Dozens of eyes watched Anari, some uncertain, others hopeful, as she approached the nearby console and deactivated the ray shielding. Upon its collapse, the fear she felt dimmed, and faint flickers of hope began emerging. Two young Twi’lek children ran up to hug her while the eldest of the group offered their thanks in hushed whispers, quickly huddling around her for answers; Who was she? How did she find them? What did she intend to do with them now? All valid questions that needed answering. Before she could offer any reassurance that today they were free people, a distinct hum from her vambrace took her attention. As she raised it to her lips, two dozen hopeful eyes followed it.
“Kyrin, I’ve found them.”
“Right on time. Match’s man came through after all. It’s an ugly old junker, but we should blend in just fine,” Kyrin replied over the comm channel. “I’m ready to roll when you are.”
“Good. Pull up now, and help get them loaded in,” Anari replied. “They’ll be out in a moment.”
Closing the connection, Anari backed away, beckoning the slaves by hand to follow her. The club’s layout was far from sophisticated, allowing her to quickly find the one and only door leading to the alleyway. Manipulating the door control from a distance, it slid open just as the dull gray civilian transport pulled up. She waved the group to go ahead of her and enter it; together with Kyrin, the children were lifted inside the unit first, followed by the eldest of the group, and lastly the adults who whispered their thanks as they entered inside. Once the very last entered, Kyrin turned to Anari who stood unmoving within the doorway.
“What are you—”
“I have a plan.”
“This was the plan. What else are we doing?”
“Not we. Me,” Anari corrected quietly, glancing over her shoulder. She could sense the group of guards making their approach, gathered at last. “I need to meet our enemy on even footing. If the circumstances are just right, he may reveal himself again. And if he does not, the mission is still successful. Either way the Neon Glow is finished. I’ll remain behind and see to it.”
Kyrin grinned. “You haven’t changed at all.”
“Get moving. This is my mission from here.”
She could tell he still wanted to tease her, and thankfully chose not to. He nodded to her and she nodded back before he hustled to the pilot seat of the civilian transport and found the acceleration, closing the hatch that revealed the liberated slaves as he did so. Her last sight of the slaves was of the children waving goodbye to her. Anari waved goodbye in return before backing away into the darkness of the building with the door slamming shut.
Returning towards the cells, the gathered guards were in the middle of a heated argument. They looked for someone to take responsibility for this, having no clear leader to report to on the premises. Anari sensed their fear reaching its peak. Watching over a bunch of gamblers and letting slaves stew in their fear was an easy living. One little hitch in their easygoing lives and they were beginning to turn on each other. They pushed and shoved, threatened with outlandish accusations against each other, looking to condemn one of them to death. Heads would roll.
Finally, she had enough.
“Tell me something,” she spoke out, loud and clear. The confrontational band of nitwits stopped bickering just long enough to take notice of her. “A club centered on gambling and slave trade could invest in bartender droids and expensive carpeting, but not a single surveillance camera? A security droid? Tsk, tsk.”
The pistols they were armed with were drawn, each man taking aim and preparing to put a hole through her. “You don’t want to harm me,” she suggested smoothly. At once their bodies seized, confusion becoming etched on their awestruck faces. They looked to their weapons in hand and lowered them, wanting not to harm the robed intruder. “You want to change your lives for the better. That starts by clearing out this entire club of its customers without use of lethal force, only fear. Fire shots in the air. Destroy gambling tables and scatter chips across the ground. Send the gamblers packing. Let none remain.”
A moment passed as the information was processed. Then, one after the other, they stepped towards her and walked by her, each struck with the idea that their lives did not need to be reduced to guarding slaves for unappreciative masters hidden in the shadows. Today, they would take their lives back with their own two hands.
Anari inhaled deeply and exhaled just as the sound of blaster pistols spraying in the air rang loudly, even back here. Screams and sounds of panic were bountiful. Through the Force she felt dozens of clubgoers retreat towards the main entrance. The guards assigned to monitor this club did just as ordered. In less than a minute, the club was empty, save for what few bartender droids and service droids remained on the floor.
She returned to the main floor, seeing the chaos wrought by just a handful of men with a new mission in life. They stood atop the casino tables that weren’t overturned and celebrated their newfound freedom. The chance to be more than hired muscle, to be somebody in this galaxy, was now in their grasp.
Anari stepped past toppled chairs and abandoned gambling chips, the smell of heated plasma hanging in the air. The club’s space could still be utilized. However, the machines and furniture within were beyond saving; the true owner not only lost their slaves, but also a great deal of investment in making the location more than presentable for prospective buyers.
“Drop your weapons where you stand,” she ordered. All at once the men paused before tossing their weapons on the ground beneath them. “Walk out the front door and change your lives for the better. You’re free now.”
The celebratory jeering resumed. The new comrades joined together and departed the Neon Glow, carefully stepping past a trampled lone guard on their way out.
Left with no other task but to wait and hope, Anari stepped to the center of the floor, dragging a toppled chair up by the Force and standing it upright. She closed her eyes and seated herself before waiting in absolute silence.