发表于 2017-9-14 21:41
In darkness I follow |
the light and find my way
to the beginning
-Sajar Ohmo, Clan of the Toribota
——托里博塔氏族（Clan of the Toribota）的萨亚·欧莫（Sajar Ohmo）
From Collected Poems, Prayers, and Meditations on the Force,
Edited by Kozem Pel, Disciple of the Whills
"I need a new blaster," Baze said.
"Use your old one," Chirrut said.
"You still have your old one."
"So use your old one."
Baze and Chirrut split without breaking stride as a clump of urchins, each of them so filthy and caked with dirt they left puffs of dust in their wake, barreled past them. Baze kept a hand on the pouch tucked beneath his tunic where he kept his credits, and an eye on Chirrut at the same time, knowing full well it was unnecessary and yet doing it all the same. The fact was, of the two of them, Baze was the more likely to have his purse lifted and not even notice.
"The old one works perfectly well," Chirrut said when they'd fallen back in, side by side.
"The old one is a Guardian's weapon. And I am no longer a Guardian."
"Then you are making a choice."
"Yes," Baze said. "My choice is to find a new blaster."
"No, your choice is to be stubborn."
"My choice is to use a reliable blaster rather than an archaic lightbow."
"Your reliable blaster has proven to be unreliable."
"Which is why I need a new gun."
"Use your old one."
Baze came to a halt in the middle of the street and Chirrut, too, stopped almost instantly, as if he'd been expecting this.
"Like so many conversations with you," Baze said, "we are now back where we started."
"You noticed that, did you?"
"You're very lucky I'm your friend, you know that?"
"I do know that," Chirrut said. "Though I wonder why you are saying this right now."
"I'm saying it right now because I'm wondering why anyone would bother to put up with you."
"Ah," said Chirrut. "I often wonder the same thing about you."
Baze roared with laughter, loud enough that the crowded street took notice of them, including two helmeted and robed worshippers of the Central Isopter, who stepped curiously closer. Baze grinned big at them, showing his teeth, and they stopped, then stepped back, then turned away to melt back into the crowd. Baze took the opportunity to check around them before starting forward again. Chirrut immediately kept pace, his staff extended at an angle to the ground in front of them, swaying slightly from side to side.
"Do you want to go shopping?" Chirrut asked. "Is that what you're saying? Though I doubt we can afford anything that will suit your purposes."
"No." The thought was vaguely absurd to Baze. "That's not how you find the right weapon, you know better than that."
"As we have established, apparently I do not."
"We're being followed."
This seemed to amuse Chirrut. "Really?"
"Since we left the orphanage. I wasn't sure until just now. Two of them."
"I don't think so. One is a Twi'lek."
"There are two, I think. The other is a Sabat."
"That does not sound Imperial."
"I want to know why they're following us."
"You should ask them."
"I'm going to."
"Soon," Baze said.
They rounded a corner out of the Old Market and continued another couple of blocks, heading roughly in the direction of the Eastern Wall, neither of them speaking. They continued to be followed, and Baze concluded a couple of things from this, not the least of which was that the Twi'lek and the Sabat knew what they were doing. They gave each other space, as well as leaving room between themselves and Baze and Chirrut. This meant that they had to be in communication with one another, either via comlink or hand signals or similar. That meant some degree of training, some degree of experience. If they were criminals, they were of a better class than Jedha normally had to offer.
Why criminals would be targeting him and Chirrut was its own question. The best a robber would get was disappointment. The worst was broken bones, if not from Baze's fists, then from the frightening accuracy and speed with which Chirrut could use his staff.
So not criminals, and well trained, and careful, and that meant they had to be members of one of the insurgent groups working in the city. But this was puzzling on its own, as most of the Holy City's insurgent groups were composed of locals, and locals were predominantly human. Twi'leks weren't a terribly uncommon sight, to be sure, but the Sabat was another matter. The last time Baze had seen a Sabat he had still called himself a Guardian of the Whills, and that had been a long time ago.
They entered a mixed residential and business neighborhood known to the locals as Hopper Town, the reason for the name long since lost to the ages. The squat buildings here stood shoulder to shoulder, with alleys between them so narrow Baze could only make his way through them moving sideways. They turned north, and Chirrut stopped abruptly, holding out a hand to block Baze's progress. Before Baze could ask why, he saw what his friend had somehow already sensed.
Ahead of them, rounding onto the far end of the street, came a patrol of stormtroopers. A half dozen of them leading on foot, their blaster rifles carried at the ready, and behind them a GAV in support, one of the armored personnel carriers, a heavy repeating blaster mounted atop and the gunner visible in his position. Baze glanced around to the narrow alleyways on either side and then up to the balconies and rooftops of the buildings surrounding them. Shutters were slamming into place, and people were hurrying to clear the street.
在他们前方，一群冲锋队员出现在街道的远端。六七个荷枪实弹的步兵带头，后面跟着一辆陆地突击车（GAV，ground assault vehicle的缩写），车顶上的一门连发爆能枪和它的射手清晰可见。贝兹迅速扫了一眼两边的小巷，又看了看周围建筑物的阳台和房顶。卷帘门都关的严严实实，人们赶忙跑开，让出道路。
"There is going to be violence."
Chirrut said it with a certainty that Baze had long ago come to trust absolutely.
"Stormtroopers," Baze said. "Hunting party. This way."
He moved left, to the widest of the alleyways in sight, Chirrut with him. From up the street, he heard the crackle of stormtrooper voices but was unable to make out their words.
"What was that?"
"They are telling everyone to stay where they are," Chirrut said. "We do not want to do that."
"No, we don't. Here, you go first."
Chirrut extended his hands, walking stick in one of them, and felt the walls that formed the mouth of the alley.
"You will not fit," Chirrut said.
"Of course I will fit."
"I am not leaving you behind."
"You are not leaving me behind, you're getting into the alley, Chirrut."
One of the stormtroopers had seen them, was pointing in their direction. There were still a good twenty, twenty-five meters between the approaching patrol and where Baze and Chirrut now stood at the mouth of the alley. Baze considered the situation. It was entirely possible that the Imperial patrol had nothing to do with them, was a show of force in response to any number of other things that might have happened, or were happening, in the Holy City. It was also entirely possible that something had gone wrong the previous night, and that a security camera or a witness had seen them hijacking the resupply shipment, and had passed their descriptions along to the garrison. It was also possible-and Baze thought this the most likely-that this was nothing but bad luck, and that the simple act of attempting to leave the street had labeled them as suspect.
The problem was that if they were stopped for questioning, or brought in, there was no telling where that might lead or what it might lead back to. Unlike Baze, Chirrut still dressed as a Guardian of the Whills. He would be singled out because of this, subjected to more questions. And Chirrut, being Chirrut, would not tell the stormtroopers things they wanted to hear, and Chirrut, being Chirrut, would very likely begin spouting the litany. They would detain him. They might even detain him aboard the Star Destroyer, and Baze knew very well that those detained aboard the Star Destroyer were never heard from again.
"Fine," he said, "Me first."
He shoved Chirrut into the alley.
"I'll catch up," he said, then started running back in the direction of the Old Market with the shouts of stormtroopers-and his friend-chasing after him.
Whomever, or whatever, the stormtroopers were hunting for, they were out in force, and it seemed to Baze there wasn't a street or square he could turn onto without glimpsing white armor smeared in dirt and dust, or catching an echo of amplified voices from within helmets, or feeling the thud and clatter of an AT-DP walker stomping along a nearby block. Twice, he nearly ran into patrols as they were clearing houses and businesses, and each time he turned away at the last moment, managed to duck into cover before being spotted.
Ultimately, he ended up at Denic's garage. She was not entirely pleased to see him.
"Go away, Baze," she told him.
"I will," Baze said. "In a little while."
"You bring heat with you, man, nova-hot. I don't want to get burned."
That didn't deserve an answer, and Baze's look told her as much. She met his stare, tried to match it, then finally gave up with a snort. She shoved the pair of Torjeka scanner goggles she always seemed to be wearing up onto her forehead, eyed him with raw suspicion. They were a holdover from her piloting days, which some people claimed had actually been her smuggling days. Still others said that those smuggling days had been pretty good days indeed until she'd burned one too many bridges in the Corporate Sector.
贝兹没有回答，他的眼神说明了一切。她回瞪过去，试图压过他的视线。终于，她叹了口气，放弃了。她伸手摘下自己一直戴在前额上的一副托杰卡扫描护目镜（Torjeka scanner goggles），丝毫不掩饰怀疑地看着他。这副护目镜是她飞行员生涯——一些人说其实是走私者生涯——的纪念。还有人说，她的走私者生涯十分滋润，直到她在企业星区（Corporate Sector）结下太多仇敌。
Baze didn't know how much of what was said about Denic was true, but he was certain that she had been, once upon a time, a pilot herself. She'd arrived in the Holy City shortly before the Imperials had, and Baze had made her acquaintance entirely by accident in the New Market one day as she'd been arguing with a vendor about the quality of the meiloorun fruit he was selling. They had purple rinds, rather than the more traditional orange-yellow ones, and Denic was insistent they weren't meilooruns at all. Baze had listened for a few minutes before explaining that, in fact, the purple rind was a variant, a hybrid favored by the Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance. Denic had found this hard to believe.
He'd seen her again the week after the Empire arrived, from a distance, perched on the rooftop of one of the New Market buildings, watching the initial Imperial deployment. There'd been a tremendous amount of air traffic that day, TIEs and Sentinel-class shuttles in a constant stream from the Star Destroyer to the surface. She'd watched with her goggles over her eyes, motionless for the better part of an hour, until Baze had left Chirrut alone long enough to go and see what was up with all that. He'd climbed onto the rooftop and sat beside her, and she hadn't acknowledged his arrival for several minutes.
Then she'd suddenly said, "Academy pilots, all of them, you can tell. No flair to their turns. Watch."
Baze had watched, and been utterly unable to see whatever it was Denic was seeing.
"Scrubs, all of them. I mean, they know their jobs, but they've got no passion beneath their wings," she'd said.
She'd gone silent again, and stayed that way, and when Baze had made his way down and back to Chirrut and looked, she had still been on the rooftop, still watching. It was the kind of dedication he had seen in the Temple of the Kyber from some of the Disciples, the absolute focus, absolute commitment of a true believer. He had decided then and there that Denic's faith was flight.
"You two really poked the rancor this time," Denic was saying.
That brought Baze back to the moment. "This is for our benefit?" he asked.
"That is my impression."
"All this over food, meds, and water?"
"You didn't even look in the other crates, did you?"
"They were yours, that was the deal." Baze shrugged. "We got what was needed."
"You two hit a full resupply for LZ-Cresh, Baze. Yeah, you scored rations and meds, but you also boosted their munitions. Some serious stuff."
"You still have it?"
"That's my point. I still have all of it. It's too hot to move. I can't even get Gesh or the Tulava Quartet to touch any of it, not yet."
"Where?" Baze asked.
Denic chewed the corner of her upper lip, eyes narrowing. She blackened the skin around each eye out of habit, as if overzealously applying makeup, but for reasons that had nothing to do with the cosmetic. The Torjeka goggles she liked to wear offered numerous benefits, both macro and micro visual settings, as well as thermal, light-enhancing, and electromagnetic views. But they were old, and their seals had weakened, and so she darkened her skin in an attempt to make their lenses appear brighter.
She jerked a thumb over to the far corner of the garage, where a heavy tarp was draped over a vaguely lumpy and speederlike shape. When Baze lifted the corner of the tarp, he saw there was, in fact, not one speeder but rather the bits and pieces of several, and beneath them five of the crates they had taken off the stormtroopers the night before. The crates had been hastily repainted in an attempt to hide their Imperial markings. Baze climbed up over the pieces of dismantled speeders and reached down and wrenched the top off each crate, one at a time. He looked at the contents of each for several seconds without comment, then over to Denic.
"Yeah," Denic said. "You could do a lot of damage with that stuff."
"I like that idea," Baze said.
"Whoa whoa whoa, wait a fraction, big guy." Denic trotted over, but Baze was already hoisting one of the crates up and out of where it had been nestled, and she had to stop and then step back as he set it on the ground between them. Her eyes widened for a moment at the display of strength. "That's my cut, that's the deal. You get the meds, the rations, I get everything else. Remember?"
Baze reached down into the crate, freed its contents from the restraints holding it securely in place, straightened. Denic took another step back.
"That's, ah...that's a support weapon, big guy. They mount that kind of thing on vehicles, it's not...that's not a personal weapon, you know? Like, not for personal use."
Baze turned the gun in his hands, checked its heft. It was heavy, though not so heavy that it was uncontrollable in his hands. He looked back into the crate, where the coolant tank and charging belt for the weapon were still resting. He looked at Denic. He grinned.
"I like it," he said.
"Can you rig me something for the coolant tank?"
"Baze, that is a Morellian 35c repeater. It's not even a blaster, you get me? It's technically a cannon."
“贝兹，这是一把莫雷利亚35c连发枪（Morellian 35c repeater）。它甚至不是爆能枪，明白我的意思吗？严格地说，这是一门大炮。“
"I can wear the tank on my back. But to do that I will need a harness. Something secure."
"It's like I'm talking to a wall." Denic shook her head slightly at him, then sighed and pulled her goggles back down over her eyes. She peered into the crate, then took another step back. "Well, get it all unpacked, at least."
Baze set down the gun and removed the rest of the contents from their packing. Denic went to the nearest workbench, grabbed her pouch of tools and adhered it to her hip, then returned and squatted on her haunches, examining the tank and charging belt. Baze went back to examining the gun.
"Fully automatic?" he asked.
"Two modes," Denic said. "Full auto, yeah, and then there's a single-shot power mode, pump action, high yield. There should be an electroscope in the crate, too, smart targeting system. Though unless you're chipped or wearing power armor, you're going to have a harder time getting that to work. Fully charged, that thing can spit close to forty thousand rounds before needing a reload."
"Forty thousand rounds, fully automatic." Baze lowered the rifle. "Why do they need that much firepower?"
Denic looked up at him, eyes now hidden behind her goggles.
"Crowd control," she said.
It was well after nightfall when Baze made it back home, now wearing the rig he and Denic had worked up, the rifle in his hands. The rig was a combination of body armor and harness, the coolant tank riding at his back, low enough not to throw off his center of balance. There were only two downsides to the weapon system that Baze could see. The first was that it was nearly impossible to conceal. The second was that the charging belt that ran from the blaster cannon to the coolant tank ran the risk of snagging on potential obstructions. Neither of these was a problem that Baze felt outweighed the benefits of having a weapon that would do what he needed it to do.
That it was a weapon the Imperials might have intended to use on the civilian populace of Jedha only made the potential of using it on them instead all the more satisfying.
He came through the door, saying, "Chirrut, I found a new gun."
Then he saw the Twi'lek and the Sabat who had been following them earlier, both with a cup of Tarine tea in their hands, sitting on the floor on either side of Chirrut. Since he couldn't point the weapon at both of them at the same time, he settled it on the Sabat. The Sabat didn't move except to narrow his already small eyes to vicious slits.
"Resist, please, the urge to use it," Chirrut said.
There was a decidedly awkward pause.
"You made them tea," Baze said, finally.
"It seemed polite."
"Did they tell you why they were following us?"
The Twi'lek cleared his throat. He was extraordinarily tall, evident even with him sitting down, but more than that, he looked decidedly unhealthy. His lekku were emaciated, thin to the point that they appeared brittle, as if Baze could have snapped them from his head with barely any effort. His skin was pulled taut against his skull, and on a healthy Twi'lek the hue would have been almost ivory, but on him it held a pallor more appropriate to a cadaver. His lips were full and glistened a dark reddish brown like dried blood, and in combination with the rest of his appearance this only served to make him appear even more ghastly. He sat with a long electrostaff across his lap, but he made no attempt to grab it.
"You are Baze Malbus," the Twi'lek said. "I am Beezer Fortuna. This is my colleague, Leevan Tenza. We come with an invitation."
“你就是贝兹·马彪斯，”提列克说道。“我是比泽·福图纳（Beezer Fortuna）。这是我的同事，莱文·腾赞（Leevan Tenza）。我们是来邀请你们的。“
"We're on the same side," the Sabat, Tenza, said. His voice had a distinct rasp, as if each word had been dug out of Jedha's own kyber mines, and then had to pull itself, centimeter by centimeter, to the surface, cracked and dirty fingernails and all. Opposite the Twi'lek, he seemed positively short, though similarly hardened and unhealthy. His tunic was stained, showing evidence of frequent and hasty repairs. He wore bandoliers of ammunition crisscrossed across his chest and a further belt of rounds about his waist, but Baze could see no obvious sign of a weapon. A thin sliver of wood jutted from the corner of the Sabat's mouth, and when he drank his tea, the toothpick stayed put.
"What side would that be?" Baze asked.
"The side that hates the Empire," Beezer Fortuna said. "As we have been explaining to your friend."
Baze held his aim a fraction longer, then hefted the blaster cannon so its barrel pointed more to the ceiling than at the Sabat. That there were sentients in the galaxy fighting the Empire wasn't news; there were scattered pockets of resistance that seemed primarily confined to the Outer Rim worlds. Mostly it was word of mouth, rumors, but once in a while something more substantial broke through the Imperial noise. Images from Cherridan, where an uprising at an Imperial labor camp had been brutally put down; reports of a successful assault on the stormtrooper garrison at Winter's Edge; a garbled transmission out of Lothal filled with defiance and hope and inspiration.
The Empire, of course, downplayed such things or dismissed them altogether. Propaganda by enemies of the Empire, it claimed. Lies spread by traitors and saboteurs who threatened the order and peace and security the Empire provided.
One only had to look outside, at what had happened to the Holy City, to know the truth.
"Rebels," Baze said.
Tenza sneered. "True rebels. The ones who will do what must be done."
Baze looked to Chirrut. Chirrut seemed to be studying his tea, which, of course, he could not possibly be doing. He seemed calm as ever, unperturbed by any tension that Baze's arrival might have caused.
"If thinking of us as rebels is a problem," Fortuna said, "you might rather call us 'emissaries.'"
"Emissaries for who?" Baze asked.
Fortuna and Tenza exchanged a look. The Sabat produced a comlink from a pocket, keyed it twice, but said nothing. Fortuna used his staff to get to his feet. Standing, he was a full head taller than Baze, and had to duck his head to keep from hitting it on the low ceiling.
"We will take you to him," Fortuna said. "He is eager to meet you both."