The Hunt - Part 5 Chapter 1

By Harry Sober

Arielle Shimano peeked through the curtains of the stage as the owner of 
Fantasia Moons, Plein Vakko walked up to her.

"Looks like another sell-out crowd tonight, Arielle" he said with a smile 
ashe glanced through the hole in the curtains she had created. The people in 
the audience were taking their seats.

"I still can't believe they're here to see me," she said, shaking her 
head."I didn't think I was a very good singer," she added, closing the 

"Nonsense, babe. Your a fountain of talent! Otherwise you wouldn't pack 
'emin the way you do!" he said, placing a reassuring hand on her

She had to admit he was right as old memories drifted back. Several 
monthsago, she had decided she didn't want to go through with the 
prearrangedwedding her parents had planned. Even though her husband-to-be 
was wealthy,she wanted nothing to do with him. She wanted to explore the 
galaxy andtravel to the different worlds she had heard her parents speak of. 
She was sick and tired of being completely sheltered from everything going 
outside the confines of her city. She longed for adventure, and she was in 
for one hell of a surprise.

On the eve of her 18th birthday, as soon as she was sure everyone in 
thehousehold was asleep, she crept out of her house and made a beeline for 
thelocal spaceport hoping to put Verbanda behind her forever.
Once there, she ran into a kindly old spacer named Pekkum. He was instantly 
suprised at her sudden appearance.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked. "Dont you know everyone is out 
looking for you? Your family is worried sick!" He shook his head.
"How could they know I was gone already?" she wondered.

Then he offererd to take her anywhere in the galaxy. She looked at his 
ship.The LIGHTNING ROD was an old ship that looked like it could fall apart 
at any second.

At first she was reluctant to accept, but when he offered to give her all 
the credits he had to take any other transport she wanted, she decided to 
take a chance.

As they lifted off, he asked her if she was sure she wanted to run
off like this. She assured him that she was. She told him she just 
couldn'tdeal with the pressure she was under any longer, so she decided to 

They talked briefly on the short flight from Verbenda to Cedris, but 
uponlanding she begged him not to tell her parents where she was. She wanted 
nothing to do what so ever with her former life.

What was really strange was how he acted torwards her from the very
beginning when she introduced herself. He gave her a strange look, then 
smiled and nodded.

As they parted company, he asked he asked her once more if she was sure this 
was what she really wanted to do. She assured him it was, and he surprised 
her by giving her a quick hug. Then he dug down into one of his 
pockets,pulled out huge wad of credits and handed it to her.

She looked at the money and told him she couldn't accept it. He only smiled 
and waved his hand, saying she was gonna need to find a place to stay 
andthat she needed to eat. She began to wonder why he was being so nice to 

Then he said something really weird: "May The force Be With You" He turnedto 
leave, promising to not say a word about her location to anyone.

'The force?' she thought. 'Whats the force?' She decided to leave it 
alone and set off on her new life. With all her belongings on her back 
she wandered for many hours until she came to a large building with a holo of 
apink and blue moon. Looking at the window she noticed a Help Wanted sign.
she knew she would have to find a job soon, so she decided to take a chance 
and walked in.

Once inside she saw a dimly-lit but rather nice looking bar, with several 
patrons milling about. A few were sitting at the bar or at tables infront of 
the stage. As she walked further into the place, she could see a much larger 
section off her to left where the tables faced the stage.

A tall man with green scaly skin, light green hair and red eyes, wearing 
abright orange suit walked up to her introduced himself as Plein Vakko, the 
owner of the Fantasia Moon and asked if there was something he could help 
her with.

She asked about the sign in the window, wondering if he still looking to 
hire people.

He told her he was looking for a waitress, but he then commented that she 
would be better off as a singer and asked if she had any talent.

She smiled and asked if him if he would like to hear something. He smiled 
warmly and pulled up a chair as she walked up on stage. The band members 
were tuning their instruments under the only bright light in the place. The 
band leader smiled and asked what song she would like to sing.

She told him of one of her favorite ones was Starry Eyes. The band knew that 
one well, and it suddenly occured to Arielle that she hadn't been as 
sheltered as she was lead to belive.

As she began to sing, several people sat down next to Plein, awestruck by 
the girl and commenting on what a wonderful singing voice she had. As she 
finished the song, applause swept through the club like wildfire as everyone 
gave Arielle a standing ovation. With a warm smile, Plein walked up and put 
his arm around her. "Baby you are SO hired!"

The next couple of weeks seemed to go by rather quickly. Arielle did 2 shows 
a day, ALWAYS to a packed room. Between shows she would hop around the many 
shopping centers and resteraunts. Everywhere she went, people stopped her 
and asked for her autograph or to have a holo taken with them.

When she went to eat she would be served almost instantly and most of the 
time the managers would refuse to accept her money, claiming it was an honor 
to have her there.She was getting the Star treatment and she was loving 
every moment of it!

Soon after putting her Holo up outside, more and more poeple came to see 
Arielle sing. A lot of people kept mentioning a Jaina Solo-girl, jokingly 
asking if she had seen her, and knew where where she was. She had 
abosolutely no idea who this girl was, or why so many people were asking 
about her.

One night, she was in the dressing room with some of the other girls who 
worked at the Fantasia Moon listening to the galaxy net news.
They had a feature on Jaina Solo, telling the viewers all they knew
about the young jedi, plus the fact that a Hutt had openly declared a bounty 
of 10 million credits to ANYONE who had information leading to the capture 
of Jaina Solo.

All the girls but Arielle sat glued to the monitor. When the newscast 
flashed a Holo of Jaina on the screen, the other girls couldn't believe 
their eyes. They looked over at Arielle, then back to the
screen, then looked at each other and shook their heads. They firmly
believed they were sitting mere meters from Ten million credits!

Arielle hadnt seen the Holo of Jaina. She was too busy getting ready for her 
adoring fans as Plein walked in and said "5 minutes, kiddo."

Now, as she looked out into the crowd she saw several unsavory characters 
walk in and begin to leer at her as the others cheered when she walked out 
on stage.

'I gotta talk to Plein about my wardrobe. Or lack there of,' she 
thought,looking down at the shimmering purple mini dress that she wore.
"THERE SHE IS, GET HER!" yelled one of the sleazy looking guys, pulling out 
a huge blaster rifle.

"RUN ARIELLE!!" was all she heard. She didn't take the time to find out who 
said it. She ran as fast she could in her high heels, thinking it was some 
deranged fan coming after her. Blaster fire suddenly erupted all around 
her,as Plein sat at the bar shaking his head. He knew full-well that sooner 
or later this day would come.

She ran back stage and dodged two more people who tried to grab her. She 
managed to get the back door open and ran into the alley, where she came 
face to face with a green skinned rodian with a huge blaster. An arc of blue 
energy screamed toward her and everything went black.
Hours passed.

When she woke up, she tried to open her eyes, but could see nothing but 
darkness. She felt something stuffed into her mouth, making all speech 
impossible. The corners of her mouth ached as did the back of her neck. 
Trying to move, she found that her arms and legs would not respond. She was 
in deep trouble.

She struggled for what seemed an eternity, but the bonds that held her
wouldn't budge. Beneath her, she could feel the low-pitched rumbling of an 
engine. When she realized she was on a ship, many thoughts flew through her 

'Who were those people? What's going on? Where am I being taken and
why the hell am I trussed up like a Solstice Criznok?'

She heard a hatch open and heard footsteps approaching her and suddenly her 
blindfold was removed. She squinted, letting her eyes adjust to to the light 
as she saw the Rodian from the alley looking down at her.

"You make me very rich," it said in broken Basic.

'What did it mean by that?' she wondered. 'Is he gonna sell me?' She looked 
around the best she could. She saw a picture hanging on the cabin wall and 
wiggled her way closer. It was a Wanted poster. 'Hey that girl looks like 
ME!' she thought. Her body went completely numb as she read the name.'THAT'S 

Suddenly it all be came so clear. All this time people thought they were 
coming to see Jaina Solo perform, not Arielle Shimano. This thing
was trying claim the bounty on her!

"MMMMMMPH!" she uttered. The rodian looked her, his head tilting to one 

"Take this thing out of my mouth and untie me this instant you idiot!" Well, 
that's what she attemped to say, but it came out in such a way not even a 
protocol droid could understand her.

The Rodian knealt down switched on a palm-sized Orb. It began blinking on 
and off, then he knelt down and removed her gag.

"PHeeewACk! Ah, thats better," she utterd as it was removed. "I'm not who 
you think I am. So you should just let me go this instant."

"Oh me think not, Solo. You stay with Zork," the Rodian replied.
"I am not Jaina Solo. You have the wrong girl. My name is Arielle 
Shimano,"she stated.

"Nice try, Solo." The Rodian replied, kneeling down and patting her on the 
shoulder. "But your Jedi mind tricks no work on Zork. I came prepared," he 
said, certain that he had the Jedi completely helpless as he patted the 
small blinking orb to Arielle's left.

"I AM NOT JAINA SOLO!" she screamed, thrashing about as tears began to well 
IS ARIELLE  SHIMANO!!" she screamed once more.

"Why you scream, Solo? No one can hear you. You totally helpless while I 
have Jedi capture becon activated. Your powers no work. Hehehehehehe" he 

"Listen to me. My name is Arielle Shimano," she repeated, trying to calm 
down. "I'm telling you, you have the wrong girl. I don't even know what a 
Jedi is!"

"You think Zork that brainless?" he said, pointing a sucker tipped finger at 
her. "Try all you want Solo but your mind tricks won't work. Zork too smart 
to let you try that," he said with a nod.

"OK," she sighed. 'Come on, think Arielle,' she said to herself. 'If this 
Jaina girl is wanted that badly, she must have done something to REALLY tick 
someone off. Not to mention her parents must be either really important OR 
really bad news.'

Even though she hardly knew a thing about Jaina, she figured she had nothing 
to lose so she decided to take a gamble.

"Ok, you win," she said. "Whatever you're gonna do to me, you better do it 
fast," she snarled, looking up at the Rodian. "Cause when MY father gets 
ahold of you, he's gonna rip you apart!" she added.

"Han Solo no scare Zork. He lightyears from Nal Hutta," he replied.

"Is that where your taking me? To your Hutt friend so you can collect your 
money? Am I right?" she asked, looking up at him.

"That right Solo. Once Zork turn you over to Zurga the Hutt, Zork be rich 
you see."

"Uh huh, then let me ask you this, Zork. Are you sure, are you REALLY sure 
my father is light years away?" she asked. "If YOU found me, how far away do 
you really think HE is? How do you know he's not tracking you right now 
HMMMMMMMM?" she added. She could see this was really begining to scare Zork. 
Who ever this Han Solo was, this idiot wanted to light years away from him.

"Han SSSSSSSolo nnnnoo scare ZZZZZorrk, we be at Lorddd Zurrrga's soon
Hee ppprottecct Zorkkk" the Rodian stammered.

'Jackpot,' she thought giving him a grin. 'Ok, so far so good. Lets see if I 
can press this a little farther!' she thought.

"I see," she replied. "So you really think this Hutt person will protect 
you? I'm sure you know what happend to the LAST Hutt my father tangled 
with." She hoped Zork would know what she was talking about, even though she 
had no idea. It seemed to be scaring the hell out of the idiot, so it must 
be working.

"At least untie me. Like you said, I'm not going anywhere." She stated
looking up at him. "It will go ALOT earier on you if my father doesn't find 
me like this, cause if he does, there won't be enough of you to fill a shot 
glass when he gets through with you!"

The Rodian nodded and pulled out a small vibroblade. He cut the rope that 
connected her hands to her ankles. With a gasp of relief she let her legs 
fall to the deck.

"Thank you," she sighed, finally able to roll on to her side and sit up."Hey 
what about my hands?" she asked, showing the Rodian her still bound wrists.

"Dont push it, Solo. Be happy Zork free you that much! Come sit with me in 
the cockpit so I can watch you." He said, grabbing her by the arm and 
pulling her to her feet. As they entered the cockpit several lights began 
flashing, indicating they were about to exit Hyperspace.

Zork eased the ship back into real Space and suddenly got the shock of his 

They both gasped at the sight of a Victory Class Star Destroyer heading 
directly for them. This was by far the largest ship Arielle had ever seen in 
her life. She looked over at Zork, who seemed to be a lighter shade of 
green, and smiled.

"OH look there's my father now!"

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