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Black Blood Virus

Darth_Synh's Avatar

01.09.2012 , 11:09 AM | #1
Chapter 1: Bad Dreams

Pain. Pain surged from the unfortunate man in waves, affecting the unlucky Padawan who was forced to watch. She wanted to look away. To cover her ears and shield herself from the raw suffering of the man's plight, but for some reason she could not.

Then, she saw another blade lower to the man's flesh, ready to sink into his unprotected form and let loose another torrent of the red liquid known as blood. The fear and pain the emanated from the man was too much for the young Jedi, causing her to release a scream that matched the man's own cries.

"Wake up Zura!"

Suddenly, the image of the tortured man disappeared, along with the man's screams, although the Padawan's own screams remained. Now, she could see her teacher and member of the Jedi Order, Jedi Master Altronz. Pushing sixty, the human had short grey hair that was slowly crawling further and further away from his forehead. The concerned brown eyes that stared at Zura from the center of the man's wrinkled face told her something was wrong.

"I-Is something wrong master?" Zura asked, placing a hand on her left montral to steady her attention. Even for a not yet mature Togruta, her montral and lekku were a bit on the short side.

"Your screaming for one" Master Altronz stated. Taking a seat on his Padawan's bed, Altronz looked Zura deep in her orange eyes, making sure that as she woke from her daze, she would put all her attention on him. "You were having a nightmare. A nightmare that was stirring powerful emotions inside you. I could sense your terror from the cockpit. Do you want to talk about it?"

A little ashamed that a dream was apparently able to stir such emotion from her, Zura broke eye contact. "I... I don't think we need to discuss it. It was just a bad dream. I should focus on my meditation to prevent it from happening again. I'm sorry to have even disturbed you master"

Not accepting her response, Altronz placed a hand on the Togruta's shoulder. "Zura, emotions are dangerous things for a Jedi to have. Being closer to the Force than others, we risk crossing over to the Dark Side and becoming like the Sith. However, even we can't prevent ourselves from letting them slide every once in a while. Even I've found myself feeling sorrow for those I could not save. So there is nothing shameful about discussing this"

Comforted by her master's words, Zura took a deep breath, gathering herself. "The dream... the nightmare is one I've had before. I can't place everything, but there's a man lying on a table. I don't know who he is, or even where the dream is taking place, but I can tell the man has been captured by some enemy. Someone, or something, is torturing him. Cutting into his body and making him suffer. There are no words. No reason for the suffering besides causing the man pain. And I think I'm there, being forced to watch all of this, feeling the man's pain and fear"

Nodding, Altronz placed his hands in his lap and looked up. "I see. This is a powerful dream... In truth, I think this is a sign. A premonition of things to come"

"A premonition? But I've never had the ability of foresight" Zura replied, not understanding how she could be able to see into the future.

"The abilities of a Jedi are never concrete. I have seen a Jedi who can lift an entire building by himself but never foresee a second into the future and I have seen a Jedi who could see a year into the future but never lift a leaf with the Force, but even these are not concrete. Sometimes there are things the Force just wants us to see, and this could possibly be something the Force wants you to see" Altronz explained to his young Padawan.

A little disturbed by hearing how the Force would want her to see such gruesome scenes, Zura protested. "Why would I be forced to see something so horrific? Is there something I should do about this? If I can't handle a premonition, then experiencing the real thing will be far too much for me"

Rising from his seat, Altronz hummed. "That is true. My best piece of advice is to learn how to control your emotions so you won't be overwhelmed by these feelings, but I'd rather you not have to face such a scenario"

"What should I do then master?"

Looking upon his student with concern, Altronz moved to leave the small living quarters. "Starting tomorrow, I'll start teaching you some new combat techniques. This way, you can give it your hardest to prevent this fate from occurring". Looking back, Altronz shot Zura an infectious smile, causing her to feel safe once more. "Now, I'll go grab you glass of blue milk with some honey. It's a remedy my master taught me for having sweet dreams. It should help you get rid of those nightmares"

Pleased that her master was here for her, Zura pulled her blanket over herself once more and rested her head on a pillow. At this point, she doubted she'd even need the blue milk to go to sleep at this point. So long as her master was around, she was sure she'd feel safe enough to go to sleep, regardless of the location.

Darth_Synh's Avatar

01.10.2012 , 09:00 PM | #2
Chapter 2: Infection

Six tubes attached to the overhead device were promptly planted inside the specimen's unfortunate body. Two in the chest, one on either side of the ribs, and another two in the specimen's head. The ominous yellow substance that was being deposited from the tubes in the chest drew attention away from the chill one would receive from the blood being drained out through the other tubes.

However, watching the poor human become an unwilling test subject was not why Sisska was there. The pureblood Sith drew his yellow eyes away from the "experiment" and tried to find what it was he was searching for. Unfortunately, it was a task that was easier said than done.

As disturbing as the room was, the Sith couldn't help but find himself fascinated with the plethora of instruments that filled it. Not too long ago, he was in the service of a Sith Lord known as Lord Varmith. A Zabrak who had worked hard in teaching Sisska the finer points of using the Force to enhance one's own physical prowess, Varmith had met with an unfortunate incident when he confronted Darth Virales for power.

As powerful as Varmith had become, challenging a Sith who had earned the title of Darth was never a smart idea unless one was one hundred percent sure they could win. And given that with Sith, there was never a guarantee, Varmith fell before he had even reached Virales' chambers. For his betrayal against a higher ranking Sith, everything and everyone under his command would be destroyed, but for some reason Virales had made a request that Sisska be made his apprentice. Whether it was some form of pity for the pureblood for having killed his master or some other reason, Sisska had simply been happy to be spared a less fortunate fate.

While his time in Virales' service had been short, Sisska had at least expected to see his new master by now, but not once had he actually met with the Darth. In reality, Sisska was not sure who Darth Virales really was. Gender, species, age, etc. It was all unknown to him, as he had only been sent on a variety of errands since swearing allegiance to his new master.

It was from Sisska's understanding that Virales was a massive recluse. Instead of having some form of estate on any of the planets the Sith Empire had conquerored, he remained aboard the massive starship at all times. All his servants and possessions were kept on the ship as well, so encounters with the Sith Lord was only allowed if he permitted it.

However, Sisska was finally going to encounter his new master. Upon arrival from his latest task, retrieving some sickly womp rat from a research facility on Alderan, he was informed by the flight deck that Virales wished to see him in his chambers.

The thing was, Sisska had not expected such a peculiar room to be his master's chamber. Unlike most Sith, who preferred darker colors to signify their connect to the dark side of the Force, the room was practically a sterile white. Furthermore, there was no decorative architecture, flora, or pieces of artistic value present, which most Sith kept as a symbol of grander intelligence or power. Rather, everything in the room appeared to be some form of medical equipment that was either producing some kind of substance or taking it, such was the case of the man with the tubes.

"Sisska I presume"

Startled, Sisska turned his head in the direction of the speaker. He was not met with an immediate figure, but he found some thin, plastic white sheets being held up by metal rods at the back of the room, hiding whatever was behind them. The lighting allowed the shadow of some Near-Human being to make itself noticeable for those on the other side of the sheets, just as Sisska was.

Sisska moved toward the sheets, but paused upon being addressed once more. "Remain where you are, I'm in the middle of something and would rather not have you interfere" the Darth declared.

Sisska obeyed, but noticed something peculiar. The man, which he could confirm by the deep, masculine tone he spoke in, had some sort of distortion in his voice. It sounded like it was muffled by some kind of mask. This wasn't uncommon for a Sith Lord, as they had a tendency to wear them for safety and cultural reasons. Thinking it over, it could have just been a breathing apparatus, as Sisska had been instructed to put on one himself when he was entering the room.

"You requested my presence, my lord?" the willing apprentice asked, kneeling even though his master would not see the action.

Following the motions of the shadow, Sisska saw the Sith Lord lift something up. Something that was dripping. It was more than likely that whatever was with Virales behind that curtain of white plastic, it was something that was once alive. "I wanted to speak to you about a few things. The first is that you have done a good job as my apprentice so far" Virales announced.

"You honor me, my lord" Sisska spoke with gratitude.

"Honor is not yet yours apprentice. The good job you have done has merely proven that my decision to spare you the fate of your previous master's items was for the best" Virales explained, making Sisska well aware that the Sith Lord was like others he had met, out for his own interests. Yet, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was still something more. While all Sith Lords held unique traits that those under them would say sets them apart from the rest, the reclusive nature and unexpected mercy Virales had displayed made Sisska curious.

"First off, I would like to ask how you feel about your service toward me" Virales asked, surprising Sisska. The opinion of an underling was never important, especially when the underling knew the wrong answer could spell death.

"I'm not sure I fully understand the question, my lord"

Dropping the object he had been holding previously, letting out a sickening splat, Virales lifted up something that Sisska could only assume to be the intestines of some creature. "I mean do you feel satisfied with the assignments I have given you? Do you feel you are utilizing your full potential? Perhaps my methods have a flaw that you have noticed. I want to know your opinion on this matter"

Uneasy about answering a question like this, even if Sisska himself was strong both in the Force and physically, he knew his master could overwhelm him in an instant if he so decided. "I... I feel that... I feel that I am being wasted on these menial errands"

As soon as he spoke, Sisska's eyes widened. He was shocked to hear himself say that. It was the truth, but he had no intention of actually saying it. Eyeing the shadow of his master, he could only assume the Sith Lord had used the Force to make lying impossible somehow.

Raising what Sisska could tell were scissors, Virales began cutting he object he was now holding. "Is that so? How would you feel your talents would be best used?" Virales asked, not at all offended that his apprentice believed him to be wasteful in any manner.

Feeling that any reason to lie now would be useless, Sisska took a breath and willingly spoke the truth. "My former master, Lord Varmith, focused on making me strong. My connection to the Force cannot be questioned and my physical might is unargued. So far, all I've been ordered to do is retrieve objects of your interest from poorly guarded buildings. I have more to offer than being an errand boy"

Placing the organic matter and scissors down, Virales reached for another object. This time, the shape of the shadow against the curtain indicated it was a scalpel, or at least some other sharp instrument. "Your concerns are understood apprentice. A man that cannot use a tool wisely should not be allowed to use it at all"

A smile spread on Sisska's face, feeling that the offer to speak up was not one that was going to be wasted. "However, as rational as your concerns may be, they are not necessarily valid"

The smile left Sisska's face as he questioned his new master. "What do you mean, my lord?"

"It's rather simple really" Virales replied, holding the apparent scalpel over his head. "A tool that is wasted should not be used in the first place. However, does a tool know what it's purpose is? Does a sword know it must kill? Does a torch know it must provide light? Furthermore, some tools have more than one purpose. A syringe can remove blood from a body, but it may also put medication into it"

The meaning to Virales' words began to sink in, making Sisska understand his master's earlier statement. "You're saying that my true abilities don't lie in the power to fight?"

"To some extent. Your previous master was right to train you in such a manner. What I am saying is that you can do more than just fight and kill, the only problem is that noone has taken the time to reveal and nurture your hidden talents" Virales informed the young pureblood.

"I see. I thank you for your attention, my lord" the apprentice gratefully said, lowering his head to the more experienced Sith.

"I do not need your words to express your gratitude, only your actions" Virales told his new servant. "To insure your hidden talent reaches the surface, and to make sure you provide your required service to me, I have a new mission for you. Another errand, but this one will also make use of your talent for combat"

"Whatever you wish for, I shall obtain for you, my lord"

While it was impossible to truly tell without seeing his master's face or hearing his voice without any form of distortion, Sisska swore he heard some manner of glee in what his master said next. "I know you will. That is why I have no doubts that you will obtain it, even if it is a live specimen that will fight back. But not just any specimen. I require... a Jedi"

Darth_Synh's Avatar

01.12.2012 , 10:43 PM | #3
Chapter 3: Surprise Attack

Three days had passed since Zura's last nightmare. Of course, in the void of space, there was no day or night. Time had no meaning. However, using the Galactic Standard of time, a total of seventy-two hours had passed.

Regardless, Zura was not one for details. What did matter for her was that, following her master's guidance, the dreams had stopped. There was no guarantee they would be gone forever, but even a few nights of undisturbed dreams was a gift to the Padawan.

If the freedom to sleep wasn't enough, the fact that Altronz had made good on his word to teach Zura new techniques made things even better. Training was slow, but the young Togruta was learning how to heal through the Force. It was an ability that not all Jedi had potential for, but Altronz was sure that Zura was capable of performing it.

After the three days of training, Zura was only able to heal minor wounds. Scratches and bruises were the only thing she could handle at the time, but with practice she would be able to mend broken bones and other severe wounds. The idea made her joyful, knowing that she would be able to help others. It was truly the best ability in her mind. The reason being that should the premonition of the tortured man ever come true, she would have the power to take away all his suffering.

While the joy she felt was something she never wanted to rid herself, she remembered that the Jedi Code taught against emotion, even those that made one feel good. Taking a breath, Zura sat on her bed and crossed her legs, entering a meditative state.

"There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is-"

Before she could finish the mantra, a violent explosion rocked the vessel, sending Zura to the floor. Shaken by the sudden action, Zura could only struggle to her feet, although her lack of trust in her own limbs at the moment forced her to rely on her hands as well. While the desire to figure out what was the cause of the explosion, Zura's first thoughts shifted to her master.

"Master Altronz! Are you alright!?" the Togruta cried out, crawling for the door. At first, she heard nothing. There was no response from her teacher, which brought fear into Zura's heart. After a moment though, Zura heard footsteps heading for her, convincing her that the Jedi Master was still alive. Scrambling to open the door, Zura was surprised to find that the door was opening right as she made a move to do so herself.

However, instead of finding her beloved master, she found a red-skinned Sith, glaring down at her already weakened form. Before she could make a move, the man backhanded her with a gloved hand, causing pain to spread across her face. For good measure, the Sith then grabbed her by the shoulder and spun around, throwing the Padawan behind him.

Taken back by the short succession of blows, Zura could do nothing by lie on the floor in pain. The thud of the Sith's boots following after her made every cell in Zura's body scream to move, but the blow to the face was causing her mind to lag. When one of those heavy boots planted itself right between her shoulder blades, Zura knew it was impossible for her to get out of this situation.

"Get off my Padawan!"

Suddenly, the weight on Zura's back disappeared as the image of Altronz's feet appeared a few feet before her. The Jedi Master had sent a wave of energy forward, tossing the Sith off his student and into the private quarters he had dragged Zura from. Wasting no time, Altronz retrieved his lightsaber, causing a blue blade of glowing plasma to appear from the hilt, and flew forward.

Despite his desire to check on his Padawan, Altronz knew he had to take care of the intruder before anything could be done for her. At the very least, as he leapt over her, Altronz commanded his student. "Wait at the escape pod! If I don't call for you in five minutes, get out of here!"

Zura didn't want to leave her master, but she knew that in her condition, she would only be a hindrance. Dragging herself through the small ship, Zura had to pass by the holoterminal at the center of the vessel. Zura was shocked to find that there was a boarding pod piercing the hull of the ship, right above the holoterminal itself. It seemed foolish to her. A ship of this size was too small to guarantee the boarding pod would have hit. If it had missed, then the occupant would have to wait for someone to retrieve them.

As Zura pondered the Sith's bold move of boarding the ship, Altronz was in the middle of a duel with the intruder. Red and blue blades clashed as the two exchanged blows. Being older, wiser, and generally more experienced, Altronz appeared to have the upper hand. The fact he gained the first blow advantage when he used the Force to send the Sith into the private quarters made things better.

Unfortunately for him, the Sith was no slouch. While Altronz knew just how to move his lightsaber, the Sith was much stronger than him. Even in his prime, Altronz knew that the Sith would have given him problems. Having been out of his prime by a few years, the Sith's youthful strength and passion was making him a match.

Altronz kept himself above the Sith by staying on the offensive and at a distance. Using a series of jabs directed at the Sith's midsection, he forced his opponent's movements to be either close range blocks or evasive maneuvers to avoid being skewered. Altronz even kept it intentionally easy to deflect or dodge, as he knew fear of death would only give the Sith power. He needed to stall until he could think of a plan.

Despite Altronz's skillful tactics, the Sith was not planning on waiting for him to make a new move. Throwing his arm out, Altronz could sense the Force gathering in the man's hand. Being much faster and controlling the Force, Altronz was quickly able to draw a defensive veil around himself, protecting himself from any Force-based attack the Sith was planning.

Sensing the accumulation of energy around Altronz, the Sith smiled, causing the older male to look at him in confusion. That's when he realized that the Sith wasn't directing an attack at him, but focusing on something else. Before he could blink, the blur of an object passing over his shoulder and into the Sith's hand made the trained Jedi fearful.

It was his Padawan's lightsaber. It must have fallen off her belt during the Sith's initial assault on the young Jedi. With a second weapon in hand, a green blade emerged from the hilt. Bringing it down on Altronz's lightsaber, the Sith swung his own forward, just barely clipping the Jedi's outstretched arm. The damage was minor, but it did all it needed to give the Sith an advantage.

Hissing in pain from the attack, the human combatant's grip on his weapon weakened. Combined with the force of the Sith pressing the stolen lightsaber's blade down on the Jedi Master's, the lightsaber was knocked out of Altronz's hand. With the advantage of two lightsabers to none, the Sith shot a leg out, landing a heavily clad foot in the his opponent's chest.

With the wind knocked out of him, Altronz stumbled backwards. He tried to focus on gathering the Force to help him fight, but the Sith was relentless. Striking with only the tips of the blades, the Sith landed blow after blow on the more experienced enemy. Scorch marks began to cover Altronz's limbs, until finally, he collapsed under the pain of the wounds.

The Sith sneered at the crumpled form of the Jedi Master, but realized something quickly. "Padawan! If you want your master to live, I suggest you come out right now!"

The Sith could feel that the Togruta hadn't yet left the ship, so now was his opportunity to draw her out. His declaration had two possible paths. He had overheard the master's command to leave the ship if he didn't get to her in time, so his defeat would be a definite sign she had to leave. However, Jedi were weak in their desire to save others. Hearing that her master was defeated, she would more than likely come out to confront the Sith. Given that she had no hope of beating him, but her surrender would provide some possibility of the human's survival.

For a minute, there was no response. The Sith began to believe that Zura may have actually given up on her master. The fact he could still senser her presence through the Force told him otherwise. Then, the unsteady footsteps of the stumbling of the female passenger confirmed the Sith's senses.

Leaning against a wall for support, Zura cast the Sith a glare and finally vocalized a reply. "Don't hurt him... I'll come willingly"

As the corners of his mouth curved up, the Sith answered her statement. "I don't care whether or not you're willing to come with me, I'll be taking you and your master"

Before Zura could protest the Sith's response, he cast a hand forward, imitating the same move Altronz used on him mere moments ago, sending Zura crashing into the wall behind her. This time, the impact caused her to lose consciousness, leaving the two Jedi defenseless to the Sith.

Nodding at a job well done, the Sith pulled a holocommunicator out from his robes. The image of protocol droid appeared. "Master, I am most glad to see you are alive. How may I serve you?" the protocol droid asked.

"I've completed my task and am ready to return to Darth Virales. I want you to contact his men and warn them that I will be arriving in a Republic ship. I don't want them to fire on me" the Sith ordered the mechanical entity.

"Of course master. I shall swiftly warn them of your approach" the droid responded before disappearing.

Pleased with himself, the Sith recovered Altronz's lightsaber to make sure it could not be used by the Jedi should he wake up, then moved to place both the light side wielding Force user in the cargo hold. The mission had been a success. More than a success really. He was asked to retrieve one Jedi and got two with less trouble than he would have suspected. Now all he had to do was return to his lord and he would be rewarded for his efforts.

Darth_Synh's Avatar

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"