Zorii Bliss: A Day in Kijimi: Chapter Eight

Kijimi City was crawling with paranoid First Order troopers knocking down doors and harassing civilians on the streets after what had transpired earlier in the day. Zorii was keeping out of sight, sticking to the alleys and darting through their heavily patrolled jurisdictions as she made her way to Babu Frik.

She took a glance at the sky and noted the position of the sun peeking through the white cover of clouds overhead. It was nearly midday, from the looks of it. She cursed. Had she been unconscious for that long?

She peeked around a corner, making sure there were no troopers in sight, before running forward and vaulting over the two stairs that led into the alcove where the heavily frequented bar, Spice Runners’ Den, was located. When she entered the dark but vibrant establishment with its green and blue lights casting the space into a nightclub feel she felt, for the first time that day, safe.

The bar was expectedly crammed with individuals, some familiar and some new. There were a few nods in her direction or curious peers from those wondering who she was. An old friend, a dark Zabrak woman with long hair dyed a stark red color named Charn, spotted her from the other side of the bar and exclaimed loudly, “Hey sis!” as she held up a neon blue drink in salute.

Zorii held up her hand as way of greeting before making her way into the back of the bar where Babu’s workshop was located. A shifty-looking fellow with copper skin and tattoos painting his entire neck and parts of his face into a mess of colors and designs was leaving the workshop, a scowl twisting his face into a picture of contempt. He glanced at Zorii with particular disdain before stomping past her. She watched him disappear, her thoughts racing.

What was he so mad about? she thought to herself before entering the workshop.

The workshop was more like an antique store filled with various droid parts and all sorts of other eclectic junk crammed into a sizable space. And there, in the corner, mumbling to himself in Anzellan, a strange garbled language that many didn’t understand or even know, was Babu Frik.

At first glance, he was simply a tiny thing who seemed unbelievably small in comparison to the gigantic workshop that surrounded him. But, once you got to know him, his size mattered not, for he was just as ambitious and talented as any other person Zorii had ever met. Plus, he knew droids better than anyone and right now, Bliss needed a droid for her situation.

“Babu,” she said, walking to him.

Babu, apparently enthralled in whatever he was doing, became so startled when he heard her voice that he fell off his perch, the shoulder of a lifeless medical droid of the 2-1B model, crashing into a mess of parts that were lying on the ground. Zorii gasped, hurting to help him.

“Babu,” she said as she knelt by him. “I’m so sorry.”

He waved his hand angrily, spewing a mess of curses as he slowly began to stand.

Not minding his frustration she got straight to the point. “Babu, I need your help.”

He glanced at her.

You always do, he spoke in Anzellan. But for once, I’m kind of busy.

She cocked her head. Switching into Anzellan herself she said, Busy isn’t going to get you of this place, Frik. 

That caught his attention. You’re doing it?

She nodded. I’ve got to the contact. I’m doing it.

He looked at her, noticing the dust from the rubble she had been laying in for hours still clinging to the purple fabric of her suit. What happened?

She stood, crossing her arms as she walked away from him toward the staircase on the far side of the workshop.

First Order. They’re all over the place so…

She turned to him.

I don’t have much time. The crew are waiting for me by Miners’ Gate. With the medallion, we plan to get out tonight.

Babu guffawed. Tonight? 

He took three mighty leaps, each vaulting him a foot into the air, as he returned to his perch on the medical droid’s shoulder.

If what you say is true, the First Order is going to have security shut tight. You’re not getting that medallion, chicky.

She uncrossed her arms. I’ve gotten into places with far more security. I just need the right droid.

He looked at her for several seconds before scoffing. What droid?

The DISC, she responded confidently.

He seemed surprised and then quickly grew impressed.

That just might work.

It took him three more leaps to get to the floor before he hurried as quickly as he could over to the far right corner of the workshop. She followed after him and was elated when she saw what she had come for.

The “DISC” was a flat black disc-shaped droid that seemed far less interesting than the various battle droids and astromechs sprewn around the place but it was her favorite toy for operations like this. Picking it up, it weighed a little over a pound and seemed easily perishable but with a simple press of a button it would flare to life, its borders ringed with red lights as it floated in the air from a tiny motor. Square compartments marred its underbelly and these compartments were filled with all sorts of gadgets; miniature blasters, medical stems, lockpicks and claws, etc. Unlike astromechs, it didn’t have cheery beeps that made one feel warm and fuzzy inside. Its beeps were of a baritone sound that made it sound ominous in comparison to the likes of a BB-unit.

Need any modifications? Babu asked.

She looked at him as she beheld the lifeless DISC sitting on the floor.

I need it to have tracking modifications. And quickly. I don’t have much time.

Babu laughed. ‘Quick’ is my middle name.

The tiny Anzellan brought the DISC to life before hurrying to the other side of the workshop. The DISC followed after instruction to, its red lights rotating around its circumference like a pair of eyes surveying its surroundings.

Babu instructed the DISC to lie on the working table while the droidsmith, after lowering his goggles, began to work on the droid. Zorii walked over to the staircase, climbing its length and stepping out into Kijimi City from the depths of the workshop. Up here, the city seemed different, at least in the daytime. The First Order’s walkers were nowhere to be seen, casting a false sense of peace over the place she had lived in for years.

The sky was beginning to clear, allowing the sun to cast its warm light on the city, making the scene before her even more beautiful. She remembered coming up here with Poe Dameron as a younger woman. They would talk about their spice-running jobs, coming up with ideas to dupe the clients they worked with or ways to dodge the New Republic’s security bureau. It was also where she began to acquire feelings for the charming teenager.

It was up here that she had told him about her parents and how she strove to follow in their footsteps. He had listened, he had even seemed to care, telling her how he had lost his mother at a very young age. He told her that one day they would do something that mattered. That they were meant for something more than spice running. She had laughed.

“Get your head out of the clouds, Poe,” she had said.

“I can’t. I’m a pilot,” he said before kissing her for the first time.

Zorii took off her helmet, sighing as the stark wind kissed her face and ruffled her shoulder-length brown hair. She looked toward the sky and beyond where she knew the vast reaches of space awaited her.

“Maybe you were right, Dameron,” she said. “Maybe you were right.”

Suddenly, she could hear Babu’s voice calling her from down in the workshop. He was finished modifying the droid, he told her. She chuckled. She could never quite understand how a creature as small as him could belt out so much noise. Putting her helmet back on she responded, “Coming right there!” before hurting downstairs.

The DISC was hovering and gazing at her with those red lights.

“Droid is ready,” Babu exclaimed, spreading his arms as if he was saying “Ta-da!”

She nodded. “Thanks Babu.”

He smiled. “No problemo.”

She turned to the hovering droid. “DISC, with me.”

The droid booped its response in its patented monotone way before nearing her and securing itself on her back with its claws. With that, she hurried out of the workshop, on to the next phase of the plan.

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