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08.17.2012 , 09:07 AM |
I have a feeling that "What if?" is going to keep me going all week.
Sith Warrior Act 3 spoilers.
Vette dreamed she was a slave again.
Her collar weighed on her as she drifted up from the total black. She opened her eyes. She was still on the Fury, where she had been living with Ruth for the better part of a year.
Oddly, she was in the cargo hold.
Her eyes adjusted, slowly, to the trace amounts of light. There were people around her: an enormous pale form that must be Broonmark, an only slightly smaller shape that could be Lieutenant Pierce, something huddled in the corner that Vette supposed might be Captain Quinn. And, only a few feet away, Jaesa was sitting up, looking at Vette. She, too, was collared.
"You okay?" asked Jaesa.
"Uh, sure. Headache. Some kinda painful spots."
"Lightsabers will do that. He patched up our worst injuries, though."
Jaesa shuddered. "Lord Draahg."
Memory slammed back: pounding on the door, a commotion at the airlock seal at an orbital station. "Oh, God. Ruth?"
Jaesa's voice closed to almost nothing but breath. "He killed her."
"We've got a brilliant escape plan. Right?"
"I've got some small hope that everybody else in the room is alive. Maybe. That's all the good news I have."
Vette looked around again. "I don't suppose there's a way we can trade Broonmark or somebody for a brilliant escape plan?"
"I'm not sure anybody would take that bargain."
Vette's wrists were bound in front of her with only a few inches' slack. She awkwardly crawled to Broonmark's side. The Talz was out cold, his breathing shallow. "He looks bad."
"There's not much we can do about it for now," said Jaesa, who herself was crawling over to check on Pierce. "Lieutenant?"
"Draahg," rumbled Pierce. He sat up abruptly, shook his head hard, grimacing at the feel of his slave collar. "Where is he? Where are we? How did he even know Ruth was alive after Quesh? How did he track us down? I'll wring his rotten Sith neck."
"We don't have any answers yet," Jaesa said softly.
Pierce scanned the cargo hold. "So did he take her prisoner, too? She was still fighting when he knocked me out."
Jaesa shook her head. "He killed her. He ran her through."
"Dammit!" His bellow shook the walls, sent a wave of pain through Vette's throbbing head. "I'll kill him. And I'll bring the bloody Citadel down around his master's ears."
Vette edged over to the collared person curled up in the corner, who was, in fact, Quinn.
His eyes opened as if he had been awake all along.
"She's dead," he said in a soft strange dead tone. "Isn't she."
"That's an interesting first thought to have, given everything else that's going on here."
"It wasn't my first thought. I just processed a lot before I hit upon something worth asking about." He sat up and wheezed something that might have been intended as a laugh. "She's dead. It's almost a relief, in some ways."
The cargo hold door slid open, letting in blinding white light around the silhouette of a big man in Sith robes. "Good to see you're all awake," said Lord Draahg. "Except our Talz friend?"
"He's badly hurt," said Jaesa. "You nearly bashed his skull in."
"A pity. He would have been useful. Well, the rest of you, come along."
He lined them up in the holo room: Quinn, Vette, Jaesa, Pierce.
"Welcome," Draahg said cheerfully, "to your new lives of service."
"Piss off," said Pierce, and spat.
"Is that any way to talk to your new master?"
"None of us are gonna serve you," said Vette.
"I think you'll find it preferable to the alternative, Twi'lek." Draahg produced a larger-than-usual collar control and shocked Vette, watching with a small smile until she doubled over and let a groan of pain escape. Then he let up.
She glared up at him. "You won't get away with this."
"Oh? Who will stop me? Your master is dead. Her father is dead. Her only allies in this galaxy are you. And what allies you are." He looked up and down the line, smiling broadly. "Baras never told me which one of you was reporting in. I have one obvious candidate, but Baras's people have surprised me before."
Quinn inclined his head. "I brought you this far."
Draahg's smile widened. "And a fine job you did of that, lover-boy."
Pierce spent a few seconds struggling to break his bonds; failing that, he lunged bodily at the captain. "You worthless-"
Draahg pressed another control button. The slave collar didn't just lick Pierce with electrical arcs; it flared brilliantly and dropped the man in half a second flat. The room filled with the smell of ozone.
"I had this one custom made," said Draahg. "We all know the 'discomfort' and 'inconvenience' settings would be pointless for the likes of you."
Pierce stayed on the floor, a few muscles twitching weakly.
"Now, then," said Quinn, too calmly. He held his head high. "I have served. You would never have gotten close enough to strike without the information I gave you."
"And my master and I are grateful," said Draahg. "You were useful. Maybe if you behave you'll live to serve us again."
"And the collar?"
Draahg's smile fell away for a second. "The collar stays on, worm."
"If wishes come true," added Vette, "it'll be on for the rest of your life, and that'll end less'n five minutes from now."
"Am I going to have to separate you two?" mocked Draahg .
"Yes. Yes, please do," said Vette.
Pierce struggled to his feet and rolled his shoulders, staring daggers at the Sith.
"You three will most likely be put on menial labor." Draahg took a step toward Jaesa. "You, however...my master would be glad to have your specialized skills on our side."
"It won't happen," Jaesa said, her voice surprisingly steady.
"We won't be risking you in combat. You need only utilize your insight skills when commanded."
"Whatever Baras would use that for, I won't help."
Draahg pressed the shock control for her collar. She actually drew herself straighter, going rigid, and didn't allow a cry to escape her lips. "I will not help you," she said, as steadily as she could with the electricity pulsing through her.
"Oh, discipline for you will be difficult, won't it?" Draahg smiled slyly. "Let's try again. Agree to serve, or I shall punish Vette."
His thumb slid from one button to another. Jaesa's collar went dormant, and suddenly Vette's crackled to life. The Twi'lek squeaked and tried to stay calm and still; it didn't work.
"No! No, stop," cried Jaesa, "stop it!"
"Promise to serve my master."
Jaesa looked down and away. "I will serve," she said quietly.
He walked up to her and ran one hand over her hair, then cupped her chin. "It doesn't have to be all bad," he said softly. Jaesa's face twisted in revulsion.
And just then Pierce lunged again. His bound hands could separate enough to get a grip on Quinn's head; he twisted and a muffled crack sounded before Draahg could get his finger on the remote button to shock Pierce again. Both officers fell; the difference was, Pierce would be able to get up again.
But he was grinning, more or less, where he lay. "Shoulda done that...a long time ago. 'f I had...she'd be around...to hunt you down 'n' kick your arse."
"A charming what-if scenario," said Draahg, "but tragically for you - and for her - it didn't happen that way." The Sith nudged Lieutenant Pierce with his foot. "Up, now. Back to the cargo hold with you all. We'll talk again when we reach Dromund Kaas."
If Draahg had won? He would still be pretty. My first reaction to that thought was "Totally worth it, then."
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