Force of Wills: The Ties that Bind
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11.27.2012 , 08:46 PM |
The Star Chamber Space Station
Shiloh walked the halls of her new home, becoming more familiar every day. The twists and turns of the space station becoming second nature, she moved like a ghost in the vast corridors, face grim, red eyes far away, grey streaked navy hair flowing loose behind her. When she reached the atrium she stopped at the top of the stairs at met the eyes of every person assembled before her. She knew their names, she knew their histories, misfits and idealists, runaways, warriors, ancient and new, some more trustworthy then others, but she felt confident that assembled in front of her where the new founding members of the Star Cabal. This rebirth was not without loss, already there had been casualties.
“Get him into the Kolto!” Doc hollered, “Kianna get one of Var Suthra’s ships on the holo, Rusk needs more then what we have here if he’s going to walk again.” Kianna nodded, adrenaline still pumping fast in her veins as she force leapt up the stairs and ran into the holo room, she opened a channel with the closest ship with an urgent distress signal.
“What is your status Invictus?” the call was answered almost immediately.
“Requesting emergency docking, we have casualties in need of your med bay.” The blue image flickered, explosions could be herd over the transmission, screaming, then the image cut out as the Imperial Navy mobilized and retaliated, decimating the remains of the Republic fleet still foolish enough to remain in proximity to Drummond Kaas. Kianna felt the loss of life on the ship she had just been connected to, a starburst of almost debilitating pain behind her eyes, she ground her teeth and ran to the cockpit, all the while she could swear she could still hear the Emperor’s mocking laughter. Scourge was already there, spinning up the Hyperdrive, before they were pulled into Hyperspace, another Republic destroyer broke in half in front of them. Once black was replaced with molten silver streaks Scourge stood and pulled her into his arms.
“We are victorious.” He said into her hair. She gripped him tighter, stifling a sob into his chest, the laughter threatening to split her head apart, feeding on the death of the two battle cruisers.
“No we’re not” was all she could whisper back to him, clutching him afraid if she let go she would be swept away.
Cohen washed the bile from his lips, the Bounty Hunter’s ship was dark, into its third hour of the night cycle, it was cold and eerily quiet, the engines hummed as they were hurled through Hyperspace. On his way back to his uncomfortable pallet he paused outside the med bay, afraid to look inside. Gault was on one of the beds, body covered with a long white sheet, he could hear Mako crying inside. He hurried past the door, into the cargo bay, Aric was sleeping sitting upright, back against the wall, one arm laid possessively over his sister who had sprawled out on the floor head resting on his lap, his other had was on his auto cannon. Cohen gave Aric a quick nod when his emerald eyes opened, almost glowing in the dark of the ship, he grunted and closed his eyes again, Mitka sighed and shifted while he navigated the mess of sleeping limbs that led back to his spot on the cold durasteel floor.
“Here, take this.” Aaron poked him with his canteen.
“Aaron, I can’t drink anymore…” Cohen started to push it away when Aaron dropped two small pills into his hand. “What’s this?”
“One’s anti-nausea, the other will help you sleep.” He pushed the canteen towards his bother again, who accepted it.
“It doesn't get easier does it?” Cohen asked after swallowing the pills.
“I’d be worried if it did.” Aaron replied taking back his water and drinking.
“Aaron…Listen…I’m sorry…” Cohen felt his older brother’s hand on his shoulder, felt a squeeze.
“You did good today.” Was his reply, Aaron was never able to hold a grudge, try as he might, Cohen wasn’t a soldier, but his courage had been real and he knew all too well how the deaths would haunt him for the rest of his days.
“Then why do I feel like bantha ****?”
“Because you’re a good man little brother. Don’t ever forget it again.” Aaron gave his brother’s shoulder one last slap then laid back down on his own pallet.
Instead of laying down Cohen gathered his thin blanket and made his way back to the Med Bay. The door slid open, low auxiliary lights cast a long shadow on the covered body. Mako had stopped crying, though her breathing was ragged and shaky.
“If you look at his face, it just looks like he’s sleeping. I keep thinking it’s that damn cloned body he had, and that he’ll walk in and start complaining about how we’re drinking all of his good wine. He was such a scheming bastard, but he was family ya know? He was my brother.” Mako’s voice hitched in her throat. Cohen saw her take a swig directly from one of the aforementioned wine bottles. She was sitting in a corner on the floor, her knees drawn up to her chin arms hugging herself. He wasn’t sure if she was shivering from the cold or from the tears, but he walked over to her and wrapped her in his blanket anyways. He sat beside her.
“I’ll look after him for a bit, you sleep Mako. It’s been a long day.” To his surprise Mako tucked and shifted until she was sitting between his legs and her small frame was leaning against his chest, her head on his shoulder. After a minute her breathing evened out, a minute later his eyes closed.
“Now is the time to walk away.” Was how Shiloh started, “A hard blow has been dealt, a step towards balance and peace, but it’s only a first step. If that’s the only step you want to take then I say farewell to you and know that the Galaxy is in your debt, the work ahead is not for the faint of heart.” She waited, the silence stretched Shiloh expected them all to turn, to escape the madness she was offering.
Oriah was the first to arrive to the lab, it was a rare thing not to have Lokin about. There was a very distinct change in the lab, she turned on the lights and the change became immediately apparent, the three kolto tanks were gone, replaced by three incubators. She crept towards them holding her breath, inside each one was a tiny baby, each no more than four pounds. One of the tiny infants began to cry, Oriah jumped then gasped at the high thin wail. The lab droid R8-31 flicked to life and did a quick scan of the incubator, a moment later it produced a warmed bottle.
“R8! I’ll do that.” She held her hand out for the bottle, doing her best to mask her shaking fingers.
“Basic care for the subjects has been designated to me young master, there is no need to interrupt your work.” It replied cheerfully.
Oriah grabbed the bottle, and quickly dabbed a few drops into her scanner, “It just looked like it might be too hot. I’ll do it R8, I don’t mind.” She replied with forced cheerfulness.
“As you wish master.” R8 returned to its position on the wall.
Oriah’s scanner came back as simple chemical free human infant formula, she sighed a relief surprised that there was nothing nefarious about the bottle. She walked towards the incubator marked C, it was the smallest of the triplets, her tiny lungs forcing out her tiny voice, defenseless, alone, Oriah was sure she had never felt human affection, Lokin having likely had the droids move the infants from tank to incubator.
“Shhhhh, it’s ok, I have your milk little one.” Oriah whispered, she reached her arms towards the child and wrapped her tightly in a warm blanket, the child stopped crying at Oriah’s touch. Careful not to disturb the oxygen tubing, she lifted the baby into her arms and guided the bottle into her greedy little mouth. “There you go. I’m Oriah by the way, Oriah Quinn. What’s your name? We can’t very well call you C your whole life.” The dark blue newborn eyes blinked up at her as she sucked on her bottle. “Do you like Corinne? I’ve always liked the name Corinne, and if you say it with a Naboo accent it just rolls right off the tongue.” The baby blinked at her listening intently. “I’ll take that as a yes then. Corinne, lovely to meet you.”
Oriah started pacing and gently rocking the feather light infant, “I promise he will not hurt you or your sisters. You’re not puppets, you’re perfect little people, and perfect little people need to live a life of their choosing.” She kissed the velvety soft forehead, the wispy thin hair tickled her nose and she inhaled the sweet powdery scent that was seemingly unique only to newborns.
“You’re a natural.” Lokin said from the door. “How are her vitals? For some reason they were failing last night even though there was no biological reason.”
“They are all within acceptable limits, Doctor.” Lokin came to stand beside her, and then peered curiously at the eating baby.
“Perhaps it wasn't complete hokum. There are some studies that show physical touch, specifically skin to skin touch, can be medically beneficial to a struggling pre-term human infant. I had never seen anything of the sort done while I worked in Imperial hospitals, but perhaps the approach has it merits. Keep up the good work Miss Quinn.” He smiled at her, eyes dancing, genuinely pleased.
Oriah forced a smile back, even though it caused her stomach to churn, there would be no running now.
“The Empire, and the Republic are both rife with corruption, the Sith and the Jedi Council’s hard lined dogmatic views are out of touch and destructive. A new way of thinking must emerge if the Galaxy is to survive, the stifled voices of reason must be heard if change is to be effected. These voices exist, on both sides of the divide.”
“It’s treason if we join.”
“It’s treason if they find out.”
“We hunted down traitors, Tavus and his crew, it’s how we spent our first year, how are we different if we join? Tavus left the Republic for the same reasons, and Force damn him but he was right! So how are we going to be different, how are you going to look Garza in the eye and lie, and pretend like your oath means something?”
“We’re not Tavus, we’re not selling anybody out to the Empire. Aric, look at what they did to the Deadeyes, Dagger Wing, how long before Havoc become a scapegoat or a bartering chip, or worse framed for something we didn’t do because it’s easier to blame the mindless spec ops soldiers then to be honest. I promised to serve the Republic, how are we keeping our oaths when the people giving the orders aren’t serving the Republic? If you ask me taking out the cancers that are leading the Republic is one of the best services we could do for it.”
Aric was still holding the doorknob that led out of their private rooms into the greater space station, Shiloh wanted to talk to everyone and decisions had to be finalized. He could almost feel the fire coming off of her. He broke Mitka’s intense glare with a hard and fierce kiss.
“Then let’s get to it Major.” He opened the door for her, grinning at her vaguely dazed face.
“You’re in? Are you sure? You just said…”
“I’m sure babe; I just needed to make sure you were.” He kissed her again, more softly this time and led her into the hallway.
Ava pulled out an old musty smelling ruck sack, she hadn’t looked at it let alone thought about it in years. She pulled it open and took out the pistol, an old cheap blaster from an old cheap man, but when Ava had taken it off his corpse it had made her rich, powerful. She had never been back to Coruscant after her and Teah had fled.
“What’s that?” Torian was leaning against the doorway.
“First trophy, first blaster.” Ava targeted Torian through the cheap sight, knowing if she pulled the trigger the shot would go wide by almost ten centimeters, it really was an awful blaster.
Torian came and sat beside her on the bed, he took the blaster from her, and after a few minutes raised an eyebrow and laughed.
“You actually killed people with this thing?”
“Don’t laugh at me! And yes, I did, a good many people. Teah and me, after we left Tython, we were going to change the Galaxy, we didn’t need the Jedi or the Sith, we would use the Force the way we wanted to, we would protect the poor, the people no one ever sees, the ones who had never seen a Jedi because the senate didn’t send aid that far down into the lower levels. Then we killed a senator, a filthy ugly man, who prayed on little girls, alien girls especially. We killed him, but he wasn’t the only one, and suddenly the senate started sending the law down there, not food, not help, just more guns and thugs, and more little girls died, and no one cared but us.”
While she had been talking, Ava pulled out a small eye veil, pale blue shimmersilk, beads and tiny bells chimed together delicately, her one keepsake of Tython, it was so small in her hands now, she had been so young, too young, she wondered if Master Elliah remembered her.
“They took her, I thought they would kill her, but she’s a Sith, leading armies, and here I am after everything, I’m right back where we started. Thinking I can change the Galaxy.” She felt a drop run down her cheek dropping on the silk, changing the powder blue to navy.
“She let you live, she’s still your sister, Cyare.” He wiped the tear from her cheek.
“We’ll see what she is. First things first, let’s give Gault a proper send off, then let’s go see what this Shiloh has to say.” They stood up and headed for the airlock, their ship was stopped at a safe distance from the Dark Nebula. Gault waited clutching his sniper rifle, wearing two beskar gloves, and then Tyresius Lokai the man who died twice, was given a traditional Mandalorian funeral. He would have hated it, and Ava smiled.
“So I ask you to join me in this wild dream, a dream we will likely never see come true, join me as we are hunted by all sides, where we will be called traitors, blasphemers, and worse because we believe in true freedom, in a Force unbound by dogma.” Shiloh pulled out the black codex, she placed her fingers in the allotted slots and an image filled the atrium.
“The Star Cabal is as old as The Republic and the Empire our secrets stretch as far back as the founding of these two civilizations. The reason we are so feared by Sith and Jedi however, is because we have this.” She pointed at the projection.
“The Force as any Jedi or Sith will tell you is the living energy of our galaxy, it exists everywhere, in everything, in everyone, but only a small percentage of sentient individuals are able to manipulate it. This is the key. Or rather the blue print; the equation, force mystery, magic, however you want to explain it, was found in an ancient cave on Tython, before Jedi and Sith, before the first dogmatic wars that split this galaxy apart. This is the key to unlocking the Force energy that is present in every sentient being, that is or will ever be.”
To be concluded.
Force of Wills
Force of Wills: The Ties that Bind