In this scene, Senth and NarrAy use perjump, a personal portaling system to enter the palace and serch for Senth's brother, who's a captive.
NarrAy expected queasiness when her body reassembled inside the palace. Instead it was like she'd closed her eyes in one place and opened them in another.
Rather than the Vandal's Ready Room, they stood in a utility room stocked with linens and deactivated housecleaning droids. The swift disorientation of different surroundings startled but didn't hurt.
Senth, on the other hand, dropped to his knees at her side and doubled over.
"Tiger!" She knelt beside him. "Didn't the jumpdrug help? Are you sick?"
He braced one arm across his stomach. "I got punched." He grimaced. "Been hurting ever since."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you'd worry like you are now." He was ashen and shaking. Moments ago he'd been fine.
"I have good reason to worry, Senth. My parents knew perjump couldn't be used by an injured person."
He looked up. "Why not?"
"When there was an injury, perjump accelerated the damage." She laid her hands on his shoulders. "They wanted to use it to move casualties off a battlefield or accident victims to a hospital, but in every test, it made the injury worse. You should have told me!"
Senth grunted, still on his knees on the floor.
"We have to get you back on board." She reached for the perjump controls.
He grabbed her hand. "No! Not without my brother."
"No." His grip tightened on her hand. His pale eyes were flinty, hard, determined. "You said there was only enough power for one jump here and back. I'm not leaving without my brother!"
"And just how are you going to work in your condition?"
"I can make it." He clenched his teeth. "Help me up."
"NarrAy, I need you to trust me. Let me do my job." He rubbed his thumb across the back of her hand. His innocent blue eyes pleaded with her. "Please. Help me save my brother."
"All right." She let him lean on her arm and helped him rise, supporting his weight as best she could. "If we landed where we thought we would, security should be through that door."
She put her left arm around Senth's waist. With his right arm draped over her shoulder, she helped him into the security room.
A wall of lights, switches, and monitors glowed in the eerie dark. How would he ever know where to find his brother with all those indicators?
Grimacing, Senth dug his left hand into a pocket and retrieved his lockpick. With his arm still over her shoulder, he used both hands to set the lockpick's controls and held the unit up in front of the panel of lights. He passed it slowly across each row, then down and back in the other direction.
The pick bleeped, and Senth turned it off and slid it back in his pocket.
"This is the last room locked, so I'm betting that's where she's keeping him."
"And if you're wrong?"
"Then we're about to pay a visit to a total stranger." He moved his arm off her shoulder. "Can you hold me up on the other side instead? I need my right hand for this."
NarrAy slid around and took her place on his left. "What if someone comes in?"
"Guild intel says all the security is automated." He touched part of the panel and then worked so quickly, his fingers blurred. "Done." He motioned to the door.
"Let's go get Khyff."
"Are you sure it's safe now?"
He gave her a perturbed smile. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"That was awfully quick. Are you sure it's—"
"NarrAy, never think about the importance of a lock. Just pick it." He jerked his head toward the door. "Come on."
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