The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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09.21.2012 , 07:32 PM |
Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Thanks again Kabe for chugging through this and keeping me on track. And thanks to Earthmama and bright_ephemera for helping get a hold of Pierce's character, both for last scene and extending into this one.
The hangar was scarily empty. Even the loading droids made a wide berth around the ship Pierce was leading her to. Everything seemed to be holding its collective breath, like too much movement would set off a tsunami of horribleness that no one would survive.
Maybe her imagination was running away with her.
She knew that wasn't the case when Pierce grabbed her arm at the bottom of the ship's ramp and made her stop. “Right then. You should know before walking in there that Lord Vikis is the Emperor's Wrath,” he began.
Brei'yu's mouth fell open and he shoved a finger in her face before she could freak out on him.
“BUT, he's a half way reasonable man. Half way. Just let me do the talking, right?” He kept her standing at the bottom of the ramp watching her stare up at the door, calculating. “Having second thoughts, yeah?”
Brei'yu shut her face down and Pierce laughed. It wasn't cruel or mocking, Brei'yu sensed that he knew how embarrassed she was at being so easily read.
“Where ever my lord is, his sister is never far behind. We'll just...” he paused, seeing a figure open the door and start down the ramp towards them. “Our presence is already known. Just let me talk.” He straightened and turned to the woman sashaying to them. “Jaesa,” he greeted when she stopped before them.
“Pierce.” She turned her attention on Brei'yu, her orangey-red eyes interested and disquieting. “What is this?”
Despite her fear of Sith, and her fear of discovery, Brei'yu still had her pride. She'd killed Sith bigger than this Jaesa woman with bare hands. She didn't like being referred to as an object.
Jaesa seemed to sense this shift in emotion and smiled prettily. “Your friend, Pierce. Who is she?”
“Jaesa Willsaam, this is Brei'yu Kodrevas, formerly of Imperial Intelligence. Brei'yu, this is Lord Vikis's apprentice, Jaesa.”
While Jaesa made a strange delighted sound that Brei didn't trust, she glanced up at Pierce. So he had figured it out. Not much matter, except she wasn't sure if she was dead or alive in Intelligence databanks. Maybe she'd get to find out.
“Little lost herdling,” Jaesa said quietly while staring at Brei'yu. Brei felt rather exposed beneath her gaze. “You just want this to be all better, don't you?”
Brei'yu's brows knitted together in confusion. Could this Sith read minds? That was a terrifying thought. Jaesa tossed her hair in a way that told Brei'yu she was the alpha female around here, or at least believed herself to be. But what caught her attention were the sparkling studs fixed to her ears that glinted in the light.
“Those are lovely earrings,” Brei'yu said cautiously.
Jaesa put her hand to her ear as though to remind herself what she was wearing. “Well, thank you. A gift from my Master.”
“You must be someone special. Tangdor gems, correct? They shine like blood and are very rare. My sister had a pair once, when we were very young. I only remember because they were gifted by a suitor when she was only twelve.”
“Tangdor gems are often a gift between lovers,” Jaesa smiled unpleasantly.
Pierce wasn't really following the conversation. “Lord Vikis, he's in then?”
“Oh yes. He awaits you on the bridge. You and your... friend.” Jaesa turned to go back up the ramp. “Come along.”
Pierce followed Jaesa, taking Brei'yu's hand when she hesitated. Stepping into the ship was like being eaten by a giant metal mouth. The inside was all red light and shadow, unforgiving gunmetal gray and power. There was a sibilant sound she couldn't immediately place. Brei'yu fought hard to still the fear. Too much was like heady perfume to Sith. A little was respectful. She needed to be respectful right now. That gave her a better chance at getting out alive.
Her senses were in overdrive. Her eyes darted about her, searching corners, hallways. The woman before her seemed to enjoy it. Pierce kept her close to his side, probably trying to be a soothing presence. All she could think was that he was holding onto her shooting arm.
“Take a breath or you'll go into a cardiac arrest,” Pierce rumbled.
“What did I let you talk me into?” she hissed.
“I talked my way into your bed. You agreed to this with surprisingly little discussion.”
Jaesa lead them to the bridge without a word. Brei'yu nearly balked at all the people waiting there for them. Pierce blocked her exit.
A stiff, severe looking man stood by a computer console, his body in parade rest but managing to look rigid and unforgiving at the same time. His hair was black and swept away from his face, his blue eyes cold and dispassionate on her. Beside him, just within his personal space, which Brei'yu read as intimacy, a woman sat on the console, her arms loosely crossed and her expression open and almost friendly. She was lovely with golden irises and auburn hair pulled back in a twisted bun. Her face was familiar in some way and Brei'yu looked at her more closely. The woman smiled then looked off to the left.
Brei'yu's head turned to size up the new problem but her breath froze in her throat. Her mouth dropped open as the man came forward. Aphotic power and energy exuded from him like a nearly visible aura. The Emperor's Wrath was impressive. She also knew his face.
“Adris?” she whispered.
The man stopped and his expression changed from cold disinterest to mild surprise. Brei'yu shook herself. This wasn't Adris. The man's face was harsher, none of the easy laughter that Adris never could seem to shake. His cybernetics were black durasteel alloy and his right eye was completely gone, replaced by unfeeling machine. “No, I apologize. Lord Vol'vikis.” She bowed deep at the waist. “I didn't realize you would look so much like...”
“Like my twin,” he finished.
Brei'yu wet her dry lips and nodded.
“I'm curious. How is it that you know Adris?” Vikis asked.
Brei'yu relaxed marginally. He did indeed sound curious. “Adris and I were in Intelligence together. We met on Alderaan, many years ago.”
“You!” the woman sitting on the console said suddenly. “You're...” she pointed at Brei, snapped her fingers a couple times, her mouth set in a firm line as she thought. “Bree... Bra. Uh, Brei. You. Brei'yu! Something. Adris talked about you a lot.”
“That's it. Where are my manners?” the woman asked. “I'm Ellivian Westan. Adris is my older brother.”
“I...” Brei'yu was slightly thrown. She wasn't expecting to run into Adris' family on her search for him.
Ellivian cocked her head with some sympathy. “Pierce? Was this your idea?”
“She's got some problems. Mentioned the Westan name, thought you might be able to help, my lord,” Pierce said with a shrug.
“What kind of problems?” Ellivian asked before her brother could.
Pierce looked at Brei'yu. It was up to her to explain what she could. “I've lost the last 48 standard hours,” she said. “I just don't recall them. And what I've woken up to is wrong. Adris had me on his crew temporarily for a job. That's where I should be. But I'm not and I can't reach him.”
“Adris was never easy to get a hold of,” Ellivian said with understanding.
“I would like to know more about these lost 48 hours,” Vikis said.
“So do I,” Brei'yu answered. She told them all she dared, up to what she last remembered and where she was. She mentioned having no memory of meeting Pierce, or having gone to Nar Shaddaa.
“Could this be Intelligence programming?” Ellivian asked when she was done. Brei'yu opened her mouth to answer but realized the Sith wasn't talking to her. She was speaking to the silent, severe man beside her.
“I am unaware of any official memory programming, my lord,” the man answered. He didn't seem happy about it.
“Doesn't mean it's not in existence,” Ellivian said.
“There may be a way to find out. If she would submit to medical testing.”
Brei'yu didn't like the word submit or the way the man said it in his adenoidal tone. She looked up at Pierce and wondered why she had put so much trust in the man. But she didn't seem to have any choice. She felt like she was being pushed along a river, staying upright but not so much in control.
Ellivian pushed off the console and walked to Brei'yu, her smile comforting. “Why don't you let Malavai run some tests while I try and find Adris? With any luck, we can knock this mystery out with one go.”
Pierce glowered. Ellivian put a hand on his arm. “All discretion, Malavai won't breathe a word of this to anyone. Will you, Malavai?” She turned sweet eyes on him, but Brei'yu saw the steel beneath the gaze.
The man called Malavai regarded Ellivian with something Brei'yu read as terrified desire for a short moment before his expression smoothed out. That was weird, she had probably misread him in her nervousness. He looked at Brei'yu and his expression changed to one of cool disinterest. “Your secret shall be safe with me.”
“Wonderful. Pierce, why don't you go with them?”
“Was planning on it,” Pierce answered. His glower was all for Malavai. “I'll be watching you, Quinn.”
Quinn barely suppressed rolling his eyes. “When are you not, exactly?”
<to be continued>
Be to her Virtues
Be to her Faults
a little Blind.