Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer
×

There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
06.28.2012 , 06:13 AM | #161
97. In which two couples discuss (V/VII)

This entry and seven-part series contains spoilers for the Sith Inquisitor Belsavis line. Overall class arc significance has been omitted.


A sister shares feelings and more,
A warm and supportive rapport.
For some, anyway.
For others, let’s say
That the sibling dynamic is poor.



Jaesa was ready with a hyperspace route charted when the party got on board. They cleared the Jedi transport before the ship exploded entirely, stayed at sublight for a few moments on ghost-Quinn’s orders, then streaked away.

Quinn prompted 2V to do something at the nav computer. “Video taken,” Quinn murmured. “Ship blown up. Darth Marr’s objectives met.”

Nalenne faced him. “You know I hate it when you leave me out of the loop on your dramatic-entrance thing.”

He turned away from the console to face her. “You know I hate it when you throw resources away for a strategically worthless personal goal, especially a resource as valuable as yourself.”

“I’d do it again.”

He got that stubborn look. “So would I.”

“I love you.”

Quinn hesitated. “This isn’t the time,” he said. Then he turned to Niselle. “My lord, it seems terribly convenient that you spontaneously developed a reconstruction idea when you needed a bargaining chip.”

Niselle met his blue eyes with her own bleach-pale ones. “It didn’t occur to me for the longest time,” she said languidly. “And then I didn’t know whether it would work. I still don’t. But in either case I rather enjoyed having the knowledge of a hope my sister will never have.”

“Sorry,” Andronikos told Nalenne. “If I’d known earlier how you…how serious it was…but to be honest, I always kinda figured you two were doomed anyway. More I thought about it, less I thought lifting a finger to help him would be a plus for anybody.” He scratched his ear. “I was just about coming round again. With Servant Nine and today and all. But Captain ‘This isn’t the time’ isn’t exactly helping his own case here.”

“I hardly think you’re in a position to complain about someone being insufficiently demonstrative,” said Quinn.

“Hey,” said Andronikos. “I could say it. Don’t care who hears it, either.” He looked at Quinn, then Nalenne.

“I already said it,” said Nalenne, “I’m fine.”

“And I can say it any time I want,” purred Niselle. “Seems the Imperial is the cold one here, but we already knew that.”

Quinn scowled. “Neither of you has said it at all!”

Niselle and Andronikos exchanged unreadable looks. “After you, Captain Intrepid-Leader-Man,” said Andronikos.

“I should point out that I diverted a destroyer from its actual assignment to be here for no purpose other than to assist her,” said Quinn.

“Psht. I diverted Nalenne to help my girl. That’s firepower,” said Andronikos.

“I voluntarily helped my brat sister for my guy,” said Nalenne.

Everyone looked at Niselle.

She shrugged irritably. “I haven’t killed mine yet, have I?”

Andronikos laughed and stroked her head. “That still puts you ahead of some in our present company.”

“So as long as we’re talking about changing the subject,” Nalenne said loudly, “I came here today for one reason, and it wasn’t to compare devotion checklists with you guys. Nis, we had a deal.”

“And I’ll follow through, Lenny,” said Niselle. “If only because the entertainment value of your throwing yourself to the flame back there was beyond anything I could have imagined. That was pathetic.”

“It was deeply inadvisable, my lord,” said Quinn.

“Had a certain punch the destroyer lacked,” muttered Andronikos. “But yeah, for a payoff that’s not even guaranteed? It was royally stupid.”

“Start talking,” said Nalenne.

“Well,” said Niselle, “it was an ancient Rakatan device on Belsavis…”

She described the apparatus: A ‘Mother machine,’ Ashaa, an ancient AI originally designed to create Force-sensitive species in a Rakatan effort to understand and reverse their loss of the same. Its biological construction tools had managed to reconstruct Niselle. It might be able to do the same for Quinn.

It was Andronikos Nalenne smiled at when Niselle finished. “I know she wouldn’t have talked without a word from you. I owe you.”

“Don’t think I’ll forget it,” grinned Andronikos.

“You owe me, too,” Niselle said petulantly.

“Get your man to ask nicely and I’ll consider it,” said Nalenne.

“I’m calling ahead and telling Ashaa to kill you when you get there.”

“Nis! Okay, fine, I owe you.”

“That’s better.” Niselle struggled a little against the Jedi-crafted shackles binding her wrists behind her back. “Now is anyone going to untie me?”
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
06.28.2012 , 10:08 AM | #162
98. In which Nalenne and Quinn go to Belsavis (VI/VII)

This entry and seven-part series contains spoilers for the Sith Inquisitor Belsavis line. Overall class arc significance has been omitted.


Rakatans are commonly known
For screwing each ‘slave race’ they ‘own.’
Their old machinations
Doomed species and nations;
Now each struggles onward alone.



Nalenne and Quinn followed Niselle’s directions into the depths of the old Rakatan prison on Belsavis, well beyond where Republic or Empire had ever established operations.

Niselle’s recommended route ran through every possible frenzied riot on the way. That was intentional, Nalenne was sure of it.

But in time they reached a high cliff wall with a narrow fissure in it. Within moments of stepping in, the cave resolved itself into a smooth square stone tunnel. Unfamiliar runes ran along the wall.

“So what are the odds this AI kills us on sight?” said Nalenne.

“Based on previous patterns, a ninety-three per cent chance that it will try, my lord.”

“Well, here’s hoping there’s enough of it left to help you after.”

“Try negotiating first. Please.”

They rounded a corner into a great hall, dimly illuminated by bluish lights here and there. A raised circle of stone stood in the middle. The edges of both the room and the circle were lined with computer terminals.

“My lord. A moment,” said Quinn.

“Hmm? What is it?”

“There remains…a great deal that’s better left unsaid. But...I am not unaware of what you have risked and what you have done for me.”

She turned her attention away from the room’s machinery and fully to Quinn. “It was nothing,” she told him.

“You always think that. It’s what makes you so dangerous when someone you care for is threatened.”

“And, see, that’s the look I would burn half the galaxy to earn.”

“Don’t!” He straightened up a little more. “I never know when you’re being serious.”

“I would grab a torch right now if I thought it would help. But for you, I’ll behave.”

He shook his head. “It’s like turning an earthquake on and off. Every now and then you do listen to me.”

“Of course I listen. You’re one of mine.”

He considered her for a long moment. “Nalenne, there is a great deal that’s better left unsaid. But I do love you. And have, and will.”

That feels…weirder than expected. “Yeah,” she said, once her voice started working again. “Yeah, I figured.”

“I am grateful you didn’t force the issue in front of your sister.”

“Like I would give her the satisfaction. You know she would turn any declaration of love into something horrible just for fun.”

“I agree, but, ah, you declared it anyway.”

Nalenne grinned sheepishly. “Yeah, well. I was excited.” She turned toward the consoles at the great raised circle. “Now let’s fix this.” And with that, she picked a button at random and pressed it.

“…why that one, my lord?”

“You don’t want to know.”

Judging by the sudden wave of disapproval, Nalenne guessed that Quinn understood her reasoning.

“I guess I should say now, just in case this thing goes berserk and kills us both, that I love you, too.”

Other buttons around the circle flickered and lit up. And then a holo image formed above the circle. Heck of an old holoterminal. I gotta get me one of these.

The image that showed up flickered through multiple species before resolving into a Rakata. “Child. I am Ashaa,” it said in a gentle feminine voice.

“Nalenne, sister of Niselle. You remember her?”

“How could we forget? It was Niselle’s kindness that loosed us from our restraining bonds.”

“Did you just put ‘Niselle’ and ‘kindness’ in the same sentence?”

“Something is wrong here,” muttered Quinn.

Ashaa smiled beatifically. “She called to tell me of your coming. You need my help?”

“Yes, uh.” Nalenne dug out her sample case. “You see this guy here, and how noncorporeal he is. I was wondering…if you could take Niselle apart piece by piece and put her back together, and you could generate your own species apparently from scratch or at least just from DNA, can you reassemble him?”

Ashaa considered. “Perhaps. We will require the sample you carry, and to save the pattern for our own research.”

“Save anything you want.”

Quinn shifted ever so slightly. “Is that…wise, my lord?”

“At worse she uses it to construct a super race of genius tacticians for her own inscrutable purposes. What could go wrong?”

“I don’t think I need to answer that.”

Nalenne turned back to the hologram. “Just like that? Take DNA and a ghost nobody can figure out, and you can just…?”

“I am a powerful program, child. And creating life from incomplete beginnings is what I was made to do.” She looked to Quinn. “Please, child. To the chamber at the top of those stairs.”

Nalenne placed her sample case in a recess that had lit up a couple of consoles over, then ordered herself to hold back. Quinn looked to her, nodded once in his best stoic-soldier way, then climbed a steep staircase to a chamber no larger than a stasis cell.

“This will probably work,” said Ashaa, and thrust her hand forward, shooting an impossibly strong arc of lightning to a contact at the top of the chamber.

Nalenne’s stomach dropped. “Probably?”

The storm scorched the air, shook the floor, flashed a blinding white, and lowered a coruscating column to hit Quinn. It actually seemed to hit him, as in interact, as in inflict pain.

“UPON CAREFUL CONSIDERATION, I WANT YOU TO STOP DOING THAT.” Nalenne squeezed her fists, hard, and watched. Quinn fell to his knees, then hands. Still the lightning spat and streamed.

The instant the storm subsided, Nalenne sprinted to his side and knelt. She reached for him and found solid flesh. She hoped it was flesh. Any other material could get really gross, really fast.

Quinn coughed and struggled to breathe. Nalenne resisted the urge to pull him close; disrupting the first few breaths he had taken in a year was probably a bad idea. Instead she looked over to Ashaa’s projection. “I owe you,” she said. “A lot.” Probably, assuming this isn’t one huge mass of cancer or something.

The figure smiled. “A mother gives to her children without thought for reward. There is nothing you have that I need. And really, do I look like I have anything better to do with my time?”

“Wow. I won’t argue.”

“Good. Still, one-time deal. It was a toss-up between helping you and throwing you into the Esh-kha arena for some blood sport, I never did like your species. You’re lucky your sister called ahead.”
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
06.28.2012 , 10:11 AM | #163
99. In which Nalenne and Quinn verify things (VII/VII)

This entry and seven-part series contains spoilers for the Sith Inquisitor Belsavis line. Overall class arc significance has been omitted.


A long wait may batter hope flat
And drive home frustration, at that.
Once free, love’s less aery
And more sublunary,
But let’s not blame John Donne for that.



With some effort, Quinn pushed back up onto his knees. And immediately started tugging at his uniform collar to make some mystifying adjustment. “I really thought that was going to drive me insane,” he muttered. “This whole time, I couldn’t fix it.”

“Malavai?” she hazarded.

He seemed briefly surprised to see her there. His hands stayed on his collar. “Nalenne. Does the piping on this side line up with – “

She slammed into him and kissed him, hard, marveling at his familiar scent and feel and – she checked – taste. No use wasting time. “If you’re going to argue, make it fast,” she told him, doing her level best to pull off his uniform while maintaining maximum continuous body contact.

“Ashaa?”

“I can leave,” said the AI, and its image vanished.

“Good,” said Nalenne. “Piping’s definitely not lined up. Any other objections?”

Quinn somehow dismantled the better part of Nalenne’s body armor faster than she herself knew how to do, a feat made doubly impressive by the fact that he had never had the chance to touch this particular mass of plates and buckles before. “No.”

“Great. Make it rough.”

*

In time the two of them returned to the Helicarrier. The crew was gathered in the reading nook when they arrived. Nalenne reached for Quinn’s hand and squeezed while everybody looked up at them.

“Bloody hell,” growled Pierce

“Yes! Pay up,” Jaesa told him, in a tone of supreme satisfaction.

“I knew the death thing was too good to last,” sighed Vette.

“Sith clan is whole,” said Broonmark. “Alas, dumb and all.”

“Welcome home,” said Nalenne, turning to beam at Quinn.

“If you’ll excuse me,” said Quinn. “If I’m returning to live status, I have a great deal of paperwork to do.” He hurried toward the bridge.

“Malavai. Not yet.”

He turned around and gave her a troubled look.

“I want to talk. You know, about some unsaid stuff that maybe we can say now.”

His gaze flicked toward the bridge and back. “My lord…”

“My quarters. Talking. Now.”

“My lord, I am not yet quite physically ready for one of our traditional arguments.”

It was a moment before Nalenne worked that out. “Oh! We can fight properly now! Um, not right right now. But in general. Yes!”

Vette made a face. “I am not hearing this.”

“Quiet, you. Malavai, I’ll try to be nice. And I’ll let you go in time to file your stuff before close of business, Kaas City local time. Okay?”

Quinn raised his eyebrows. “You will?”

“I will. Promise.”

He seemed relieved. “Thank you, my lord. Lead the way.”

Once they were safely sequestered in Nalenne’s quarters, Pierce sighed and slouched. “Vette,” he said.

“Yeah?”

“Get our ice cream back to the secret cooler, eh? Otherwise you know the captain’ll be at it within hours, and probably right back to blaming you.” (*)

“Good thinking.”
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
06.28.2012 , 10:16 AM | #164
100. Epilogue: In which things are no longer normal

The bleeding hearts swear that it’s true,
The whole’s more than all parts can do.
They say to belong
Makes man and group strong…
They clearly weren’t watching this crew.



“You’re settling in okay?”

“It is strange to have to eat and sleep again, my lord. My productivity has plummeted.”

“I could kill you again if you liked it better that way.”

“No! I will adapt to the new work schedule.”

“Good. Don’t you forget the advantages of the mortal coil.”

“I don’t think you would let me, my lord.”

“Mmm, correct.”

*

Pierce stood up from his seat in the mess, stretched, and swung his arms wide. One huge hand impacted with Quinn’s face. “Oops,” said Pierce. “Keep forgetting you’re actually there.”

Quinn rubbed his nose and scowled. “Your forgetfulness will be noted in your personnel file. The Wrath has applied for my commission to be restored, you know. I expect that to come through any day now.”

“Maybe you’ll outrank me again, Quinn, but you’ll always be outclassed.”

“Forgetful and delusional. Noted for your file, Lieutenant.”

“Screw off, Captain.”

*

“Vette.”

“Quinny?”

”Stop that.”

“Take it up with the boss.”

“I was going to say, I’ve started work on a project that may interest you, though I regret it already. It’s a difficult task, but given time, I or one of my contacts may be able to construct something to emulate your slave collar code long enough to get it off of you.”

“Wow. You would do that for me?”

“Of my own accord? No, of course not. But I am somewhat indebted to the Wrath, and she asked.”

“This…may be the first time I have ever been glad of your existence.”

“You’re lucky she made it a direct order.”

*

Jaesa walked up to Quinn and hugged him, hard.

He stood stock-still. “What are you doing, Jaesa?” he asked coldly.

“Indicating my affection and my happiness that you’re back with us. It’s something humans do.” She backed off and smiled winsomely. He glared at her. “Things around here are a lot less awful when the Wrath is happy, you know. And that’s when she’s with you.”

“Don’t tell me about how I’m improving your Jedi life.”

“Of course, captain.”

“One more thing. The holovid nights in the Wrath’s bed will stop.”

“You could join us.”

“You will stay out of her quarters!”

Jaesa only smiled. “That’s the captain I remember.”

*

Broonmark jumped out to block Quinn’s path in the hallway. “Brrroglkgl blorp blogggg.”

Quinn frowned up at him. “I still have no desire whatsoever to understand what you’re saying.”

“He’s saying that if you hurt me again he will rip you limb from limb and find somebody to devour your soul,” explained Nalenne, coming up behind Quinn.

“I’m going to have to ask the crew to stop making death threats against me. If I am to effectively run the ship in your absence…”

Nalenne leaned around Quinn. “It’s okay, Broonmark. He hurts me, you kill him.”

“My lord!”

“The problem won’t come up, now will it?”

He seemed about to object some more, but he stopped himself, clenched his jaw, scowled at her. “Of course not.”

“Thought not. Come on, I came to say the bridge console’s bringing in a job from one of your military friends.”

They hurried together to read over the assignment. Nalenne laid her hand on Quinn’s as they read, and he moved to catch her thumb with his. When she finished the briefing and looked up, she found him simply watching her with the faintest suggestion of a smile.

“Ready, Malavai?”

“Always, my lord.”

- fin -
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
06.28.2012 , 10:23 AM | #165
And there you have it! Nalenne has finally ejected the undead guy from her life…er, ejected the undead but welcomed the guy, or something…anyway, she can finally return to the comfortable binary of "Everybody I know is either dead and out of the way or alive and capable of being killed."

And I finally invented a set of circumstances under which I would allow that snake back onto my ship.

From here, Nalenne’s going back to work, once again driven by a love of violent action and directed by a strategist who is considerably more level-headed than she is. Will Niselle try to make her life hell? (Yes.) Will wacky legal complications arise as everybody who ever disliked Quinn attempts to sabotage his official reintegration into society? (Yes.) Will Pierce be mysterious, Vette be benignly manipulative, Jaesa be conflicted, and Broonmark be smarter than the people who’ve seen his crazed blood frenzies give him credit for? (Yes.) Will Jedi Master Rho continue to threaten the cruel ideals of the Empire? (Yes.) Will Nalenne and Quinn struggle as their mutual admiration seeks to override the frequent disagreements stemming from the fundamental discord between passion-oriented and responsibility-oriented value systems? (Yes.) But the details of those stories are a concern for another day, if ever. What matters now is that Nalenne finally got back what she had before that whole mutually botched murder thing. And Quinn can finally requisition and wear an up-to-date uniform.

You know that expression "I didn’t start out to write a novel, but…"? That’s me. Figured I was biting off four or five sketches a month ago. Just finished chewing a hundred. It’s been fun!

Thanks for reading, and may the Force free you!
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

iamthehoyden's Avatar


iamthehoyden
06.28.2012 , 11:14 AM | #166
/applause

Brava!! Brava!!

Thank you for making a good chunk of my reading time very enjoyable
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

kabeone's Avatar


kabeone
06.28.2012 , 12:03 PM | #167
Take a bow! That was incredible.

Earthmama's Avatar


Earthmama
06.28.2012 , 12:41 PM | #168
Standing ovation!! Masterful work! Loved every passage!

DarthRamette's Avatar


DarthRamette
06.28.2012 , 02:00 PM | #169
Well done!! I am glad Quinn finally came back in full. Well written, funny to the end. I do hope you write a sequel.

Soteirian's Avatar


Soteirian
06.28.2012 , 07:14 PM | #170
This is truly amazing work. I have enjoyed the story development very much. You are an extremely talented writer.