The Alternate Universe Weekly Challenge Thread
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11.02.2012 , 02:55 PM |
Late late for
JK Quesh spoilers. 3k words or so.
Scourge did not feel emotions the way a normal man could. They were cold, distant, and only ever anger, disgust, or contempt. He felt no pleasure or affection, given or received, the closest he had found since his transformation to immortality was mild amusement. A woman slept in his arms every night, a situation he found mildly amusing.
He woke her from her nightmares, often before they had properly begun. When he was too late he held her, drinking in her terror until it subsided. It was almost a fair exchange. Looking down at his sleeping charge, he could make out the thin scar that marred her cheek, he raged at how near it had been and silently cursed her for risking everything for a worthless man, a man who abandoned her for another without apology. Anger, disgust, and contempt he felt those frequently for her unwillingness to let go of childish connections, but he hid those thoughts lest she sense them and run away.
She had not run since their success on Balmorra and he wondered now if her newfound loyalty was gratitude for keeping his promise or because she had no one else. Mild amusement, she provided it in plenty. He would be pleased, if he could feel such a thing, she proved her power in the final moments of their most recent battle, he could see now that her full connection to the dark side required an intensity of emotions she was not normally capable of. He wondered how powerful she would be using the light side of the Force, he dismissed the thought as irrelevant, she was not the Jedi of his vision, but perhaps she could still save the galaxy given the proper motivation. It was still hope, if less than before, it was all that he had.
She shuddered in his arms, whimpering in her sleep, another nightmare. He drew her closer, stroking her arms and back, remembering a time when offering comfort to a woman would have greater meaning to him. Her eyes fluttered open and met his.
“The dream again?” He asked.
“No, not that dream.” She whispered and went silent, tears leaking out of her eyes. He thought she would fall asleep again but after a time she spoke. “He faced me.”
There was no question of whom she referred to. “And what does that tell you?”
“He was protecting her not me.” The tears still fell on his arm, they both ignored them.
The last of the Republic soldiers slumped over unconscious. Too late they realized that the Imperials found a way to pump knockout gas into the building. Only the Jedi could resist the toxin long enough to don masks.
They watched the monitors as a pair of figures approached the entrance. A pureblood Sith wearing a mask against the poisonous atmosphere and a small woman clad entirely in mercenary armor. Kira knew the lead figure and guessed the second, the Sith that helped retake Balmorra and his apprentice. She glanced at the Jedi Sajar, he was pale behind his breather, his hands shook as he struggled to control his emotions, and he radiated shame. Kira motioned for him to stay out of sight. They watched grimly as his executioner advanced.
“Traditionally a Sith will choose his armor to strike fear in his opponent.” Scourge remarked casting a sidelong glance at his apprentice.
“I think you’re scary enough for both of us.”
“You cannot hide behind me forever if you are to aid me.”
“Are you saying this greater enemy will fear a fifty kilo woman in a black bathrobe and a feather mask?”
“He will not, but we face more than just him. A Sith, no matter the size is always to be feared. A small mercenary is not.”
“You don’t recognize the value of being underestimated,” she considered his size and the predatory grace with which he moved, everything about him spoke of menacing power. “Then again, I doubt you’ve ever experienced it. Besides I can get power from making my enemy angry.” Her voice changed and despite her helmet he knew she smiled. “I seem to be good at that.”
“Anger will also help your opponent,” he replied, correcting her assumption. “Fear weakens your enemy while giving you strength. You gain a greater advantage by inspiring fear than being underestimated.”
She snorted, “Tell that to the Darth I killed with berries and a steak knife.”
“You were fortunate I recognized you from my vision. I could have stopped you had I wished.”
He had seen her in a Force-vision, she learned that much from his conversation with the Jedi, but he refused to elaborate. She did not bother askingnow, instead she teased him, “Aww, soft spot for Lachris?”
“Hardly.” He learned to ignore her teasing.
“That figured into my calculation as well. A Sith wouldn’t move to protect her unless you had something to gain, you’d probably let me kill her then kill me and take the credit or whatever it is you people do.”
“You would throw your life away for a single worthless target? That is hardly a sound strategy.”
“She wasn’t worthless to the resistance, and tell me my odds against your foe is better than my odds against Lachris.”
He could not answer that, he did not know what would happen to her, especially now.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
He looked at his young companion with something bordering on humor. He was often surprised to find their conversations no longer irritated him. Now that she had stopped running away he found she was more disciplined than her flippant demeanor would suggest. She studied and trained with all the dedication he could have asked. Her views and observations of Sith life were interesting and oddly insightful when she chose to share them, like the perspective of an insect or a small creature. Someone who could not see the greater picture yet maintained the uncanny ability to survive.
He would have said more but they were almost at the entrance to the building, they could see that most of the soldiers had fallen where they stood. The Jedi Knight, Kira, approached the shield that spanned the entryway.
“I knew you weren’t one of the good guys.” She said fixing him with a cold glare.
He stood comfortably with his hands behind his back. “I have come for the Dark Council traitor. Turn him over and no one else will be harmed.”
“I won’t let you have him.”
“I smell his weakness. He will die by his own hand given the chance.”
“Well why don’t you stand there and wait for it. Meanwhile the Republic is sending reinforcements. Even asleep we can wait you out.”
Scourge sensed Coremi step back and activate her stealth generator.
“I guess your apprentice is smart enough not to wait with you.” Kira taunted, “It’s a shame, with the right training she could have been a halfway decent Jedi.”
“A waste, as Sith she can fulfill her destiny.”
“Being Sith is a waste.” Kira snapped, “I know who you are, Wrath. Do you really believe she has a destiny in the Empire or that she can be anything but pawn to your master?”
“You would be surprised at what I believe.”
A whisper of sound and a familiar presence marked Coremi’s return. A cloud of green vapor began filling the building. The unconscious soldiers closest to the vent began to choke.
“This time the gas will kill them.” He raised a brow, “Is one man’s life worth so many?”
“No.” Sajar said striding forward. He tapped the console dropping the shield. The gas began to disperse and the Imperials stopped venting it into the building. “Will you kill me here or take me in?” Scourge drew his saber at the former Dark Council member’s approach, but he heard the resignation in the man’s voice.
“My instructions were only to kill you if you resisted. My master would rather speak to you himself.” He smiled darkly as he felt the man’s despair intensify.
Sajar glanced over his shoulder at the young Jedi who tried to help him, “There is no death, there is the Force.” He quoted, “Tell Master Braga that I’m sorry.” He unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and offered it to Scourge. The Sith motioned for the soldiers waiting in the distance to come forward to take Sajar into custody. No one noticed a Republic trooper regaining consciousness. Confused and sick, he only saw the Jedi surrendering and Imperials approaching. He panicked and opened fire.
Scourge stepped back easily avoiding the wild shots, a few of which found their way out of the building. The approaching Imperials saw the oncoming blaster bolts and returned fire. Forced to fight, Sajar engaged Scourge while Kira defended the entrance.
Kira leaped at the small line of approaching soldiers, expecting to land near the lead and cut him down, instead, she found herself swatted to the side by a wall of air. She rolled as the Imperials fired on her and deflected their shots at the invisible presence she sensed. She focused a blast of power in a wide cone hoping to disrupt her foe’s stealth field.
Coremi had been expecting such a move, she noticed both Sith and Jedi seemed to require a good deal of arm waving to focus their powers. It was an easy tell and she leaped high above the blast area. She drew her saber at the last moment becoming visible behind the Jedi and sliced through her personal shield generator.
Sparks flew from the small device with the added benefit of shocking the wearer. She did not waste time laughing as the Jedi shrieked and rid herself of the malfunctioning gear, much as she wanted to. The girl was not stronger in the Force but she was far more experienced and better trained.
Coremi felt the anger rising in the other Jedi, there had been unspoken animosity between them while they worked together on Balmorra, as a Jedi it was understandable that she did not like Sith, but this woman hated them, something Jedi were not supposed to do.
“I’m glad to see you two are still together,” Kira said sarcastically as she flipped over a sweeping kick only to be force pushed against a wall.
Coremi snickered, “Glad to see Doc still likes redheads.”
“Jealous?” the Jedi asked spinning toward her with a flurry of attacks.
“Ew, no. He dated my mom.” She timed that revelation to surprise the Jedi and followed it with a kick. Kira had been expecting an attack of that sort and feigned losing her balance, as the Sith pressed her advantage she whipped her doublesided lightsaber around, a killing strike. She felt triumph but also guilt. In another life, she thought, they might have been friends.
Doc lay behind a terminal where he had been trying to revive one of the first soldiers to succumb to the knockout gas. He shook his head and regretted it instantly. He forced himself to a crouching position behind the terminal, he could hear fighting all around him. He took a risk and peeked toward the entrance. He saw Kira fighting a mercenary with a lightsaber. In the distance the Sith from Balmorra fought with the Jedi they were sent to help save.
They fought, evenly matched, he did not know whom he wanted to win. Ever since abandoning her on Bamorra, twice now, he was consumed with guilt. He wished he could take it back, and help her, but the Jedi insisted she was Sith now and his feelings for Kira were real, what was more, he knew she returned them. His watched, torn and still confused from the poisons. Kira stumbled backward, she was vulnerable. Doc ran between the two fighters, hoping his old friend would pause long enough to be talked down or disabled. He trusted that Kira would not attack once Coremi stopped fighting.
Coremi saw the Jedi’s next attack whipping toward her, she smiled at the girl’s deception, in another life they could have been friends. She prepared to parry the blow when Doc stumbled between them. He held his hands up to her, his eyes pleaded for her to stop. Unable to reverse her current strike she deactivated her blade, twisting desperately to avoid the strike that was meant to kill her. One side of Kira’s saber cut through the front part of her helm, grazing her face, the other side went straight through Doc.
He glanced over his shoulder at the surprised Jedi, “Hey beautiful,” he mumbled as he fell.
Coremi yanked off her helm and went to her knees beside the doctor. “Doc?” she cried ignoring the burn that scorched her cheek. She ripped open his shirt to get at the wound, the Jedi’s saber had burned a massive hole in his gut, he was already dead when he hit the floor. She bandaged him anyway not knowing what else to do, hardly noticing the lightsaber aimed at her neck.
“Surrender.” The Jedi demanded as tears slipped down her cheeks.
Scourge was enjoying this fight. The battle had whittled away the façade of calm Sajar built at the behest of his Jedi masters. Now it crumbled revealing the dark power that gave him a seat on the Council. Unlike most Jedi, Sajar did not bother trying to convince him to change his ways, they fought in grim silence, the power of the dark side swirled around them. A surge of despair from the Jedi distracted the former Sith, it was his last mistake.
Sajar fell, his head neatly severed. Scourge turned thinking the Jedi’s despair meant his apprentice had prevailed, but instead she knelt unarmed before the Jedi. He cursed as the Imperial forces faced an increasing number of Republic troops slowly waking from their poison induced slumber. They would all die but he hated the messiness of Force-blind combat.
He studied his apprentice from a distance. She faced the Jedi, ignoring the soldiers Imperial and Republic alike. A mirthless smile crossed his lips as he felt her anger rising, he wondered how the Jedi was able to stand her ground in the face of it or perhaps she too grief stricken to notice.
Kira blinked back tears watching the girl attempt to help the doctor. His empty stare was still aimed in her direction, he tried to save her, and worse still she was the one who killed him. The Sith before her risked herself to avoid hurting him. It infuriated her, she hated this girl who was supposed to be special, whom her master allowed to go free because his instincts and the lying Sith’s vision. She was still armed, she had her duty, and she demanded the apprentice surrender. She met the girl’s eyes and realized her mistake.
A wave of force blasted from Coremi in every direction, it sent soldiers flying and damaged the building entrance, but the brunt of it was focused on the Jedi. Kira was lifted off her feet high into the air and hurled to the concrete floor. She landed with a sickening crunch and did not move, but Coremi was not finished, she grabbed parts of the damaged building and buried the girl, trying to break every bone in her body, to crush her very essence until nothing marked her existence but a smear.
Scourge traced the scar on her cheek, she flinched though not from pain. “You took a grave risk trying not to kill him, I almost lost you.”
She searched his face trying to understand him. “What is it that you face that forces you to put up with me?”
“What do you dream of?” he replied.
Back and forth, always the same questions but this time she chose to interpret it differently. “A time when the war is over and I can stop fighting.”
He understood her desire, she had never known anything but war, she could not know that life without it was no easier, not for people like them. “The war is not close to ending and we are living weapons, any other pursuit would be a waste.” Her body tensed briefly and she fell silent again.
“You are planning to run again.” He let his irritation show.
She frowned equally irritated. “Well what’s your plan? Keep me in the dark then shove me in a room with your enemy and hope your vision takes care of everything? What about after? If I can kill someone that you can’t, won’t you kill me because that’s what Sith do? Or will you keep me as your weapon and point me at your next target? Just,” She sighed frustrated, “just, give me a reason not to run.”
He frowned at her avalanche of words but she was not wrong. If they were to succeed she would need to prepare herself beyond what he could do for her. It was time that she discovered her destiny, he composed his thoughts to tell her the entire story, only then would she truly understand.
The com beeped.
He rose and went to the next room to answer it. The Emperor’s image appeared.
“Lord Scourge.” He intoned, “I have need of you, come to me.”
“Yes, master.” Scourge bowed.
“Bring your apprentice.” He commanded, “Your first in three hundred years, she must be quite special, I wish to see this woman for myself.” The transmission cut off leaving Scourge staring at the empty holoprojector. He looked up at a small sound, Coremi leaned against the doorway to his bedroom.
“So, I get to meet the boss.” She made a face, “Something tells me I shouldn’t be honored.”
She walked to where he stood, and narrowed her eyes. “You still haven’t given me a reason to stay.” In his long life he had never met someone more stubborn, but she was not adept at hiding her thoughts or emotions, and if the Emperor suspected she was an assassin, he would kill them both or worse. He could not tell her the reason.
He kissed her instead.
This thing just didn't want to come together :/ Also, dead people!
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