by Autumn P. Torkorgana
Andriya slowed, stopping Obi-Wan by placing a hand on his arm. He looked to her inquisitively, but she wasn't looking at him. She suddenly whirled around and pounced. He couldn't even see what she'd captured until he walked around them. Then Obi-Wan could see that she had straddled her victim's chest, pinned his arms down with her knees, leaned on one hand placed over his throat and in the other, held her lightsaber like a dagger ominously hanging over his head.
"Hi," she said, her bright tone contrasting her threatening actions. "My name's Andriya." She leaned dangerously close to her captive's face. "What's yours?"
"Stucki," he rasped, panting for breath.
"Andriya, I think you're overdoing it a bit," Obi-Wan warned her.
She shushed him. "Stucki, why are you following us?"
"We're looking for the Jedi."
"We?" Andriya asked in surprise.
"My family and I."
Stucki gagged in reply and Andriya realized that she was placing too much pressure on his chest and neck. She thumbed off her lightsaber and Obi-Wan lifted her to her feet. Stucki clambered to his feet.
"You're my prisoners!" he proclaimed.
"Your prisoners?!" Obi-Wan said incredulously. "She caught you!"
"No, Obi-Wan," Andriya said. She stepped forward, holding her arms out, one wrist crossed over the other and bowing her head in submission. "He's right."
Do it, Obi-Wan, she thought to him. More reluctantly, he followed suit.
Stucki cackled triumphantly. "I knew it!" He produced a length of rope and proceeded to tie the Jedi's wrists, one Jedi at each end of the rope with a meter of slack hanging between them. Stucki walked behind and then between them, tugging the two Jedi along behind him with the rope strung across his chest.
"I assume you have a plan," Obi-Wan whispered once they were in transit.
"Of course," she replied, but did not elaborate.
They soon arrived at the edge of Stucki's home village. Word of their capture preceded the procession, and Stucki received a hero's welcome.
Pity I have to do this, Andriya thought as she slowed Obi-Wan to a halt. Stucki was forced to stop as well. Andriya lifted her bound wrists and then stepped back and brought her wrists down in a sharp jerk, throwing Stucki backwards. In a single, quick movement Andriya drew her lightsaber and cut the rope connecting her to Obi-Wan. The loosely tied knots depended on each other to stay tied, and the ropes slipped to the ground. Stucki's neighbors and relatives were already coming to his aid, and the two Jedi defended themselves.
"No, no, no, no, no," Obi-Wan heard Andriya chatter like an angry tree rodent. The protest was not directed at Obi-Wan, and he turned around to see what was wrong.
A group of Stucki's relatives had come to his defense, throwing net after net over Andriya. She was quick to cut through them but the locals heightened their attack until they captured her and fastened the nets with ropes.
"Andriya!" Obi-Wan called, but he, too, was soon caught by the multiple net strategy.
They found themselves imprisoned in a small, wooded area.
"Think it was a trap?" Andriya murmured, surveying their surroundings. She rose to her feet and approached what appeared to be the perimeter of their cell, slowly extending a hand to see exactly where their boundaries were. She froze as Obi-Wan heard a noise akin to the hum of a lightsaber. Andriya's hand shook as a scream of pain rose involuntarily from her. Obi-Wan rushed to her side and pulled her away from the invisible retaining wall. Once freed, she fell back limply into his arms, bringing them both to the ground.
"That hurt," she whispered.
"It was stupid, too."
She opened her eyes and sat up slowly. Holding her hand out in front of her and flexing her fingers, Andriya examined her injured left hand. Black, charred burns streaked up each of her fingers.
"That looks bad," Obi-Wan remarked.
"It doesn't hurt," she assured him. "Much. But thank you."
Obi-Wan didn't reply, instead he gingerly took her left wrist and pulled her injured hand closer to inspect the damage. He lightly stroked the back of her hand.
Andriya looked alarmed, so Obi-Wan released her hand.
"No, no, do that again," she commanded, thrusting her hand back into his face. He repeated his earlier action and she began to look even more surprised.
"I . . . I can't feel that," she stammered.
Obi-Wan stopped short. He began to rub her hand, perhaps a little roughly, and she yelped in pain.
"I felt that," she said, slapping his hands with her right hand and pulling her left hand from his grasp.
"I'm sorry," he apologized weakly. Andriya appeared to be too busy blowing on her hand to notice.
She cast a furtive glance around, then reached into a pouch on her belt.
"Did they take your lightsaber?" she hissed. Obi-Wan nodded. From the pouch, Andriya produced her lightsaber handle and pressed it into his hands.
"How did you keep this?"
"I hid it."
"Why don't you use it?"
"I don't have to use it. But, more importantly, you are the best lightsaber fighter I've ever seen."
Obi-Wan looked down. "You've never seen Qui-Gon," he mumbled.
"Oh, but I have," she said, nodding emphatically.
Obi-Wan's head snapped up. "You have?"
"The Jedi," she said solemnly, "keep excellent records. We had several recordings of Qui-Gon in action, and you, my friend, have surpassed him."
"Do you really think so?"
Andriya nodded quickly. "Put it away," she whispered, looking around.
Obi-Wan had just barely done so when Stucki approached.
"I see you've tested your cell," he remarked. Andriya shook her arm, making her Jedi cloak slip down to cover her blackened hand.
"Why have you done this?"
"The Emperor has requested our help and, well, we simply couldn't refuse."
Andriya pursed her lips and glanced at Obi-Wan, who'd first suggested that the journey might be a trap.
"We'll hold you here until someone arrives to collect you."
Obi-Wan's hopes brightened. They had a better chance to escape if they were allowed to stay in this cell for a time.
"In the meantime, we're allowed to do as we wish with you."
Andriya felt her heart drop. She sensed trouble in his voice and intent.
"You, girl, come here," Stucki commanded. Andriya stood slowly, but made no move toward their captor. Stucki typed a command into a palm controller, then walked through the invisible wall he was closest to. Andriya noticed the goggles he wore, assuming they had something to do with their strange prison. Stucki grabbed her left hand, eliciting a cry of pain. Obi-Wan swiftly stood, but Andriya quickly quelled any of his defensive urges with a sharp look as Stucki led her away.