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(L,F&E #9) Learning is a pain sometimes

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E #9) Learning is a pain sometimes

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 07:58 AM | #1
((This story starts 1 week after the events of "Closure. Nia was seriously injured. So she is confined to her bed. She is going stir crazy. As always, comments and/or suggestions appreciated))

Nia woke up grumpy. It had been seven days since her…rescue? Escape? Er… she shook her head. She didn’t know what to call her adventure. It didn’t seem to fit in any genre she had heard of. She shrugged and immediately regretted it as sore muscles protested. She called on the Force to damp her pain and it did, to a degree. Between the entities, Nolikas and L’trask, she had managed to survive crashing at full speed in a starfighter into something undefinable. When they described her injuries to her she had scoffed initially. No human could possibly have survived what they described. But now, a week later, the major repairs on her injuries were all done. And she faced a horror today. Physical therapy. She inclined her head and sighed. A voice came to her.

“Mistress Nia. You are awake. Would you like breakfast?” The TX1C medical droid was nothing if not courteous, kind and absolutely invulnerable to any attempt by her to make it leave her alone. A groan escaped her lips and the droid spoke again. “Please rephrase the last statement.” She smiled against her will. She made a quick decision and sat up. She turned off the monitors with the force and disconnected the tubes that were attached to her body. Far fewer in number they might be but no less aggravating. Her body protested and so did the droid. The hovering droid’s three arms danced with its worry.

“Mistress Nia, you are not to move without…” She interrupted.

“I know, TX, I know.” She sat still, focusing on her breathing as the pain threatened to overwhelm her training. Then she swung her legs off the bed.

“Mistress Nia…” The droid began again and she interrupted it again.

“I am sick of this bed. I am going to the refresher, you will let me.”

“Mistress Nia. Healer Nolikas threatened to scrap me if she found you out of the bed before she got here.” Nia grinned, and then stood, slowly and painfully. Only her firm grip on the rail of the bed kept her on her feet. The droid moved between her and the refresher. Nia snarled.

“I am giving you a direct order. Get out of the way.”

“I cannot do that, Mistress Nia, your vitals are fluctuating dangerously and you are on the verge of unconsciousness. You are unlikely to make it TO the refresher, Mistress Nia without injuring yourself, please reconsider.”

“Watch me.” She snarled and then put a foot forward. When that held her, she took another step. She was so focused on the act of walking that she missed when the door to the room hissed open. Then she tripped. She went down in a tumble, but… she didn’t hit the floor! She looked up into the gaze of healer Nolikas, whose outstretched hand proclaimed why she hadn’t gone thump. Nai’s face flamed and she regained her feet in silence. Then she continued towards the refresher. She made it to the refresher, did her business, and then started back towards the bed. Nolikas watched in silence. Nia was almost halfway when her feet slid out from under her and she went down again. This time she fell slowly and slow rolled. Nia wound up slumped against the bed. She looked up into Nolikas’ concerned eyes. She shook her head, struggled to her feet and climbed back into the bed. The Rakata Jedi Healer shook her head, and then helped Nia get situated while at the same time reactivating the monitors and reconnecting the tubes.

“Nia…” Nolikas broke off.

“I’m sorry, Nolikas, I… I can’t just lie here…” Nia shook her head.

“I understand Nia, but…” Nolikas brought out a scanner and moved it over Nia’s body. Rakatan Body language was very different, but Nia could tell the healer was displeased. Nolikas sighed. Then she motioned Nia to remain still. She reached for her tools and Nia’s face flamed again. Nia remained silent as Nolikas fixed the damage Nia had done to herself. Finally the healer put her tools away and Nia slumped back.

“Nolikas…” Nia said and then broke off as the Rakat turned to her. Nolikas’ face was stern

“You were not injured badly by that tumble. Minor tearing. Nia. You can't do things like that.”

“It didn’t matter before…” Nia began then broke off as Nolikas shook her head.

“The last time, you had a crushed abdomen. With multiple bruised and damaged internal organs. This time, Nia, you injured almost every single part of your body. Multiple fractures, soft tissue damage, a lot of hemorrhaging, whatever they did to keep you alive… only kept you alive. You will not bounce back as fast. And if you push yourself like that, you will heal slower, not faster. I know you hurt Nia, I am going to up your dosage.”

“No!” Nia said fiercely.

“Nia, we have had this conversation.” Nolikas’ voice was just as fierce. The door hissed open again and L’trask stood there. He looked from one to the other and sighed.

“Do I need to ask?” Nia looked at him and a sour grin crossed his snout. “I know your father.” She wilted. Nolikas moved to the painkiller controls, but a look of concentration crossed Nia’s face and the remote for it shot into Nia’s hand.

Nia!” Nolikas said sharply. Nia hid the remote under her pillow and smirked. L’trask shook his head again. He walked slowly to the bed and looked at Nia. She looked at him and then exhaled in shock as he slapped a hypospray up against her neck. Her betrayed look faded as she lost consciousness. They both scrutinized the monitors for a moment, and then L’trask retrieved the remote from under Nia’s pillow and shook his head.

“Are all Jedi this thickheaded about doctor’s orders?” Nilokas smiled mirthlessly.

“Not all, but many.”

“My condolences.” His dry tone brought a genuine smile to her face and she looked at her colleague.

“It’s actually not that bad, usually. Jedi can put themselves into healing trances. They are remarkably compliant when they are in trance. But…”

“Nia can’t.” It wasn’t a question, but Nolikas shook her head anyway, baffled.

“None of us know why. But she can’t.” She had tried the first day she had been awake, Nolikas had tried to assist her into one. It hadn’t worked. It worried the healer, a lot, and she sat thinking hard.

L’trask busied himself with the readings and shook his head. The Rakata Jedi wasn’t what anyone had expected when the Jedi had said they were sending a healer to the Stormhawk to help Nia and the rest of the crew. She was just as opinionated, arrogant, and just downright mulish about healing matters as he was. But outside of that, she was a downright FUN person to be around. The crew genuinely liked her. She understood about being an outcast, about being different. So they liked her. And she reciprocated, she found the Stormhawk crew to be a blast! They were cautious around her, that was to be expected, but, she didn’t really care. She was here for Nia. That was all that mattered. She liked the Grey Jedi girl, and her father. And if she could have fun while helping Nia, well, so much the better. She sighed. L’trask looked at her.

“Master Jina put her in a healing trance for the trip to Tython, so…something changed.” L’trask looked at her with disbelief written all over his expression and Nolikas sighed. “I mean more than her crashing into the entity and not dying.”

“You think the entity did something to her?”

“I don’t know. Everything else we have tried works, just not the healing trance. I can put her into suspended animation, I can get her to raise or lower her body temp, I just can’t get her to heal. It doesn’t make sense.” She sighed sadly. “I…” She broke off and sighed. L’trask sighed as well.

“She won’t stay in the bed, not now.”

“I know.” Nolikas confirmed.

“We can’t restrain her, if she is anything like her dad, she will fight restraints even in her sleep.” Nolikas’ expression was quizzical. L’trask’s expression was grim.

“Word of advice, don’t get close to Will while he is asleep. He…er…sleepfights.” She sat back in amazement.

“He what?” She was sure the Trandsoshan was joking, but his voice, and body posture said he was being serious. “You’re serious? He fights while asleep?”

“He has put three orderlies and two nurses into sickbay with serious injuries. He hits hard! He has never killed anyone, mainly because we know how to handle it.” She waved for him to continue. “We shoot him.” She goggled at him. An interesting sight, a Rakata goggling at him.

“You…shoot…him…” She repeated in disbelief.

“Non-lethal. But it’s the only safe way to put him down. Get close enough for a hypospray and you get hurt. Droids?” He scoffed. “He has broken so many its just not funny.” She shook her head.

“Is it something to do with his…er… ability?’

“We don’t know. He never talks about it.” She thought hard then nodded.

“He said I could study his ability. I want to see if I can help him, keep him from having such neural damage.”

“Good luck, I’ll keep an eye on Nia. Physical therapy is canceled, she got enough exercise already. And remember, stay out of reach.” Nolikas nodded and left the room. L’trask sighed and sat at his desk, scanning the medical files for the day.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 07:58 AM | #2
Will sat and thought. It had been an uneventful day. A lot of nothing happening. He was on sick call. He had trouble focusing, and both doctors aboard said it would take time for his body to recover. Boss had him on light duty since he knew full well that Will wouldn’t just sit around. Will sat, contemplating the view and wondered. The hatch chimed and he turned, quizzical. Any member of the crew would either come right in, if they needed in, or com him. The observation blister wasn’t… he froze. Then he nodded to himself and left the blister. Outside, in a position where she couldn’t see the view in the blister, stood Healer Nolikas. He closed the hatch and turned to her. He couldn’t understand her reaction to seeing deep space. To him it was beautiful, stark, epic and immense. To her, it was mind numbingly terrifying. Even with all of her skill and training, she couldn’t take more than a few seconds of the view before she had to leave. She faced it though and he admired that. Fear was something he understood. It was something he faced, every time he flew. To know what scared you the most, and to face it, repeatedly, just to try and fit in. that took guts. To say ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do that’ took more sometimes. He turned to her and nodded.

“Healer. Is there a problem?”

“No…well…Nia…” Will froze and Nolikas sighed. “She used the refresher this morning” Will’s eyebrows shot up and he felt his gut tighten. He looked from her towards sickbay and shook his head.

“Is she…?” He broke off as she raised a hand.

“She is fine, well…as fine as she can be…” Will nodded. He had trouble sometimes believing what had happened. Then he shook himself. They had survived, that was what mattered.

“What happened?”

“She fell twice, did some minor damage, which was easy to fix. But if she got out of the bed today…” She broke off as he grimaced.

“She won’t stay in it.” They shared a grim nod.

“No.” Nolikas agreed solemnly.

“So… what can we do? She’s bored. I get that, but if she starts moving around…”

“She will hurt herself. It was luck that I was there when she fell the first time. I caught her.”

“So what can we do? Send her somewhere?” Will winced at that.

“The only place we could possibly send her is Tython and I hesitate to do that.”

“Why?” Will asked in a genuinely curious tone.

“Tython is a strange world. Some say it is the birthplace of the Jedi. Some say it’s where the first split between Light and Dark Jedi took place. All I know is that the place reminds me of the areas on my homeworld where pieces of technology of the Infinite Empire lie.” Will leaned against the wall, trying to digest that. The Rakatan Infinite Empire had been a starfaring, intergalactic conquering, Dark side of the Force using Empire. “Old and dark, is what I feel there and it… unnerves me.” Will nodded.

“Olana should be back shortly. He can sit on her if you want.” Nolikas grinned, she liked the Wookiee. He was nervous around her however. Something to do with the eyes, Will thought.

“No…I think I have a better idea, but I don’t know if it would work.”

“Well, sound it out, if it obviously won’t we can brainstorm more.”

“Brain…storm?” Nolikas asked in a quizzical tone. Then she smiled “Oh. Human term. You have the most interesting words in your lexicon.” She sobered. “I don’t know if this will work or not, or even if it’s possible or not.”

“What?”

“How would you feel about having some Padawans aboard?”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 07:59 AM | #3
Are you out of your mind?” Will smirked at Boss’ tone. Boss had said exactly what he had said. At almost the same decibel level. Boss sat back in his chair and stared at the two mismatched beings in front of him. He took a deep breath and then sighed.

“No, Healer. It would be a very bad idea.” Will remained silent. He had said almost the same thing, nixing the idea, but Nolikas had insisted on taking it to Boss. Who had reacted just as Will had expected.

“May I ask why?” The healer was polite, but also worried. Well, so was Will. Nia was all he had…

“First and foremost, this is a warship. We don’t have facilities for kids.” Will could have sworn Nolikas winced.

“They wouldn’t be kids….” She broke off as Boss spoke again.

“Leaving aside that we operate far outside the normal areas, in very dangerous space and I know…” He raised a hand to stifle her protest. “…Jedi don’t fear danger. But that is one of the problems. You don’t fear.” Nolikas looked at him. “Even when you should.” She shook her head.

“We fear…” But she broke off again as Will shook his head.

“You know we don’t trust Force users, whether we like or not is immaterial. We don’t trust them and you know why. Vandar was an exception. He’s a legend. No one in their right mind says no when he…er…asks for something.”

“I wouldn’t call him a legend to his face.” Will and Boss both laughed at Nolikas’ words.

“No, we have SOME sense. And… We like you.” Will nodded at Boss’ words. “But you are not safe here. Sooner or later one of the more inventive ones will come up with some way to hurt or kill you that we can’t stop.” She looked at him quizzically.

“There have been…incidents…concerning certain members of the crew, healer.” She looked at Boss and Will spoke. “They were going to try and kill you.” She stared at Will in horror.

“They have been disciplined, but… healer… It’s not safe for you aboard.”

“I can’t leave Nia.”

“You won’t. I have already asked for asylum for Nia on Tython and the Council has agreed. And you will take him too.” Boss waved at Will who stiffened.

“Now, wait just a second…” Will started then froze as Boss slapped the desk.

“No argument, Two. You and Nia both need healing. The Jedi are willing to provide it. Tython is, barring your concerns healer –which are noted- the safest place in Republic space at the moment. And…” He sighed sadly. “…they have Kolto.” Will froze.

“Is it that bad?” Will asked Nolikas and she nodded.

“She is not healing enough. We can hold it, slow it, but without drastic steps…”

“…she will die.” Will finished for her. He slumped. “When do we leave?” he asked in a resigned tone.

“L’trask is prepping her now. As soon as she is loaded, you go.” Will nodded and Nolikas sighed and left the office to gather her gear. Will looked at Boss.

“She wants to study me.”

“Will you let her?” Boss’ voice was soft.

“I gave her my word, so yeah. What can I say?” Will leaned against the wall and shook his head. Boss was a long time in replying.

“It’s your secret Two. I don’t see what harm it could do…but I thought the base would be safe too.” Shame bit through Boss’ words.

“Wasn’t your fault, just stupid bad luck.”

“Yeah.” Boss waited till his XO had left the room to remove his helmet. He dried the tears that had pooled inside and then replaced it. He started back into his paperwork.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 08:00 AM | #4
Will stood out of the way in sickbay and watched as Nia was loaded carefully onto an AG gurney. He heard Nolikas come up behind him and so didn’t flinch when she spoke.

“Are you flying us?” She asked quietly. Will shook his head. The Jedi healer nodded and moved to check on Nia. The girl was still unconscious and the monitors were quiescent at the moment. L’trask came up to Nolikas and handed the Rakata a small carisak. She opened it, checked the contents and nodded. The Trandoshan smiled thinly.

“She will not sleep the entire time, and she will be restless and…” He broke off as Nolikas smiled grimly.

“I will keep her in the bed.” There was no give at all in her voice. L’trask nodded and resumed his watch over the orderlies moving the stricken girl. Finally the gurney was ready to go and L’trask nodded. He looked at his old friend and his new one and smiled sadly.

“I hope to see you again.” Both Nolikas and Will nodded, a bit sadly. They left the sickbay without a word. They followed the droid pushing the AG stretcher in silence, both lost in their own thoughts. Finally Will spoke.

“I will stay near you for a while. You might… Well, Nia might need me.” Nolikas nodded. They came to a elevator and Will waited until the gurney was in then entered with Nolikas following. He pushed the button marked “Hanger”. After a moment, Nolikas spoke.

“Your…ability. Do you think Nia shares it?” Will froze. The thought had never occurred to him.

“I don’t know. The only other person I have ever heard of who could do it was a pirate. She…well, she didn’t last long.” The Jedi Healer nodded again. He looked at her. “Do you think THAT might be why healing trances don’t work?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have enough information.” Will slumped and she shook her head. “No.” he recoiled a bit, startled by her apparent non sequitor. Then he relaxed and smiled ruefully.

“If it might help her…” She looked at him and he smiled sourly. “Then I will help you get more information. All I ask is that you keep the information close. It’s not something I want common knowledge.”

“I can understand that.” They arrived at the hangar and watched in silence as the gurney was maneuvered up the ramp of a shuttle. Nolikas frowned.

“I know you can’t fly yet, but why not Olanagychew?”

“He had personal business to take care of. His sister’s kid is due.” He smiled fondly in memory and Nolikas smiled as well. They got Nia’s gurney situated then took seats beside it for the ride. Nolikas looked at Will and he looked at the deck. When he spoke it was quiet.

“The ‘ability’ that I have I have known about for almost fifteen years. The first time it happened, I thought I was going mad…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 08:02 AM | #5
<The Past>


“Green squadron, this is Green leader.” Will snapped alert as his squadron leader’s voice came over the comlink. He hadn’t been dozing, not as hyperalert as he had been, but he HAD been distracted. He flushed under his facemask. He knew better.

Distraction=Death He focused on what she was saying.

“We have multiple unknown ships in system. Configuration says they are mercenary fighters. Higher is talking to them now.” Will checked his scope and nodded. His under-strength squadron, nine strong including two rookies, had been assigned to the light cruiser WindRider. The idea, so Command said, was to show the pirates that frequented the area that the Republic would not brook the trespass. Now, however, facing at least twenty fighters and a small capital starship, Will wished for more backup. He winced. Something… His eyes stung and he heard something. He shook his head, trying to clear it, and then all of a sudden more icons appeared on his screen. He called it in.

“Lead this is Seven, Multiple unknowns behind asteroid, bearing three mark nine, range twenty.”

“Seven this is lead, are you sure? My scope is negative.”

“I have readings Lead. Looks like… what the?”

“Seven?” Her voice was harsh, concern mixed with a bit of alarm.

“Those aren’t merc fighters. I think… Yeah, configuration is Auteks, six of them.”

“Seven I have a lot of nothing on my screens.”

“Lead I can see them. Check point Epsilon six on that asteroid.” He waited then her voice came back. She sounded shaken.

“Good eyes Seven. Looks like an ambush.”

“For us or for the mercs?” One of the younger pilots asked.

“No way to know Nine. Wait one…” Her voice cut off and Will sat, trying to figure odds, probabilities, chances. She came back on. Her voice was calm and collected and Will’s blood ran a bit faster. “All right, Green Squadron. Windrider isn’t sure who those guys are, so we are going to find out for them. All fighters, form on me. And let’s go see what’s what.” The squadron formed and boosted for the asteroid, quickly leaving the Windrider in their space dust. As they approached the asteroid, Will’s hackles seemed to shoot through his canopy. They were almost to the asteroid when the six Auteks came into sight, and fired.

Squadron! Break…” Green leader’s voice cut off as her ship took a direct hit from something and exploded. Then the remaining ships were fighting for their lives.

Will fired and an enemy Autek blew up. He turned, evading, noting with satisfaction that the Auteks, while their weapons had been upgraded, their shields and armor had not been. His wingmate screamed over the comlink as something hit his ship and then, Will was alone.

It won't be that easy!” He screamed into his comlink as he turned into the enemy. Something happened. Suddenly, he was.... He could see the stars as if he was naked in space. He felt…powerful, strong, fast, instinctively he dodged a shape, barely seen, almost sensed, and then he struck. Paired bolts of energy flew from his… hands? They struck the form he had barely seen and it exploded. Things came flying slowly towards him and he dodged, then he struck again. This time he saw the shape of an autek outlined by his blasts. Again he dodged and struck and another bad guy went boom. Finally a seeming eternity later, he heard voices.

“We surrender, we surrender please! For the sake of the Force! WE surrender!” He was moving towards another target when another voice came.

“Green Seven, do you read?” Someone was talking to him. He focused with difficulty on the voice. He thought hard, where did he know it from? “Green Seven, do you copy?” He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. Finally he managed to speak.

“Green Seven here.” He locked the last two Auteks in his sights and prepared to fire. No other red icons showed on his screen, and only one blue one. Windrider

“Green Seven stand down.” He growled, even to himself it sounded inhuman. “Green Seven, respond!”

“Windrider… This is Green Seven…” His voice was quiet, cold and hard.

“Green Seven, return to base.” He snarled again. And he locked his weapons on the closest Autek. They had killed.... “Green Seven, they have surrendered. Return to base.” He froze just as his finger was closing on the trigger.

What am I doing? He clicked his master weapon’s switch to safe and headed back towards the Windrider.

<The present>


“Who were they?” Nolikas asked quietly.

“Czerka thugs. They thought if they killed the patrol, then the Republic would take a while to send another. And they could loot the planet to their hearts content until then.” His words were cold and clipped and against her will, the Rakata shuddered.

“I don’t understand.” Nolikas said after it was clear Will had finished. “You say you would have shot them. Why would you kill them after they surrendered?”

“I wasn’t thinking like a human, I was thinking like a ship, or a droid…” Will sighed. “I came very close to blowing them all out of space, they couldn’t touch me, and when I shot, I never missed.”

“How many…?” Nolikas asked, and then broke off. “Forget I asked that, it isn’t…”

“Twenty four that day.” She stared at him. “One of the curses of this; I can’t forget. I remember with absolute clarity every single ship I have killed while merged.” She stared at him with horror written all over her alien features. “Between that and the neural damage I take if my ship is hit, I don’t merge very often.”

“I understand.” Nolikas said quietly. Then they both sat back, lost in their own thoughts as the ship transited to hyperspace.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 08:03 AM | #6
When Nia woke, she felt…odd. She thought hard for a moment, and then opened her eyes, er… she tried to. They wouldn’t move! She stretched out with her feelings and sensed Nolikas, her dad, and others she didn’t know. She shook her head. It seemed heavy as if… She sighed and relaxed. Then she focused on her eyelids. After an interminable time, she saw light through the cracks in the lids and sighed in relief. Then she realized something. The world outside was golden colored. And she was floating, er… held in place in a tank filled with a fluid she didn’t recognize. She looked down. A thin suit of some kind covered her body and she felt and saw tubes coming from it and going to the base of the tank. Another tube moved with her head and she realized it was an air tube of some kind. Then something else registered. She didn’t hurt. For the first time in a week, or more, she didn’t hurt at ALL! She savored the feeling. She never noticed when she nodded off.

<Nearby>


Will stood outside the Kolto tank and shook his head. They had expected Nia to wake during the journey. When they had realized why she hadn’t he had been worried, if not terrified for her. But they had made it in time. Nolikas sat, scrutinizing the readouts. Then she turned to him.

“Two days, barring complications.” Will nodded. She motioned him to an exam chair and he sat, a bit nervous. She smiled at him. “Are you sure?” He nodded again and sat back. She started her scans.

Will sat in silence. Nolikas watched her scans and then noticed his stiffness. She cocked an eyestalk at him then spoke.

“If this makes you uncomfortable, we can stop and start later.” He shook his head. “Seriously, we don’t have to do it all today. As a matter of fact…” She turned off her gear and Will looked at her.

“Why did you stop?” He asked quietly as she began to put her equipment away.

“You are uncomfortable. The readings may be skewed.” He sat back at her matter of fact response. Then she walked over and took his hand in hers. “I know this makes you uncomfortable…” She broke off as he smiled slightly.

“It’s not that, healer. I was… well… the chair is too comfortable. I am worried about falling asleep.” She looked at him, and then nodded.

“You worry about hurting people in your sleep.” He nodded, silent. “Don’t. I’ve taken precautions.” Will froze at her words. “What?” She asked perplexed. “What?” She asked a bit sharper when he didn’t speak. He shook his head, and then spoke.

“I have heard those exact words before Healer. And then I hurt her.” Nolikas froze, then pulled a chair up beside the Will and sat.

“Explain.” She spoke gently, but there was the bark of command in it and against his will, the soldier straightened. He looked at her and sighed. He sat for a moment longer, marshalling his thoughts, and then he spoke.

“I enlisted in the Republic forces at age sixteen. I lied about my age to get in. My father and mother had told me stories about serving ever since I could remember. They had both served. My father had been a quartermaster and my mother a combat engineer.” He stopped, lost in his memories. Nolikas spoke, her voice quiet.

“Honorable professions.” Will grimaced.

“Yeah, but I wanted to fly. But first I had to serve elsewhere, or so I was told.” Nolikas looked at him.

“Or so you were told?” She prompted. His face closed off and when he spoke his voice was cold.

“I checked later. The Republic had no intention of allowing me to fly. They needed the warm bodies, so they let me in. But they knew that I was underage.” He snorted. “I didn’t think to cover my tracks. It wouldn’t have taken the Republic much effort at all to determine who I was and how old I was.” Nolikas stared at him.

“But…why…?” She asked and his face unfroze, just a little.

“They needed the personnel, but not…” His voice was hard again. “…flying. Pilots are too visible. They are too exposed to media attention. Can you imagine the outcry if they found out one was sixteen? But what reporter or photo-opportunist notices an infantryman? There are thousands of infantry and maybe hundreds of pilots. So the Republic Forces hedged their bets.” Nolikas shook her head, her eyestalks moved independently.

“There have been underage pilots before…” She broke off as Will shook his head.

“And what happened when they died? Jerina Zohn was killed a week before I joined.” Nolikas looked at him and then nodded slowly. The public outcry had been, intense. The fact that a girl who was barely fifteen had been flying had eclipsed the fact that she had won the second highest award for valor the Republic had while doing so. At least to the public. Nolikas barely remembered that time. It seemed like an eternity ago, not twenty one years.

“How did you feel about it?” She asked and Will shrugged.

“You put on the uniform, take the Republic’s credits, you go where they tell you. You do what they tell you. How did I feel about it? I would have been proud to serve with her. She saved her ship, and at least three hundred lives. And then the politicians start using her death to try and grind their own axes.” He sighed. “You don’t sign up expecting an even break. You expect to get the shaft as often as the Senate can. And they…can.” Nolikas sat back again, then snorted at his dry humor.

“So you joined underage. Then what?” Will shook his head. When he spoke it was cold, hard and quiet. Against her will, Nolikas flinched.

“My training battalion was on its way to Onderon, to help with the cleanup there, when the transport we were on was attacked.” Nolikas’ eyes flew wide. But Will wasn’t done. “To this day, I don’t know who they were. They were in full armor, with heavy weapons and droids, we had personal armor and hand blasters. We tried.” He stopped, caught up in his memories. Nolikas didn’t push him. “When I woke up, I was in a cell. I could hear screams all around me. I don’t know what had hit me, and I didn’t care. I felt…odd. Parts of me were working and parts were not, I assumed that it was whatever they had hit me with. I wish it had been.” She didn’t move, he sighed.

“Who were they??” She asked quietly.

“Never found out. They are dead now, so it doesn’t matter. Every morning, I think they were mornings, anyway, hard to tell in that kind of situation, I would be taken for…interrogation. At least I thought that’s what they were doing. But their questions made no sense. They wanted to know where the treasure was. My response was always ‘what treasure?’. They thought I was being stubborn, when I really had no clue at all what they were asking. If there had been a treasure of some kind aboard the transport, would they have told ME?” She grinned at his humorous words then sobered.

“What did they do to you?” Will froze.

“Don’t ask me that, please.” She froze, the feelings that she felt from him were mixed now. Pain, fear, horror, anger, sickness, sadness. She looked at him.

“Who did you hurt?” Will froze, and then spoke. His voice, while still soft, wasn’t cold now.

“Her name was Saj. She was a Mon Calamari and a slave. And I didn’t hurt her, I killed her. They… well… she had medical training so they used her to keep us alive. She was…She tried to help, to be kind, but…”

“But?” Will shook his head, but continued.

“After one particularly nasty session, they tossed me onto the floor of her cell instead of mine. At that point I didn’t care whether I lived or died, just that the pain would stop. Every being has a breaking point, and I was very close to mine. Saj picked me up, and put me on her bunk. She cleaned me as best she could. I warned her, I had been having nightmares. And when I woke, I would be off of my pallet, sometimes, far away. Sometimes my knuckles bled as if I punched things in my sleep. Maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was the torture. I don’t know. She told me not to worry. That she had taken precautions. When I woke up, I was standing over her lifeless body. I…” Nolikas shook her head. “I…I heard a voice. Female, human probably. She gloated. She said I performed as expected. I told her to fisk off. She said they had programmed me to obey and I told her that as soon as I got free, I would come for her. They gassed the cell. I woke up in mine. Then ship lurched.”

“What happened?” Will shrugged.

“A few minutes after I woke up, the ship shuddered again, and the force field went out. I snuck out of the detention area and worked my way to the hanger bay. The ship continued to shudder and alarms were going off. I figured they were under attack. I was right. I passed a viewport and saw something…I didn’t know what it was then.” She looked a question at him and he smiled sourly. “It was a Sith cruiser. And they were pounding the fierfek out of the ship I was on. Occasionally figures would rush by, but I was never stopped. I made it to the hanger bay, saw an untended fighter and jumped in. It was an old Autek design.” He scoffed. “Think about it. A sixteen year old republic soldier, with only basic training done, trying to fly a starfighter.” Nolikas grinned when he did. “I don’t know HOW I managed to get the stupid thing started. I…I’m not proud of what I did then, but…” He broke off and she didn’t press him. “I got mad; I saw bodies around, Republic bodies. They had been herded into the bay…” He broke off again. “And then it looked as if the doors had opened. They were sprawled as if they had been blown into obstructions. None were armed or armored. Some were naked. I got mad.”

“What happened?” Nolikas prompted gently when he didn’t speak again for a while.

“I was mad. I was inside their shields, heck, I was inside their HULL. What do you think happened?” Nolikas shuddered at his tone. “I blew the heck out of the hanger, and then I blasted anything that moved. I used everything in the fighter’s arsenal. Lasers, an ion cannon, proton torpedoes…I used everything. The ship started to come apart. Maybe from my blasting, maybe from the pounding the Sith cruiser had given it. I don’t know. I blew myself an exit and flew out. Then I ran.”

“It can’t have been that easy…” Nolikas broke off as Will laughed.

“Nope. I…er..forgot… Sith cruisers carry fighters. Fighters that were trained to kill other fighters. I was running, they had probably been ordered to kill anyone running. I took two hits that I know of, and then I was spinning. I was throwing up what little was in my stomach when I saw a planet spin past. The fighters obviously thought I was dead, they left me alone. I managed to get the engines back on line for a moment, and then I hit the atmosphere. The next thing I knew I woke up in a bed.”

“And that was on Kuria?”

“Yeah, I didn’t believe at first…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 08:04 AM | #7
<Kuria planetary system 21 years in the past>


He woke. He hadn’t expected to. Last thing he remembered was the view of the planet in his viewscreen, growing and growing and then an impact. He sighed then froze as a voice came to him.

“Do not try to move soldier.” It was human, female and he didn’t recognize it. He opened his eyes, but saw nothing. He raised his hand, but it wouldn’t answer him and he flinched. The voice came again, acerbic this time. “What part of don’t try and move do you not understand?” Something warm touched his hand and he froze as he felt a small hand in his. “There, Feel? You will be okay.” He tried to talk but nothing came out. He felt something at his lips and he cautiously opened his mouth. A trickle of liquid fell into his mouth and he swallowed gratefully. Again the trickle came and again he swallowed. Eventually he had enough and tried to talk again. His throat protested but he managed to get words out.

“Wha… Where…?” Not exactly the most coherent first words, but understandable.

“You are in a bed, in my home. You are badly hurt. We were worried about a concussion, so we let you wake. As soon as we are sure you are tracking properly, you will sleep again.” Something touched him on the temple, and he felt better, less dizzy.

“Wait…I need to get back…I need…” The voice was kind, but rock hard at the same time.

“You need…to sleep.” Something pinched him on the shoulder and he fell into slumber.

When Will woke again, he hurt. Left leg and right arm felt as if they had fires inside, multiple fires. And his head… He groaned. The voice from before came again.

“Good morning.” The voice spoke from nearby and a warm hand touched his forehead. Will squirmed a bit, but controlled his body.

“Morning…” His response was distracted and the voice laughed.

“Here.” Will felt something move and then… He sighed in relief as his body’s natural action resulted in splashing into a container. “See, soldiers CAN be potty trained.” The humor in her voice was too much and Will laughed. Then he coughed and slumped back grimacing. “Easy there soldier.” The hand was back on his brow.

“Thank you.” He listened but didn’t hear any other motion besides his nurse. “Where am I?”

“You are on Kuria. You are in my home, it’s the closest we have to a medical facility.” He shook his head, and then regretted it. Her voice sharpened. “EASY there.” Firm hands held his head. “You have two skull fractures. If you bump around…” He grimaced but subsided. The hands withdrew as soon as he stopped moving. “What is your name?”

“My name is Will. How did I get here?” He asked quietly.

“You crashed.” He focused on her voice. “Mine’s Jainine." He began to shiver and he felt something warm cover him "Time to sleep again, soldier.” Another pinch and he took her kind voice into slumber with him, smiling.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.10.2012 , 08:04 AM | #8
<The present>


“…And that is when you met her.” Nolikas’ tone made it not a question, but Will nodded anyway.

“Yeah.” His eyes were closed, lost in memory. Then he opened his eyes and looked at Nolikas. “What do you want from me, healer? I don’t want to remain a danger to those around me.” Nolikas nodded.

“This won’t be easy, and I can’t guarantee it will be painless. But I think… I think we can help you.” Will nodded and relaxed back into the chair. Nolikas started her scans again. This would be a long day.


((OK that's the end of this thread, but stay tuned, the story is just beginning.))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here