Lodestone: A Wynston/Ruth Alternate Universe
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01.06.2013 , 04:27 PM |
L + 15 years 36 days, part 6: Finding the Voice
Back into the station at something close to a run. A brief effort to slice the nearest door to the inner chamber failed; Ruth couldn't think. She settled for a thirty-second raw effort of will that finally dented the door and flung it inward. Nothing could be allowed to delay her. Nothing.
She stepped into the great room where she had gotten her orders for the past fifteen years.
"Your lover is slipping away," announced the Voice of the Emperor. Ruth froze in place, her heart tightening.
But he wasn't addressing her. The robed figure was standing before his throne, flinging lightning and raw Force shots at a shaken-looking Larr Gith. To one side some man Ruth didn't recognize was crumpled on the floor. She felt a little glow of life in him. Not a lot.
"Little girl," oozed the Emperor. "Your only allies in this world despise you. You see before you the greatest failure of your sorry life. And you could scarcely face the barest thimbleful of my power even before you gave up on the discipline that might have made you into somebody."
He sent a shot of Force lightning at the fallen man. Larr Gith yelped and flew to intercept with her saber. Her focus was miserably off, Ruth could feel it from where she stood.
"You have failed him."
Ruth strode quickly to Larr Gith's side. The Jedi shot her a venomous look but had to keep most of her focus just on blocking the Voice's attacks. "Kill him already," hissed the Jedi.
She intended to. But the blonde looked so alone, so…scared, for once. She was actually protecting something. And Ruth had a very good idea of what she was feeling just then. "Work with me," said Ruth. "We haven't failed them yet." She hoped it was true. Stars, she hoped it was true.
Larr Gith gave her a long look. She was still a scared muddle. On an impulse Ruth looked down at the dark-haired man the Jedi was defending. "Huh. He's cute."
That finally dropped something into place over Larr Gith's raw uncertainty. She made a small squeaking laugh and suddenly flung the Voice's attack aside. "Yeah," she said. "You should see him when he's conscious."
They spun into combat together, blue saber and red, gleaming gold and polished black. Ruth had someone on her side, and for now it was enough. When the Voice puffed smoke and raised a dozen identical images of himself, an effortless gesture from Larr Gith dispersed half of them in a sweep of Force power; Ruth slashed through the rest until her sabers caught on the real foe.
Before she could land the death strike he raised his hands and stopped both Larr's and Ruth's sabers in place. They could press through, but it would take a moment. His red eyes shone as he smiled at Ruth. "I must thank you, Wrath, for your poorly hidden information on the conspirators. You can resist my command, perhaps, but your thoughts remain an open book. Once I read from your own mind who was involved and what they hoped for you, my Guard simply waited to obtain the full comm and docking codes for their
from your personal ship. Soon your rebellion will be utterly destroyed."
The Voice of the Emperor smiled wider. "Now kill me, Wrath. And see what good it does you. I still have your son."
Must she lose someone for every one she saved? Ruth killed the Voice, and it felt nothing like a victory. Enough. She had to move.
L + 15 years 36 days, part 7: About a boy
Larr Gith was already halfway across the room leaning over the strange man.
"Take him," called Ruth. "We have to move fast. The
A door slammed open. Lord Scourge led Jaesa and a couple of wounded soldiers in. Scourge took a quick look around the room, then turned to Ruth. "Wynston?" said Scourge.
"Critically wounded. I don't know…he's in kolto. I'm no healer, I don't know."
They got moving, the remainder of their forces falling in behind her. She fell into step with Larr Gith and took her companion's other arm to support him. And to speed them up. The man seemed somewhere between exhausted and half dead. "Friend of yours?" she asked Larr.
"Yes," said the Jedi. She had fully recovered her composure. "They took him, I don't know how long ago. Just to use against me if I ever tried to make trouble."
"It doesn't seem to have stopped you."
The Jedi set her jaw. "No. It didn't. Someone around here's got to keep a m–" She actually had enough sense to cut off there. She had definitely changed some since Ruth had last met her.
It was in the hangar outside Ruth's ship that her holo rang. Her stomach knotted up. Word from the
It wasn't. Ruth stared. "…Quinn. What do you want?"
"My lord." He seemed agitated. "Are you all right?"
"He's with my people." On the
"I've received an emergency signal from him."
Her heart seized up. "How?"
"Shortly after Colrand came on board I gave him a transponder so he could call home. In case of an emergency. He seems unable to open a full comm channel, but the emergency signal has been issued and its tracker activated. Where are your people taking him?"
"He was supposed to stay put. The Emperor found his location. Where is his signal? Give me coordinates, tell me where to meet you. I'll be there as soon as I can. With reinforcements."
He pulled out a datapad. "Uploading now." Then he set it aside and continued. "I've been forced to withdraw from the
, but my vessel here is faster anyway. I'll meet you as soon as I can."
Meet her to see whether her failure had gotten their son killed. "Quinn," she said, "this isn't what I intended." Obviously. "I'm sorry."
"He would have been no safer here while you worked. We will see him to safety, my lord."
She nodded more steadily than she was feeling. "I'm on my way." Then she pocketed the holo and stalked up the ramp. Lord Scourge shadowed her.
"Can that one be trusted?" said the great Sith.
"In this? Yes."
"I will take the coordinates to the nav computer. If we are lucky, the boy is being brought to your master."
"That's not what I would call luck…of course. Do it." She waved him away.
L + 15 years 36 days, part 8: Patching
Larr Gith had gotten ahead of Ruth, but she was moving slowly enough with her companion that Ruth overtook them both at the entrance to the medbay. The dark-haired man had a little smile, but it failed just for a moment as he sagged against the doorway. Larr wrapped an arm around his waist, looking uncharacteristically…unselfconscious…as she watched his face.
He grinned at her, then dragged himself on past the kolto tank. "Wow," he said, looking at the Chiss within. "Somebody's in trouble."
"Lie down," said Larr, pushing him toward the nearest cot.
"It'll take more than a kolto dip to fix that guy's innards. Is there a doctor on board?"
"He was it," Ruth grated through her teeth.
"Oh. I guess that means ol' Doc is up."
Larr Gith glared. "You're about to collapse yourself, now relax."
He shook his head and grinned, a smile that flashed defiance through his palpable fatigue. "Nothing wrong with me a little…a lot of…well, I'll figure it out, but it'll fix things just fine. Right now my patients need me. Someone help me get him out of there."
Ruth released the kolto mask and eased an unconscious Wynston out of the tank and onto the table. Doc looked him over and made several ominous-discovery noises, then suddenly ducked to one side and started rifling through the supply cupboard.
Ruth leaned in impatiently until Doc waved her off. "Relax, honey, I'm a professional." His hands were fairly flying through the cabinet as he picked out miscellaneous supplies and tossed them onto a nearby tray. He frowned. "Or, uh, my lord?"
"You can call me whatever you want, just save him."
He stood and grinned, his eyes brightening for a second. "I'll hold you to that."
"He always did recover fast in female company," Larr Gith said. She sounded downright affectionate.
Ruth watched Doc working. "He'll live," she said to him. "Right?"
"Oh, yeah. Might want to get him a good supply of reading material, he won't be leaving that tank for a while., but he will definitely have almost full use of ninety per cent of his – "
"He's going to be okay. Right?"
"Couple of internal organs might,
, keep little dents. Nothing that'll slow him down." He spared a quick look at her face and grinned again. "I know, if he doesn't make a full recovery you're gonna kill me or lop off parts or something. Believe me, if anybody can get this guy back to normal operation, it's ol' Doc."
"I wasn't going to kill you," Ruth said sullenly.
"Well, parts it is." Doc suddenly seemed to be working faster. "Sith, I tell ya. – Larr? Princess? When we get back to Republic space I'm taking a vacation from anywhere that has ever seen Sith. Just for a while."
"I've been to a lot of Republic space," Ruth muttered maliciously. This man was entirely too light-hearted.
"Oh," said Doc, not quite paying attention. "That's not as bad as I thought. There, that's one…"
One of the multiple knots in Ruth's stomach loosened. "When he is recovered, you will have my gratitude," she assured Doc.
"I see. What kind of gratitude are we talking? Because I should warn you I'm allergic to – "
"Immunity. Safe transport to your refuge from Sith, wherever you expect that to be. Credits." She paused, looked at his rounded shoulders and still-tired-looking face. She didn't know how long he had been a prisoner. "Peace, or the best places to find it. I know some of the most knowledgeable realtors in the galaxy."
"Peaceful sounds kinda fun," he muttered. "Now just sit back, honey. Your guy's gonna make it."
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