Alema Valla (Twi’leki: Alem’avalla) was born on Ryloth in 23 BY in a small village outside the planet’s capital of Kala’uun. Her parents, Jela and Seku, were rycrit farmers with Alema an only child.
When Alema was three years old, her farm was raided by slavers who had heard rumours of a source of the highly addictive and illegal Ryll nearby. Unable to find the Ryll, they razed the farm in frustration with Jela and Seku still inside, and took Alema captive.
She was taken to Corellia and sold to Carnon Drex, the owner of the Tallusian Lamb, a seedy bar in the underbelly of Tyrena. Even though she was young, Alema was put to work serving drinks to the sleazy clientele and mopping up the various messes that crop up. It was a hard life for Alema with long hours and squalid living conditions.
Two years passed until one day in 18 BY, a smuggler named Torm Wessan entered the bar. He was to meet a Trandoshan contact who had coordinates for a convoy of Bacta cargo. The meeting turned sour with the Trandoshan opening fire. Torm was able to subdue the contact but not before Alema took a glancing shot to her torso causing her to fall heavily on the floor and knocking her out.
Torm needed to get out of the bar before CorSec arrived and seeing Alema battered and bruised, he took her with him as the guilt of her situation overwhelmed him.
Alema was taken under the care of Torm who brought her along everywhere he went on his ship, the Cantar Spark, a B-7 light freighter that Torm won in a game of Dejarik. Teaching her the skills that would be needed to become a successful smuggler, Alema showed particular affinity for piloting as well as a pistol. As the years went on, they developed a successful smuggling operation with Alema, Torm and an old repaired IG86 model which they found on a Junk ship just outside of Mandalore.
Coming of age as a Twi’lek female, Alema began to notice an innate ability for seduction and deception. This was put to good use on a number of occasions to get Torm and IG86 out of prickly situations.
Torm took a job with the Rebel Alliance in 7 BY to transport medical supplies from Mirial to the Rebel outpost in Dantooine. To avoid unneeded extra attention, IG86 was left at the rebel camp in Mirial.
As they were getting ready to leave the planet, the imperial regiment at Mirial spaceport arrested the Cantar Spark after a tip-off from an anonymous source.
Torm ordered Alema to hide in one of the empty smuggling compartments while he dealt with the imperials outside.
Listening in on the com, Alema heard the imperial officer identify himself as Jasa Talik, and that Torm was under arrest for collusion with the Rebel Alliance. He was to be immediately transferred to the prison facilities on Coruscant for forceful interrogation. Upon hearing this, Alema rushed to the hatch doorway where she was spotted by one of the stormtroopers who raised his rifle and ordered her to freeze. Tackling the stormtrooper to the ground, Torm screamed at Alema to run as Talik took out his pistol and shot him.
Overcome with shock, Alema was frozen in place staring at the lifeless body of her adopted father. When she regained her senses, she saw Talik pointing the pistol at her. Knowing Torm was gone, Alema hit the door panel to shut the hatch and raced to the cockpit. She flew out of the spaceport and entered hyperspace narrowly outrunning the patrolling Tie-fighters.
Alema spent the next years continuing the smuggling operation. All the while looking for information on the location of Jasa Talik and following up on leads that may bring her to him and exact her vengeance. Although she tried not to take a side in the war between the Empire and the Rebels, she never missed an opportunity to do a bit of sabotage to the Imperials, while accepting the odd Rebel smuggling job.
Primarily working alone, apart from her astromech droid, R4-P6, Alema developed a reputation for being reliable and willing to take on dangerous work – as long as it helped her get closer to finding Talik. Identified as a Rebel sympathizer, the Empire put a bounty on her head which encouraged several bounty hunters to try and collect. None succeeded, and most met their end.
One bounty hunter in particular had been chasing Alema for a number of years, always losing her at the last minute; he also managed to survive her wrath where others failed. It turned into a game with neither one wanting to lose, yet always looking forward to the next encounter.
In 1 BY, after eight years of chasing Talik, Alema was contacted by her source in the Rebel Alliance. This time it wasn’t for a smuggling job but to join up with the Rebels for a mission striking at the heart of the Empire. The benefit to her was more than credits. This mission would lead her directly to Talik.
Alema signed up straight away.
Alema walked down the twisting steps in the entrance alcove to the Mos Eisley cantina. As she rounded the corner, she was greeted by a musty smell of tabac smoke and unwashed bodies which enveloped her like an old familiar blanket. The electronic whirl of the droid detector to Alema’s right pierced through the din of hushed conversations as she stepped into the cantina. A gruff looking human dressed in a grimy off-cream shirt looked up from behind the bar.
“You still owe Chalmun for tha mess you caused tha last time you came ‘ere” the man exclaimed grumpily.
“Yeah. I know, Wuher. But I did him a favour. You know bounty hunters aren’t welcome here. Makes everyone jumpy” Alema replied.
“You din have to kill ‘im. I had them imperials al’over me fer that one. ‘E was an informer fer them, and they don like it when one of their information sources get killed”
“Didn’t mean it that way. How was I suppose to know he was connected to Imperials. Look, it was a mistake and it won’t happen again. And if anyone can give the imperials the sneak around, its you” Alema smiled “I’m looking for a Devaronian, seen any come in recently?”
“Always the sweet talker Alema. Yeah, there’s one in the corner. Hasn been ‘ere long… I want no more trouble, got it?”
“Thanks Wuher. Bring over a mug of Jawa Juice when you can”
Part of the payment for the Glitterstim cargo that Alema delivered to Gardulla the Hutt this morning was the setting up of this meeting. Twenty five thousand credits and information on Jasa Talik’s location, and this Devaronian had that information.
Alema glanced over to her right and spotted a Devaronian hunched over a small table in the corner, just as Wuher had said. She could make out a red complexion beneath two horns on his forehead which curled out to the side then back. Dressed in a black spacer jacket, there was nothing particularly striking about him other than he seemed to be staring intently at the drink in front of him.
She made her way past the bar and sat down opposite the hunched figure. He was cupping a glass of blue milk that looked largely untouched with both hands. As she sat down, the Devaronian looked up at her and smiled.
“Ms. Alema, so nice to see you”
“Desran I assume. Let’s get to it. You have some information for me”
Desran nodded as he kept the smile on his face “Yes, Yes, Ms. Alema. All in good time. First, may I offer you a drink?”
As if on cue, Wuher placed a mug in front of her and walked away.
“I already have a drink. What I want is the information I was promised”
“Indeed. I have information. But first, is it not customary to have a toast to new acquaintances? I am much pleased to meet someone so famous as you”
Narrowing her eyes, Alema looked closer at Desran’s face. Something felt off here. He was too jovial, and he was delaying for some reason.
Sneering she replied. “There is no such custom, and flattery will get you nowhere. Now give me the information or this meeting is over”
A click and hum of a power cell charging up broke the tension. The smile faded away from Desran’s face as he leaned in closer to Alema.
“That’s no way for a lady to talk” hissed Desran “You have a bounty on your head, Twi’lek. A bounty that I intend to collect. The imperials are on their way and you, my dear, are not going anywhere. As you might have guessed, there is a blaster pointed at you under the table”
Alema stared straight at Desran. She silently cursed herself for being set up so easily. She had been blinded by her desire to find Talik that she dismissed all the warning signs. She knew better than to trust a Hutt. If the imperials really were on their way, she needed to get out of here fast.
Letting out a sign, Alema leaned back on the couch. “I have to hand it to you Desran. Many bounty hunters have come after me, but you are the only one who was able to catch me. I haven’t been out-smarted many times, but you certainly played me.”
“I think you will find that I am no ordinary bounty hunter Alema. I always deliver and my bounty never gets away. Even the infamous Marshall Kol was no match for me” Desran beamed as he mentioned this name, the pride clearly showing through as what he considers he greatest achievement.
“Aah yes, Marshall. I wondered what happened to him. I don’t believe he would have been easy to catch”
Desran laughed in response, evidently pleased to regale his stories of conquest to anyone who would listen. “Why yes, he was not easy. But he did not expect someone of Desran’s skill to come for him”
With his attention broken, Alema seized her chance. She grabbed the mug of jawa juice in front of her and threw it at Desran’s face in one swift motion. The mug struck true and hit the Devaronian on the bridge of the nose. Momentarily dazed, Alema un-holstered her blaster, took aim under the table and pulled the trigger. A loud pulsing roar rang out as the blaster fired hitting the Devaronian in the centre of the torso. Desran gaped wide eyed at Alema in shock as faint grey wisps rose from the smoldering wound, and collapsed face first onto the table.
“Dammit Alema! Not again!” Screamed Wuher
“Sorry. It was him or me. I didn’t have a choice this time. You better get him out of here before the imperials come. I’ll pay for this one”
Alema tossed some credits onto the bar counter and then headed for the door as Wuher grumbled his displeasure.
Stepping out into the sandy cul-de-sac at the end of Mos Eisley’s new quarter, Alema put her hand up to shield her eyes from the oppressive glare of Tatooine’s twin suns. It was just past midday. Most of the shops would be closed and the majority of the local population would be inside taking a break from the heat. If Desran was right, then imperial troops would be here any minute, which meant she had to get away from here and off Tatooine immediately.
Pulling the hood of her cloak over her head, Alema ducked down one of the back alleys leading towards docking bay 82 – the location of the Cantar Spark. Alema took the com-link out of her pocket, flicked the power switch and spoke into it.
“R-4, fire up the engines. We need to make a hasty exit. I’ll be there in 10 minutes”
A gurgling splatter of squeeks and beeps responded.
“No, we didn’t get it. The whole thing was a set-up. We were sold out to the Imperials… prep the hyperdrive and set coordinates to Malastare. We’re jumping as soon as we’re off the planet”
Alema switched off her com-link without waiting for a reply from R4-P6. The Spark would be ready, but she needed to get to it without drawing any unwanted attention.
Managing to stay hidden, Alema found her way to docking bay 82. The entrance door looked unlocked and she couldn’t see any imperials guarding it. Giving a quick glance down the alley to make sure she wasn’t being followed, Alema exited onto the street. An assertive voice broke the silence.
“Halt! You there, stop right now!”
Cursing under her breath, Alema turned around to see three sandtroopers rounding the corner at the end of the street. Reminding herself never to trust her luck, she put on a smile and called out to the lead trooper.
“How may I help you, sir?”
“Identify yourself, and what is your business in docking bay 82?”
“No business. I am just passing through on the way to catch the passenger shuttle to Anchorhead. I believe I must have taken a wrong turn” Alema replied with a simper, trying to turn on the charm.
“Unlikely” the trooper responded abruptly “Our orders are to look for a blue female twi’lek in the vicinity of docking bay 82. You fit the description and will come with us”
Alema could see that wouldn’t be able to talk her way out of this one. The sandtroopers were still about 100 metres away so she could try and make a run for it. Except that the docking bay door was completely exposed and she would need several seconds to input the code to open it.
Not seeing any other choice, Alema drew her blaster and shot the lead trooper square in the chest, dropping him, before launching herself behind the stack of metal crates next to her on the side of the dusty road.
She ducked behind the crates as shots rang out above her head scoring the adjacent wall with small smoldering craters. Over the sounds of blaster fire, Alema could hear the two remaining sandtroopers calling for back-up. Considering her options, Alema glanced left and right. The area on either side of the crates was horribly open with no cover for at least 50 metres so she couldn’t make a run for it. She could try and slug it out with the troopers, but they had her outgunned with superior weaponry and numbers. All they had to do was keep her there until reinforcements arrived with no risks and no opportunities to let her escape. Which was exactly what they were doing. She was pinned down and running out of time. Alema flicked on the com-link.
“R4, what’s the status on the Spark? I’m pinned down just outside the door. Can you lift off and provide some cover fire?”
A sharp shrill beep followed by a series of squeals and more beeps sounded on the com-link.
“That’s too long, I’ll be dead or captured by then!” Alema considered for a second, then “Just keep the Spark ready, I’m going to make a run for it”
It was a long shot and she knew the chances of her not being hit were minimal, but it was better than letting herself be taken by the imperials. Taking a deep breath, Alema readied herself to make a break from her cover. Suddenly the massive crack of an explosion thundered around Alema, rocking the floor and silencing the blaster fire. Alema peered out from behind the crates to see three dead sand troopers lying on the ground beside strewn debris and what was left of a wall. A raspy voice calling out interrupted the carnage.
“Carn’t let those pesky imperials collect my bounty now can I?”
Alema looked up to her right where the voice came from. Standing on the rooftop gazing down at her was a rugged human dressed up in faded make-shift armour and scraggily brown pants. The scruffy dark hair and stubble suggested that he hadn’t washed in days. On his shoulder was a rocket launcher next to a huge grin on his face.
“Marek. I should have known it was you. I could smell you a mile away. Still allergic to showers I see” Alema sneered
“Haw-haw. You were always the charmer Alema. Not even a little thanks for saving your behind?”
“Yeah, thanks… I guess. So what now? You gonna take me in?”
“Naw, we’ll call this even after the last time you let me go. In Ord Mantell, you could have left me to rot. Caught me with me pants down” smirked Marek with hands on hips “We’re back to square one. But after this, it’s game on”
Alema let out a chuckle “That you were, Marek. Lucky for you I was so forgiving that day. I already filled my quota of dead bounty hunters”
“Lucky for you, little lady, that good ‘ol Marek is feeling generous today. I may not be so nice next time”
Alema stood up and dusted herself off. She walked over to the docking bay door and keyed in the passcode on the control panel. The door slid open with a mellow woosh.
“See you around Marek. Try to keep your pants on next time we meet” she said as she walked into the docking bay, not bothering to look behind her as the door closed.
Alema walked across the landing pad towards the Cantar Spark. She could see the entrance ramp was lowered and its systems were powered up ready to lift-off. As she strode across the chamber, the low hum of the engines and the echo of her footsteps was broken by a series of clangs reverberating off the docking bay door that Alema had just walked through. Flicking on her com-link, Alema dashed towards the ramp.
“R4, lift-off now. I’m at the ramp. We got company”
The low hum of the Cantar Spark’s engines broke into a loud roar as the ship shuddered and began to rise off the ground. Alema sprinted then dove up and onto the ramp, somersaulting her landing to finish on her haunches inside the ship’s galley. Getting up, she pressed the door control button to bring up the ramp then ran to the cockpit. Entering, she saw R4-P6 jacked into the ship’s computer on the nav console.
“Did you prep the hyperdrive and input the jump coordinates R4?” Alema said as she slid into the pilot seat.
R4’s beeps answered in the affirmative.
“OK. Let’s punch it”
Alema pushed down on the throttle and the Cantar Spark shot out of the docking bay towards the Tatooine sky. Thirty seconds later, the white exterior faded into the star-studded blackness of space. A beep sounded on the front panel indicating a message had been received. Alema pushed the button to play the recording, and a male baritone voice cracked over the speakers. It was Airen Cracken.
“Alema. We got a job for you. Not smuggling this time. Insurgence. It will be dangerous and the amount of credits we can offer is measly. But it will get you close to Talik. Reply on this channel if you accept and I’ll send you the coordinates for the Shadow Raptor. Cracken out.”
Alema waited until Cracken’s voice faded out then pressed a few buttons on the message console.
“Change of plans R4. We’re off to join the rebels”