I heard rallying cries of "more" (from all two of you, heehee).
In which Quinn has a panic attack...
He straightened his collar in the mirror and patted furiously at his hair. His stubborn cowlick popped up mockingly. He would deal with it later. With fire. No, not fire. That would be stupid. He always hated preparing for a visiting Sith lord. It made him ridiculously nervous and jumpy. He puffed his chest proudly, taking one last look at himself in the mirror, and was off.
The door to Ovech’s meet and greet room hissed open at the press of a button.
“Thank you for your hospitality while I continue my search for a Captain,” came a female voice.
Quinn halted his quick steps. That voice. Panic gripped his heart.
“Ah, Commander, I was just briefing Lord Syla, the Emperor’s Wrath,” Ovech said from his desk.
She turned then, her golden eyes staring straight into his soul. He took an uneasy step back, then another. He could hear her lightsaber humming to life, feel it slicing through him again and again. She crossed her arms and stared at him uneasily. His blue eyes were darting around the room, trying to focus on anything, but her.
“Commander Quinn, please show Madam Wrath some respect,” Ovech intoned.
Quinn made a strangled noise in the back of his throat. No words were forming in his mind. Thoughts rushed about trying to find coherence, but none came. He opened his mouth and gulped down as much air as his lungs could hold.
“I see you are alive and well, Commander,” Syla said calmly.
He took another step back. He couldn’t breathe, his heart was pounding. The room began spinning.
“Quinn?” Ovech asked a bit harshly.
His face turned red, his eyebrows knitted in pain. He grasped at the space just above his heart and began to fall.
“Malavai!” Ovech shouted. “S**t!” He slammed his fist down on the intercom button on his desk. “Get a med unit in here! NOW!”
Ovech rushed to Quinn’s side and flipped him to his back. He was trying to breathe, trying to speak, trying to think, but his body refused to respond to his commands. He felt Ovech pumping on his chest, heard his own wheezing. A rib cracked under the pressure. As his vision faded to black and his hearing turned to static he had one thought: she had killed him after all.
Ovech continued pumping Quinn’s chest desperately. His panic attacks had never been this bad; usually a stutter or an involuntary shudder, perhaps a lack of eye contact. Sith didn’t mind his reaction to them, it was quite common amongst the normal Imperials. If anything, it made the Sith giddy with excitement at finding an officer still shaking in fear at their mere presence.
The medics finally arrived, rushing into the room deploying probes and hasty injections into the man on the ground. Syla watched in silence as the resuscitation probe shocked him. His body arched and fell. It shocked him again and all she could do was stare.
“My Lord, please leave the room,” Ovech said in a rush. “I cannot revive him with you in the area!”
She resisted the urge to Force slap him across the room and instead left to find Vette. The Twi’lek had happily skipped off with a cute Ensign who regaled her with tales of the onboard Cantina and the finest liquors this side of the Fleet. In truth, she was conflicted. She had liked Quinn. He tended to grow on a person and once you deciphered his odd speech patterns, he was easy to understand and get along with. She flirted with him on occasion, but made it clear to him that she was only having a bit of fun. He didn’t believe her, but he did not argue. She finally turned her attentions elsewhere (much to his relief) when she accepted Lieutenant Pierce aboard. He was a man’s man. A manly man. Not a priss in a well-tailored uniform who cited regulation.
They met with Ovech a few hours later in one of the many conference rooms. Vette sank into a chair happily. These were much more comfortable than the ones on the Fury. Maybe their new Captain could requisition seats just like these. It would put him (or her) in Vette’s good graces.
“I apologize for Commander Quinn’s condition. He suffers from post-traumatic stress,” Ovech explained. “Too much time on Balmorra, I’d gather. Now, I understand you are here to find a new Captain. I have a list of candidates.”
He pulled out his holopad and pressed the screen a few times. The holotransmitter on the conference table hummed to life. A list of names with corresponding faces appeared. Quinn’s name, rank, and face popped up before Ovech made a swiping motion, deleting his entry.
“Now, what was your old Captain like?” Ovech asked as he uploaded a few more changes to his list.
“Quinn was my old Captain,” Syla stated.
Ovech looked up from his holopad. “I beg pardon?” he asked.
“Quinn is my former Captain, Major Ovech.”
“Why was I not informed of this sooner?” he asked, an edge of anger in his voice. His knowledge of what happened to Quinn had been shaky at best, but he hadn’t needed to know the specifics. Too many rumors were floating around as it was. “You left him in sorry shape when you dumped him on Balmorra,” he said accusingly.
She bristled. “He’s lucky to be alive,” she spat angrily.
“Alive? That man is dead inside.” Ovech barked a harsh laugh. “Regardless, I will help you find a replacement if only to get you off my ship faster.”
“I don’t like your tone, Major,” she hissed.
“I don’t much care what you like, Sith,” he hissed back.
She glared at him from across the table. He matched her glare unwaveringly. Quinn was a good lot. Whatever he had done, whatever he had said, he must’ve had his reasons. To his surprise, the Sith backed off first. Perhaps she sensed his protective nature or perhaps she felt a little guilty.
The meeting continued for several hours with little headway. It didn’t help that she would play a game or two on her holopad while Ovech was describing candidates to her. She was extraordinarily picky (when she was listening) and Ovech had few men who were like Quinn under his command that he was willing to part with.
“The only person aboard this ship that meets your requirements to a T is Malavai Quinn and he is not an option,” Ovech said.
Syla leaned back in her seat and sighed. She had grown used to a certain type of Captain in Quinn and no other could fill the rather large void he left when she kicked his *** down the Fury’s ramp.
“I believe that’s my cue,” Quinn said from the doorway.
He stepped into the room with that overdramatic flair she loved so much and resented (but only a little). She could feel his pain and fear echoing through the Force, but he seemed restrained enough (compared to last time, at least) in her presence.
“This isn’t up for discussion, Quinn,” Ovech said angrily. “Get back to the med bay.”
“No,” Quinn said plainly.
“That’s an order, Commander!”
“I am no longer under your command, Major Ovech. I just received my transfer papers,” Quinn explained patiently. “Madam Wrath had me reassigned while you were talking.”
If looks could kill (well they could, if one was Sith) Ovech would’ve have splattered Syla’s brains all over the conference room then danced in them. She turned to him and grinned a toothy grin. Underhanded Sith! Always taking what they wanted with little regard to whose lives they affected or ended. He growled in frustration. He was impotent to stop the Emperor’s Wrath and he was surely sending Quinn to the slaughter.
The Wrath, fully vibed on the despair in the room, patted Ovech’s bald head before leaving with Vette in tow. She ordered Quinn to pack his things and head for the Fury as soon as possible. They had a Sith Lord to kill. Quinn nodded his understanding and bowed shakily. When they were finally alone, Quinn’s barely intact mask shattered. Pale and shaking, he took a seat at the table, burying his face in his hands.
“You’re going to die, you know that right?” Ovech asked sternly.
“It has crossed my mind, yes,” Quinn answered dully.
Ovech studied the hunched man before him. Quinn was a dutiful Imperial to a fault. When ordered to jump, he jumped. When ordered to kill, he killed. When ordered back under the command of an unpredictable Sith Lord, he followed like a nerf to slaughter.
“How’s your heart?” Ovech asked gently.
“Just palpitations, Major, nothing more,” Quinn replied.
“How much medication are you on right now?”
“I’m higher than a spicehead.”
Ovech needed to get to the meat of the issue and quickly so he could defuse the situation and keep Quinn here, safe, aboard the Dreadnaught. “Why are you going along with this? I can block the transfer on the grounds of you dying a horrible death.”
Quinn let out a long exhale. He placed his hands on the table and looked at the Major with calm eyes. “If I cannot overcome this… fear of Sith, I will be useless to the Empire. It is my duty-“
“Duty?!” Ovech roared. “You will die under her command!”
Quinn stood suddenly, knocking his chair to the floor. “Then so be it! I’d rather die in service than die in hiding!” he yelled emphatically.
Ovech was quickly on his feet as well. He slammed his hands down on the table and leaned in. “You have nothing to prove!”
“I have everything to prove!” Quinn shouted. “I will not die the sniveling coward who betrayed the Emperor’s Wrath for Darth Baras of all people! I will redeem myself!”
Ah, there it was. He sought to redeem himself, even if it meant his death. Ovech straightened his back with a sigh. He regarded the broken man before him. A small glint of determination shined in otherwise dead eyes. Very well.
“Go,” Ovech said impatiently. He waved Quinn away.
“Goodbye, Major,” Quinn said rather sadly.
He stood at attention then departed, leaving a morose Ovech alone in the conference room. Malavai had only one next of kin to notify in the case of his death and that man would know before word reached him of his progeny’s demise. Damn the Sith. Damn the Emperor. Damn the Wrath. Damn Quinn. Damn them all.