Landing in this galaxy on 29th June, here’s an early excerpt from Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm, the next novel in Phase One of The High Republic as alas, we find Ty Yorrick repairing her ship on the swampy bog world of Safrifa.
Will you help us?
Ty Yorrick had lost count of the times she had heard those words, usually delivered with a side order of pleading eyes and, more often than not, missing limbs. You had to be desperate to approach someone like Ty.
The swamp farmers of Safrifa were desperate.
They had found her repairing her ship on the edge of the bog fields, preparing to leave after a successful extraction operation where she had liberated the son of the local marsh-lord from a rival clan. There had been blood and screaming. Always blood and screaming. Some of the gore still caked her armor while the screams would linger when she finally fell into her cot that evening, even after taking keekon root to help her sleep. In all honesty she didn’t mind the screams. They had been her companion for the best part of a decade, the one constant in her ever-changing life.
The novian ore she had received for the kid’s safe return would come in handy. Her ship needed parts, and parts meant money. She knew an armorer on Keldooine who would take the novian off her hands, smelting it down to forge saw blades. Maybe she’d buy one herself. Less money for the ship, but her arsenal had been depleted after that botched job on Alzoc III. Kriffing Hoopaloo, stealing half her stash. Other mercs would have tracked down the traitorous parrot and ripped the smarmy beak clear from his face, but Ty wasn’t any other merc. Bad things happened and you dealt with it. There was no point wasting time or effort on battles you didn’t need to have, especially if no one was paying you.
She had sensed the swamp farmers long before she heard them slosh through the bog. Sensed and assessed. They were no threat to merc or beast. No threat to anyone. Most Safrifans were scrawny little creatures with skin the color of stagnant water and hair that hung like pondweed in front of large oval eyes. They were industrious, though. Ingenious, too. Ty had trudged through one of their floating beds — a long, narrow plot of thick soil raised from the marshwater by mud and decaying vegetation to stop the roots of their kru-kru crops becoming waterlogged. The farm had stretched on for kilometers, each plot framed by willow trestles and surrounded by a network of narrow canals. At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing could be grown here, but the Safrifans had proved otherwise. Resourceful and resilient. Ty liked that. Admired it even. And now they were here, waiting patiently to speak with her. It could only mean one thing.
“Nice ship,” the warbling voice commented in broken Basic. “What it name?”
“Doesn’t have one,” Ty replied in their native tongue, not turning around from her work. The damn stabilizer was hanging on by a thread.
“You speak our language?” the farmer asked, surprised.
“Enough to get by.” She was lucky like that. It had always been the same. Ty picked up most languages quickly, a useful talent in her profession. Sometimes she let people know, at other times she kept quiet and listened. She had nothing to fear from these two, even as they dithered behind her, not knowing what to say now that their small talk had failed. She hadn’t been lying, though. Her ship, a battered YT-750 freighter, didn’t have a name, only a registry number logged in the Republic records. Several numbers actually, depending on the job or employer. She didn’t see the point of giving anything a name—ship, weapon, or even the two droids that assisted her on missions, a sarcastic admin unit and an admittedly useful astromech. Like the ship, they were tools, nothing more. Why form attachments to something that could never be attached to you? Maybe it was a throwback to her training. Maybe not. Ty just thought it was common sense.
“What do you want?” She needed this conversation over. She had places to go, parts to buy.
“We have novian. Not much. But enough.”
“Enough for what?”
Instead of answering, the farmers offered a simple statement: “It is killing our children.”
Ty stopped working, the all-kit tool dropping down from the exposed stabilizer core.
“What is?” she asked, an air of resignation in her voice.
“A monster. A bad one.”
Was there any other kind?
“How long has it been happening?”
“Three weeks. We have laid traps but it smashed them. It wrecks our plots, ruins the crops.”
“How many children?”
“Does it matter?”
Finally she turned, taking in the pathetic sight in front of her. They were little more than walking skeletons, skin stretched over prominent bones. The taller of the two, relatively speaking, lifted a leather pouch. “We have novian,” he repeated, his companion hunched behind him, leaning heavily on a staff.
Not much novian if the size of the bag was anything to go by. Hardly worth her time.
It is killing our children.
“In the Sorcan Swamp, three days’ hike from here. One, if you have a skimmer.”
“Do you have a skimmer?”
He looked at her and she looked at him. His companion looked at the marshwater. Exhausted. Without hope or expectation.
Back in the day, she would have used a set of Verazeen stones to make the decision, telling herself that she was leaving things to chance. To the will of the universe. One side of the stones was etched with moon symbols, the other suns. The process was simple enough. Throw them at the ground, decide whether you were banking on more suns or moons, and let fate guide your way. She’d been taking more of an active role recently, choosing her own path instead of relying on the stones, and right now she knew that the job wasn’t worth it. She should get back in the ship and blast off for Keldooine. It was the sensible thing to do. Logical, even.
He needed to say the words.
“Will you help us?”
And there they were.
- Hardcover Book
- Scott, Cavan (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 448 Pages - 06/29/2021 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)