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01.17.2012 , 08:25 PM | #4
Chapter 4: Horrendous Revelation

It hurt. It hurt so badly. Zura wanted so badly to use her newly taught technique to heal it, but even the Force could not stop the suffering. The pain was in her heart. It was the pain the she was the one who had put her master and herself in this position, not the Sith.

It was the Sith's choice to follow the dark side, but had Zura been stronger, more powerful, the Sith may not have won. Beside the fact she had been unable to stand up to the Sith, the fact she left her lightsaber behind so the Sith could use it against her master had been a terrible mistake on her part. Her weakness, not the Sith's strength, is what caused Master Altronz to lose.

As much as she wanted to berate herself for her mistakes, Zura took a breath. Altronz would tell her that she cannot allow her emotions to overcome her. The more pity and hate she had for herself, the more vulnerable to the dark side she was.

Yet, she could not help but wonder where her master had gone. When she came to, she was in a holding cell. The low hum of a powerful engine told her she was on a large star ship. Unlike the Padawan, Altronz was not in a holding cell. She had called out to see if he was in a cell she just couldn't see, but there was no response. She had even tried reaching out to him through the Force, but it was as if there was a sea of dark side energy in the ship, making any attempt impossible.

Before she could ponder her master's whereabouts, she could sense something. Still underdeveloped from her youth, Zura held an ability unique to her people. Togruta were capable of detecting proximity and movement of objects by ultrasonic waves that their montrals picked up. Not very experienced with this ability, Zura was only able to pick up movement within a certain distance, and even then she wasn't sure where it was coming from.

As if confirming her senses, a man called out to her, despite not being in her field of vision from the holding cell. "Padawan, prepare yourself for transfer. My lord has requested I bring you to him" the man declared.

Moving to the edge of her cell, Zura wanted to see who it was that was talking to her. Within seconds, her eyes flashed red with rage upon seeing the red skinned Sith who had assaulted her and defeated her master. "You! You're the Sith scum who assaulted us!"

Despite just being insulted, the Sith did not react to the Padawan's statement. He merely glared at her for a moment, observing her, as if trying to decide she would be troublesome. Then, a smile graced his face, followed by a laugh. "I must say, this is quite humorous. Here I am, a Sith, calmly informing you of a transfer and you, a Jedi, start lashing out at me in a fit. It's quite the role reversal"

Realizng he was right, Zura backed away and hung her head in embarrassment, not wanting the Sith to see the darkening of her skin. Pleased with the Togruta's reaction, the Sith continued. "I'll warn you now, do not try to make a move to flee, Padawan. I am stronger than you. My master is stronger than me. You are on an Imperial battle cruiser filled with faithful men and women who will give their lives to make sure you do not escape. It would also be beneficial for your master if you come peacefully. Do you understand, Padawan?"

Zura lifted her head slightly, allowing her eyes to lock with the Sith's. She tried to contain it as much as possible, but the Sith could see the fire of hatred in her eyes. Then, speaking just loud enough for him to hear her, she said "My name is Zura, not Padawan"

Letting out the slightest of laughs, the Sith replied "Very well, Zura. While it matters not, my name is Sisska. Although, as far as you're concerned, it's Lord Sisska"

When Sisska got no answer, he merely assumed she was complying and opened her cell. With a motion of his hand, Zura exited the cell, letting Sisska know she would follow him. As Sisska led the way, Zura began to analyze her surrounding. She needed to know where things might be if the opportunity to escape arose. Unfortunately, wherever they went, there was nothing marking their position on the ship. They didn't seem to pass any noticeable facilities within the ship. Any other individuals they passed were few and far between as well.

Eventually, Zura's eyes fell upon the lightsaber clipped to Sisska's side. She wanted so badly to take it. To snatch it from his side in the blink of an eye, or even use the Force to draw it to her hand. She could just imagine using it to take the Sith down and anyone who got in her way as she searched for her master. However, without any idea as to where he was or what condition he was in, Zura could do nothing. Besides, if Sisska was trained well enough to fight her master, he would likely react to her at the speed of light.

Soon enough, Sisska paused before a set of double doors, watched over by an armed guard on either side. The guards nodded to Sisska and pushed the door open for him, allowing the Sith and Togruta inside. Not a second after the two were inside did the doors close firmly behind them, causing a lump to form in Zura's throat. She could sense the urgency in closing the doors did not come from efficiency or the desire to please their master, but to put whatever they could between them and what was inside the room.

Not bothering to traverse the room further, Sisska moved to one knee and called out to his master. "My lord, I have brought the Padawan to you"

Zura tried to find the man Sisska was speaking to, but found noone. He was there, somewhere, but she didn't know where. The room was filled with devices that she had only seen in hospitals, but none of them seemed to be used for their intended purpose. She even took note that the dried husk of some poor individual was connected to a machine she had seen used in dialysis. Furthermore, the room was stagnant with the dark side. She could even feel it on her skin, chilling her to the bone.

"Well done, Sisska. Now, I need you to retrieve Subject BBV-J1" Sisska's supposed master announced. Zura could hear it was distorted by some sort of respirator, making her wonder if all the medical equipment was there to keep him alive and healthy. If that was the case, she would be sure to destroy whatever she could when she found out where her master was.

As Sisska walked off, heading to one of the sections of the room that seemed to be hidden by a wall of thin, plastic sheets, Darth Virales continued to speak. "While my apprentice retrieve my test subject, I would like to have a small discussion with you, Zura" the Sith Lord announced. The statement had caused Zura to gape, as she had not idea how the Sith discovered her name. Before she could press him, Virales continued.

"As a Sith, I am not inclined to offer you anything besides a swift death if you complied with my demands. However, I am a man of science as much as I am a man of the dark side. That is why I require your assistance with a project of mine"

Frowning, Zura's response was swift. "There is no reason for me to help you. I may just be a Padawan, but my master has taught me well. Whatever it is you want, it will cause harm to others. I would rather lose my life than assist you in anything!"

Despite Zura's words, there was no repercussion from Virales. In fact, when he spoke again, there was no change in his blank tone. No anger. No amusement. Nothing that even indicated that he had heard what she had just said, but the meaning behind the words would strike deep into Zura.

"Your resistance is understandable. We are fated enemies, Jedi and Sith. However, should the circumstances weigh in my favor, then you will have no choice but to help me. And I can assure you, the circumstances are weighing well in my favor" Virales stated.

Lies and deception were traits commonly attributed to the Sith, especially those that have risen up to receive the title of Darth. And yet, Zura could feel that Virales' was not bluffing. That he had everything working in his favor. The only question was, how?

"My lord, I am back with subject BBV-J1" the Sith Lord's apprentice announced, drawing Zura's attention. When she saw just what it was the Sith was sent to retrieve, Zura could feel her heart collapse.

Sisska had pushed over a gurney, upon which lied Master Altronz. The Jedi was alive, but unconscious. Seeing the state of his body, Zura believed that was for the best. There were a number of tubes infusing a steady stream of kolto into his body, keeping him alive as best they could, but it seemed to be a battle for life they were losing.

Overcome by her emotions of fear and love for the man who was like family to her, Zura rushed to the gurney. She wanted to touch him, but Sisska moved to prevent her from doing so. Hate for the Sith welled up for a second, before disappearing in a moment of realization. Altronz's condition was so poor, that if he was moved incorrectly, he'd probably die. Sisska was just trying to prevent her from making a mistake.

"As you can see, the effects of my latest experiment are far from desirable. I knew he was a bit old, but I was hoping he had strengthened his body well enough for the experiment" Virales stated, drawing Zura's attention away from her master.

Tears welling up in her eyes, tried desperately to find where the Sith was, but Sisska's presence behind her kept her from rushing around the room. "Why would you do this!? What have we ever done to you!? Master Altronz doesn't deserve this! You don't even deserve to be in his presence!"

Unmoved by her words, Virales continued. "Since using your master as the latest test subject in my experiment, I've improved on my project and believe I am close to a breakthrough"

Pushing her emotions aside so she could focus on Virales' words, Zura asked "What are you talking about? What is this project?"

Apparently, Virales was willing to indulge in answering Zura's questions, as he begain to explain. "My experiment is an attempt to improve on life itself. Something that will benefit all. You see, I've observed that the majroity of the galaxy's population is non-Force sensitive. Being a form of humanitarian, I have been developing a method to make every member of every species Force sensitive"

Zura began to lose sight of Virales' plan, shaking her head in confusion. The Force was a mystical energy. Something that gave life and took it away. There was no way this Sith, this mad scientist, could develop a method of allowing everyone in the galaxy to use the Force.

Similar to how he knew her name, Virales seemed to sense Zura's disbelief in his plan. "It appears your Jedi Masters haven't educated you properly. An individual's ability to manipulat the Force comes from microscopic organisms that live in one's cells. It would appear that the more of these organisms one has, the better their connection to the Force is. My plan is to have these organisms multiply in every last being, allowing a connection to the Force to form"

While still unsure of Virales' beliefs, Zura noticed something peculiar. "You said you're doing this to make everyone Force sensitive. Why would you need to test this out on my master, who is already a full fledged Jedi and master of the Force?"

"Simply because what I'm using to spread Force sensitivity is a virus. It would be impossible for me to go around and individually make each person Force sensitive. The only way to make my dream a reality is to create a virus that will spread across the galaxy. Of course, a virus is indiscriminate as to whom it will afflict. In order to make sure there are no negative side effects on those who are already Force sensitive. Your master provided me with the knowledge I required, and I have found there are no differences between the effects on those who are and are not Force sensitive" Virales clarified.

Now Zura's rage started to rise once more. "No negative side effects? My master looks like he's about to die! You can't say there are no negative side effects!"

"I never said there was nothing negative about the virus" Virales countered. "You see, soon after I tested the virus on your master, previous subjects began displaying the same symptoms as he does now. I've come to understand that my virus is still imperfect in its design"

"You see, the virus is designed to trigger a self-replicating command in the organisms that help us manipulate the Force. I hadn't inquired as to how they would do so, as their role in the manipulation of the Force led me to believe they could do so without concern. However, they took a more scientific path in multiplying their numbers. Since matter cannot be created from nothing, the organisms need to take matter from other objects to replicate"

Angry with all the science talk, Zura finally shouted at the Sith Lord. "I'm a Jedi, not a scientist! Even if there are those in the order that decide to follow a more academic path, I did not! Start making sense!"

"It's rather simple really. To create more of themselves, the organisms have been taking material from the body itself. They are causing the body to deteriorate. This leads to organ failure which leads to death" Virales concluded.

Understanding that part, Zura looked to her master once more, feeling fear well up in her. Her master was dying from a disease some maniacal Sith had concocted. This man, who has only given, was now being brought closer to death.

Ignoring Zura's focus on her master, Virales spoke once more. "With the virus set up in this manner, I cannot unleash it upon the galaxy as it will only kill. Given that the lives of others mean nothing to me, the potential for this virus to afflict me or for it to draw attention from a less than enthusiastic Dark Council member gives me reason to correct my mistakes on this experiment and finalize the project. To do this, I require your help"

Hearing him explicitly state how he had no interest in the well being of all life in the galaxy, Zura glared into whatever direction she believed the Sith Lord to be. "Why should I help you? You've already condemned my master to death with your experiment! He'll die and you don't care at all!"

"True, I do not care about your master, but I do care about the completion of my experiment. As for why you'll help me, it's in your own best interest. Or rather, the best interest of your master" Virales responded. "I require your help in the completion of my virus. If you can retrieve a vital component, I should have a perfected version of my virus created. Additionally, this vital component is necessary in the creation of an antidote that will cure those afflicted by the imperfect version"

The revelation of a potential cure gave Zura hope. After all this talk, she was sure that her master was going to die. Now there was something that could be done. Something that she could do to save him. Without hesitation, Zura asked "What do I have to do?"

"First, you must become infected"