, there wasn’t much more she could think of. She hoisted her pack on her back, and strapped a small but effective Twi’lek dagger to her thigh. And in consideration of the terrain, she even tied back her waist-length hair. Then, certain she had everything, she had checked in with Tendau.
    “Are you sure you want to come along?” she had asked him one more time. “You could stay here in Narmle and we could use comms to stay in touch.”
    “And what would be the point of my remaining behind?” he had asked. “I thought we were in this together. Besides, who would watch you if I weren’t there?” He had smiled at that, but Dusque became uneasy.
    “Why would anyone need to watch me?” she asked, on edge.
    The Ithorian lost his easy smile. “I meant,” he corrected himself, “who would make sure you stayed out of trouble?” The moment dragged out between them, filled with tension.
    Finally Dusque broke the awkwardness. “Sincewhen do I ever get into trouble?” she asked, deciding she had to lighten up more around the Ithorian.
    He raised his long hand and started to count off. “There was the time on Tatooine, Yavin Four—”
    “All right!” She laughed with genuine warmth and threw her hands up in defeat. “You win. Watch away.” And with that, she gathered up his gear, despite his protests, and placed the bulk of it in her backpack, to relieve him from some of the excess weight and pressure on his feet. She noticed one item that was out of the ordinary, however. Tendau had a CDEF blaster in his possession. She had never seen him carry any weapon before, other than a survival knife. She looked at him sharply.
    “I have an uneasy feeling about this mission,” he told her gravely. “And I did not want to go into it unprepared.”
    “Probably a good idea,” Dusque agreed hesitantly, but she was still unnerved by the sight of the deadly weapon. Of course, she told herself, all weapons can be lethal with the right training. Still, there was something almost sinister about the black, shiny blaster lying there like an unspoken accusation.
    And so they had left Narmle on foot and headed out into the wilds of the Rori backwoods. For a while, Dusque and Tendau did no more than follow the rough coordinates that they had received from the drunken Rodian, who had simply said to go southeast. Each seemed lost in his or her respectivethoughts, and the wide plains were ideal for contemplation. The gray, overcast skies fit the mood. The farther in they proceeded, the more Dusque sensed herself relax.
    With the fields under her feet and the lack of prying eyes, she felt as though a weight were lifting. The only thing that preyed on her mind was her colleague. The longer they traveled across the plains, the more Dusque realized that what was troubling her about Tendau was not his actions at all, but the fact that she somehow doubted him. That was what had set her off balance. She knew there was only one thing to do, and she stopped her light run dead.
    “What is it?” Tendau asked, immediately on guard. “Did you see something?”
    “Not exactly,” she began. “But I thought this might be a good spot to do some foraging and surveying. We came here for samples, after all.”
    “Good idea,” he agreed, but Dusque could see that at least part of the reason he was acquiescing so easily was because he was tired. She once again marveled at his fortitude in his work when he was so

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