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08.30.2012 , 09:42 PM |
Worst Day Ever
is the first part of the story.
is the second half. Brei'yu's story co starring Adris Westan. Spoilers for IA story, a chapter 2 reveal, and chapter 3 ending.
“You have to run. You have to move now.” His face was as white as the snow on the mountains outside the window. The slivers of silvery cybernetics stood out on his cheeks in stark contrast to his skin somehow. She was just about to comment on it, make a joke or a little dig at his devastatingly good looks but it was the wild fear in his eyes that stopped her.
“Adris? What's going on?” she asked, trying to smile at him.
He stuffed credits into her hands, bending down to pluck them off the floor and shove them in her pockets when she didn't move fast enough. “Keeper's broken your cover. Organa knows you're an Imperial spy. You have to go now. The whole place is going to be looking for you.”
Brei'yu froze as she felt her skin go cold. “Keeper wouldn't break my cover,” she said numbly even as Westan crammed more credits down her shirt while at the same time hustling her toward the door.
“He's covering for Mem'tah. Do you hear me? He's sacrificing you to keep Mem'tah under.”
“Why?” she whimpered. “Why would he do this?”
“Mem'tah was the one who assassinated Verluc Organa and was messy about it. Keeper doesn't want him surfaced. So Keeper had Nulna tell them it was you.” Westan yanked her down a hall, his eyes raking over shadows and his head moving from side to side as he checked to make sure they were alone.
Brei'yu shook her head over and over. “Keeper wouldn't. Keeper wouldn't do this. This has to be a mistake.”
“Brei. You're the newest agent on this op. You were the easiest one to offer up. Keeper loses almost nothing by letting you go. Its the cleanest cover up he's going to get without withdrawing all of us.”
Brei'yu stopped and yanked her hand from his. “Why are you helping me? Why should I trust you?” she demanded breathlessly. It broke her heart to see the hurt on his face.
He cupped her cheeks in his hands, tilting her chin up. She'd always loved how much taller he was than her. He kissed her hard and deep because this was going to be the last time he would see her. She clutched his wrists as the first tears escaped her eyes. “Listen to me,” Westan whispered against her mouth. “You have to get to House Cortess by six. There's a shuttle leaving and I've gotten you passage on board. It's going to Korriban.”
“I know. Just use this money to get off that world to the first place you'll be safe, okay? It was the best I could do.”
“Shh. Don't. Okay? Just don't. Don't talk to anyone, keep your head covered. Never show anyone what you can do. I have to figure out how to make it look like you're dead.” He took her hand and forced her to move again. They stumbled out of the house proper into a small courtyard. There was no one around that they could see.
Brei'yu let him drag her over the garden gate and waited while he sliced it open. “It's really not any better here is it?” she asked, staring at the horizon beyond the gate. “My sister was right. No trial, no justice. Just death.”
“You're not dying,” Westan insisted, unsure what she was taking about. “I have to stay here, join the search for you. I'll put them off as long as possible but you have to run. Go!”
Adris Westan was a smart man. But when it came to tracking down a woman like Brei'yu Kodrevas, he was forced to admit that she could be even smarter than he. She didn't want to be found. It was entirely possible that her life could be forfeit if she was. The Empire thought her dead thanks to him. If she resurfaced...
Somehow, Westan knew that someone, somewhere had knowledge of Brei'yu. He needed to find that person.
His first step was to send Temple and Vector out. He knew Raina was still leery around Vector, but he felt their investigations would be more salient if the Joiner accompanied the attractive human. After all, what kind of trouble could a human female and killik Joiner possibly stir up? Raina had no idea what she brought back every time she had information for him. For a long while he didn't know either. But slowly, slowly, with the help of Vector's impeccable logic, Westan began to see a pattern emerge. Sightings, dealings, an impossibly beautiful human female with rich brown hair and eyes like Voss oceans who flirted, questioned, backed up or killed a certain person here, smuggled secret cargo there, dropped out of existence here.
She no longer used the Kodrevas name. He couldn't find an instance where she used a surname at all. But she had kept her first name the same. Those simply formed letters that had nearly overwhelmed his entire world back then. Things were different now of course. But he let himself go back into those memories briefly, when an aqua eyed girl with a dangerous smile had held his heart captive for three torturous months. It should have been the job. But it hadn't been for either of them. Time had set the distance down, but the memories would be forever.
Finally, Raina had returned with a holo. Westan took it eagerly and fired it up, Vector and Raina standing close to observe. The moment the picture cleared he knew it was her. Her hair was longer, her body still lush and curved. Those eyes still observant, scarily so. But the set of her mouth was wrong. Hardness had conquered that girlish smile. Bitterness chased away the soft curve that would overtake the corners. Anger had settled into those dangerous blue green eyes.
acknowledging contact on channel 32-4b. You better make this quick, Ithlor because if the Pubs pick up my frequency because you decided to wax eloquent about your withering manhood, I'm going to hunt you down and kick your balls into your throat.”
The image changed to a human male with sunken eyes and lanky hair with a tic in his left eye. “All the way into my throat, Brei?”
“You'll have to swallow to put them back between your legs.” Brei'yu's image returned, her hands on her hips, her feet set in a fighting stance.
The man laughed unpleasantly. “What if I then asked you to check on them for me? You know. Just to make sure everything settled back into place correctly?”
“Ithlor, I wouldn't touch you with Malgus's hands. Do you have my meeting set up or do I have to carve out your tongue and shove it up your a*s?”
The male shuffled unhappily, glancing to the side with anger as someone jeered him for Brei'yu's stylistic rejection. “Your meet is tonight at the Sauntering Harlot Cantina. Go in alone, sit at the back booth three over from the mirrored woman and wait. He'll come to you.”
Brei'yu's form returned and Westan watched her eyes narrow dangerously. “If you screw me over, I will find you, Ithlor. I will slit your belly while you sleep and then strangle you with your own intestines. Am I clear?”
Ithlor whimpered. “Is there anyway you aren't planning on hurting me, Brei? I really am a nice guy.”
“Oh, Ithlor. You have no idea what I can do with three minutes and a vibroknife.” The connection was severed immediately.
“She's... charming,” Raina said after a moment.
Westan sighed, for the first time doubting his grand plan. “Brei'yu was ill handled by the Empire. She's spent the last seven years doing things like this to survive. She really was a charming woman back in the day. Many years ago she was... a cover that got out of hand. It was only a few months.” Westan flicked his gaze to Vector, who watched impassively. The Joiner had recalled much of the human experience over the couple years he had spent with Westan and his team, but there were things he still hadn't recalled, much less understood. “Well, I'll go set us up for a Nar Shaddaa run then.”
Even the jaunt through hyperspace wasn't fast enough. Brei'yu's meeting was going down in minutes and the Harlot was in a very far, very bad part of the district. Quick-footed, Westan set off for the scuzzy cantina with Raina and Vector close at heel. Kaliyo had taken off on her own business and Dr Lokin excused himself for not being needed. There was no way SCORPIO would be behaved enough to be taken out in a crowd. So that left Temple and Vector who would be at his back when he confronted his once lover and begged her to join his mission. Because it would come down to begging.
The Sauntering Harlot was filled to the brim with unsavory characters but Westan spotted Brei'yu immediately. Her deep brown hair fell in shining waves around her shoulders and her strong lovely face was drawn up in dangerous anger. Her breasts were hiked up and put on display and the cyborg male she sat with didn't make it a secret he was looking her over carefully. She kept her face set in haughty distaste as they spoke. When he handed her a data pad she reached a delicate hand into the bodice she wore and withdrew a small bag. He checked the contents, nodded in satisfaction and keyed in something to the pad that made her expression change to one of calculating interest. Finally, the cyborg sat back and gave her an obvious gesture of dismissal and she wasted no time in leaving the booth that was soon heavy with dancers.
She saw him right away. It made her stop in her tracks and stare at him, a look that he couldn't read crossing over her face. Finally she settled on suspicion but moved away through the crowd as though hoping his business wasn't with her. Since that wasn't the case, Westan immediately began shoving people aside to follow. He was forced to break out into a run as she disappeared into a hallway behind the bar.
“Brei'yu!” he called as he cleared the hallway. She was already halfway down, moving at a good clip but her name made her stop again. She hung her head as he walked up to her back. “Brei'yu, I...”
“What do you want, Adris?” she asked tiredly as she turned to face him.
“I need to speak with you,” he said.
“How did you even find me? I'm not exactly on the company payroll anymore.” She was talking to him, but she was looking around to make sure they weren't being watched.
“You made it difficult, Brei. I'm rather proud of that,” he smiled at her when she pinned him with a withering look. He looked over and tested the door to his right, realizing they were down the hall where the private action took place. “Please, just let me talk to you. Just for a moment.” The door slid open, revealing a surprisingly spacious room. Beri'yu sighed, looked over his shoulder at Raina and Vector and reached around to her lower back where Westan knew she kept her vibroknives secured.
He put his hand on her arm. “You won't need those. Please.”
She searched his face with those memorizing aqua eyes. For a moment he felt it again. That little jerk of need that had made him practically crawl into her arms and realize only what their cover said was real. But she broke eye contact with him to walk into the room that smelled strongly of spilled liquor, dirty sex and sweat.
“You don't have long. Talk,” she said. Her voice was cream and silk still, but the rich cultured Imperial accent she had worked so hard to prefect was just a wisp of memory floating about the words. Her accent was more generic now, harder to place and probably easy to get rid of when she wanted to hide exactly what side of the fence she played on.
When she looked again at Raina and Vector, Westan introduced them. “Brei'yu, this is Vector Hyllus, a... diplomat from Alderaan. And this is Ensign Raina Temple. They're part of my outfit. Which I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Me,” she stated, suspicion flowing through the single word.
“You probably don't know but I left Intelligence. Told Keeper to go take a long walk off a short cliff.” Even as he mentioned the Imperial's title he realized it was a mistake. Brei'yu's gorgeous features lit up in fury, her eyes became storms of contempt and betrayal. Westan took her shoulders in his hands and resisted the urge to draw her into him. “Not that Keeper. He got to be Minister of Intelligence. I think you would have liked the new Keeper.” It wasn't helping. Westan sighed and switched tactics. “I need you,” he said it fast, hoping to break through that mercurial rage. “I need what you can do.”
“No,” Brei'yu spat. “I don't work for the Empire, Keeper or any Cipher. Nor will I ever again.”
“I know things ended badly on your last operation...” He winced even as the words were out of his mouth. He deserved the murderous look she gave him.
? Keeper had my cover broken and then they left me to die, Adris. All because the Duke was murdered and had no male heirs.” Her face went ashen, making her stained lips stand out against her skin like a slash of blood. “They outed me as a spy to preserve their feigned innocence. Rooting me out took the attention of the Duke's more than wildly suspicious sudden death. My op became a sacrifice, Adris. They sacrificed
.” Her voice had risen to a level that he feared would be heard beyond the door. Her eyes were wild, betrayed and lost. She didn't cry, but Westan could sense it there, just below the surface.
“What Keeper did was wrong,” he said, wanting to soothe that hurt. Now he did draw her to him, more out of solidarity than anything else. “It was the wrong choice. I'm so sorry.”
“Do you have any idea what I had to do to survive? And you, forcing me into your debt. You made sure that I owed you my life. What do I have to do to repay that debt now, Adris?” Brei'yu pushed him away but he held on to her arms, not letting her put the distance she wanted to between them.
He tilted Brei'yu's face back to him, lifted her chin so she would look at him. “You won't work for the Empire. You will work for me. Please, Brei'yu.”
“That still doesn't tell me what I have to do.”
Westan glanced over his shoulder at Raina and Vector. He didn't think Brei'yu would appreciate it if he spilled her secret, even to these people he trusted. “That thing you can do,” he murmured, his mouth near her ear. Her eyes widened. “Trust me and all debt will be wiped clean. I'll pay you well.”
She looked up at him and he could see it in her face. She wanted to trust him, whether it was old feelings resurfacing or because she had been alone for far too long, she wanted to believe in him. “You f*ck me over, I will kill you, Adris.”
The threat was so serious, she didn't even dress it up with her usual sarcasm.
He hugged her tight. “Thank you.”
I've had this story simmering for a long time but oddly it was writing it out of order that really got it solidified in my head. It's not super clear but Brei was 16 when she defected, 20 when she was done with training and 22 when she met Adris and three months later her cover was broken. She's 29 now. Adris was pulled off the Alderaan op not long after Brei disappeared and was sent to Hutta. Brei'yu has been ping ponging around the galaxy doing work for whoever will pay her making her kind of a smuggler but her Intelligence training nets her more credits. I feel better now.
Be to her Virtues
Be to her Faults
a little Blind.