Three – Cleaning House
Kaas City, Dromund Kaas
Killing Darth Baras had been one of the most satisfying moments of A’tro’s life. After everything that she had endured leading up to that point, dealing the deathblow was nothing if not cathartic.
Unfortunately, although Baras was dead, she was far from rid of him. As per Sith tradition, she had ‘inherited’ all of his possessions. Now that she was back on Dromund Kaas, she would have to go through it all. She had delegated the more irksome tasks to Vette and Jaesa, but some things she wanted to handle herself.
Exploration of Baras’ chambers had revealed several hidden rooms. It was in one of these that A’tro stood, examining the computer terminal in front of her. The monitor presently displayed an archive of all of Baras’ communications from 11 ATC, the year of his death. A feeling of unease was building in the back of her mind as she looked.
She scrolled down through the list, ignoring every instinct telling her not to do it. There it was—a call made to the Alecto’s holofrequency. And the date…
Don’t do this to yourself, she thought. You’ll only regret it. You don’t need to know the details.
A’tro looked around. The room was empty; Vette and Jaesa were elsewhere. She took a deep breath and played the record of the call.
The computer’s holoterminal flared to life, displaying the familiar images of Darth Baras and Malavai Quinn.
Quinn spoke first. “Lord Baras,” he said, bowing deeply. “To what do I owe the honor?”
“Your report of Lord A’tro’s activities on Voss has disturbed me, Captain,” Baras responded. “Are you aware of what her next move will be?”
“She has not yet reported to the Emperor’s Hand, my lord, but she has mentioned Corellia. I believe that will be our next destination.”
A’tro swallowed hard.
“She seeks to protect Vowrawn from my wrath, no doubt. She cannot hope to move against me openly without his support.”
“I believe that is her plan, my lord,” Quinn agreed.
“They cannot be permitted to join forces,” Baras said grimly. “I have plans in motion to eliminate Vowrawn, but my former apprentice cannot be allowed to interfere. I have a task for you, Quinn.”
A’tro’s hands clenched into fists.
Quinn stood slightly straighter. “I am yours to command, Lord Baras.”
“If A’tro reaches Corellia, it will mean the downfall of my plans there. She must not live to set foot on that planet’s surface. You—“ Baras pointed at Quinn, “—will see to it.”
“I understand, my lord,” Quinn said softly.
Baras leaned forward. “I trust dealing with this matter will not cause you any difficulty, Captain?”
Quinn hesitated for the slightest fraction of an instant. Then his expression turned stony. “No, Lord Baras,” he said in a voice as cold as space. “No difficulty whatsoever.”
Baras’ reply was cut off as A’tro reached forward and stopped the playback. She stepped away from the terminal, feeling dazed.
“I should have killed him,” she said in a low voice. “But I didn’t. Why?”
“I’m not even going to pretend I know the answer to that.”
A’tro whirled around. Vette was standing in the doorway, arms folded across her chest.
“I take it you saw,” A’tro said after a moment of silence.
“Yeah, I saw.” Vette stepped inside the room. “I guess that explains why you were in such a bad mood on Corellia.”
A’tro said nothing.
Vette looked over at the holoterminal where the images of Quinn and Baras stood frozen. “So, he was secretly working for Baras the entire time?”
Vette shook her head. “Wow. I think my opinion of Quinn just hit an all-time low, and that’s saying something.”
“You cannot mention this to anyone,” A’tro told her, trying to keep her voice steady.
“I guess I can do that,” Vette said slowly. “But what about him?” She gestured towards the holo display. “Because there are a few things that I’d like to say to that worthless piece of—“
“No,” A’tro snapped. “Stay out of this, Vette. I mean it.”
Vette held up her hands in a placating gesture. “Okay, okay. No need to get angry at me.”
“If you had enough self-control to not eavesdrop, I would have no reason to be angry.”
“You left the door open,” Vette pointed out innocently.
A’tro sighed. “Just—just leave, please. I have things to do.”
“Far be it from me to disturb your agonizing,” Vette muttered. She gave A’tro an earnest look. “But seriously, you’d probably feel better if you talked about it—“
“I’m fine,” A’tro insisted.
No, you’re not, the small voice of truth at the back of her mind whispered. As always, she ignored it.
Vette shrugged. “Whatever you say.”