Chapter 3 - The Parental Advice of a Sith
Ilum, Eastern Ice Shelf
One of the first sounds I remember hearing as a kid was my mother’s lightsabers.
I stood in the snow, hand resting on my blaster hilt, watching the wicked grace of her movements. She was a brutal fighter, a cruel one really. My mother punished her opponents with strikes that were meant to hurt more as the fight progressed. If she could not beat her enemy with skill alone, she would beat him with pain. Constant never ever ending seconds of it, until death was a welcome reprieve from the fight.
When she was done manhandling the group of soldiers I couldn’t identify, she ordered Lieutenant Pierce to secure the cargo. She walked over to me after her order was given and I fell in step beside her.
“What takes you away from your trials as a Bounty Hunter?” She asked without preamble.
“I need your advice about something unexpected.” I paused. Was there any way to say this without sounding like a emo Evocii? Whatever. “I’m in love.”
“I hadn’t planned on it. I was only going to use her as needed to get the job done. But she… snuck up on me.”
“It’s Mako then?”
She sounded amused. Either that or she was making fun of me. Probably both. “And now, like a teenage boy, you’re bursting at the seams with it, longing to tell her everything, to ease the plots in your mind with her gentle wisdom.”
I made a face. “Not when you say it like that.”
My mother laughed, a low humorous sound. She pulled back her hood, and then pulled off her helmet. She had her own battle scars along her jaw around her cybernetic implant, and a wicked one around her neck. And, even though the dark side of the force made its power inside her visibly known I still thought she had this harsh kind of beauty.
I studied her for a moment. “Do you love, Dad?” If my dark side loving, Darth of a mother did, there was hope for me yet.
“Your father and I have a deep mutual respect for each other. I do care about him a great deal. But I do not love him.”
Crap. I pressed on. “You love someone though.”
She was silent a moment before she confessed quietly, “Yes.”
That shocked me actually. I had prepared for the negative and for her to tell me that love was a weakness we couldn’t afford. “Who?”
“All you need know about him is that he was my first lesson in the dangers of my own arrogance.” The hardness in her tone softened by a degree. “But, I carry a soft spot for him I cannot explain. He betrayed me, tried to kill me, and he lives. I love him still, and it angers me greatly.”
I could literally feel the strength of my mother’s emotions. I could feel the force, use it just a bit. Mind you, a very, very, very small bit and only in extreme situations but I could. And I have to say that there was nothing better (Mako’s a real close second though) than force choking some idiot that just wouldn’t shut up before you blasted his stomach open with your pistol.
“Lancoro…” My mother stopped our walk with her hand on my arm. She touched my face with her other. “My only advice to you is this; let her show you who she is before you trust her completely. And then never trust her completely.”
“What do you mean?”
“If she is a strong woman, she has conviction. One day that conviction may come at odds with your own. If forced to choose, it may not be you.”
I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the thought that Mako wouldn’t choose me, even though I was prepared to not choose her. It might not have been fair, but it was honest. My loyalty was to my family. Not to Mandalore, or the Imperials, or anyone else. Still, I really wanted Mako to fit into this picture somehow.
My mother must have sensed my rapidly spinning thoughts. She smiled and patted my cheek bringing me out of them. “It’s a caution, not a prophesy of doom. You can inspire loyalty in a way a Sith cannot. Vette, Quinn, Pierce, Jaesa, they love me but I will always be prepared for the moment they may find an opportunity to betray me.” Her eyes hardened. “I learned that lesson the Sith way. You need not.”
I canted my head at her, suddenly understanding her in a different way. “Peace is a lie,” I said quietly.
Her smile faintly returned. “No. It is merely fleeting. I have felt peace. With your father. Moments with you, and your siblings. Nothing is absolute, Lancoro.”
I felt better. A little smarter too. I nodded. “I understand.”
Her smile turned edgier. She backed up a step and tossed me one of her lightsabers. “Show me.”
I caught it easily, bringing out the blade. “Yes ma’am.”
Intermission - The Watchers
Their all white hooded suits made them blend into landscape. Robotic eyes allowed them to zoom in on their two targets. The implants in their ears allowed them to hear. The one on the right scanned through the file on his datapad. Everything they saw updated the information in the device in real time.
“He is second born.”
“His father cannot be the Chiss.”
“His biological maker is Lieutenant Pierce.”
“That makes sense. All right, got him. Who’s next?”
“She has a daughter. An Imperial Agent. Recently promoted.”
“Let’s find out what she knows.”
(More will come as scattered thoughts collide and I find time)