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(L,F&E 98) Knight Fork-ed

kalenath's Avatar

08.22.2012 , 03:42 PM | #1
((Chronologically, this follows the events of Grief is Pain Leaving the Mind. Story wise, well, you will see. For those who do not know, a 'Fork' -not the utensil- is a chess move that allows a piece to threaten more than one opposing piece. It is usually used to deny an opponent the chance to save an important piece. Commonly used with knights, it can be done with any piece. Even pawns. To beat it, you either take the forking piece if possible or sacrifice a piece.))

<An undisclosed location>

She was awake, but not. She could not get her head out of the fuzziness that surrounded it. Everything was blurry, indistinct. She felt thing around her, but she had no names for them. During the light times, there would be noises, and sometimes things would happen to her. Some of the things were unpleasant, others were okay. During the dark times, she found herself drifting. But always the same cold words pulled her back into the fog.

"Maybe in your next life you won't hurt my kids."

She didn't understand what that meant. She didn't understand much of anything actually. Sometimes, there were other words from nearby, but by the time she could focus on them, the speaker was gone. Nothing hurt, but... Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. She tried to focus on what was wrong, but it wouldn't come to mind. It was so frustrating. But suddenly, everything changed.

She was aware of soft crying. She sighed. Pain was fact of life, grief likewise. But if she could help whoever was crying, she felt bound to. Jedi as a whole strove to move beyond their emotions, to be more than their feelings. It didn't always work and she was no better than others at times. But she had always tried to help others, that was her calling, and her curse.

"Hello?" She asked, then paused. Why was her voice so rough, so weak? What had happened? Why couldn't she remember? A gasp came from nearby.

"Master?" A young voice sounded and a small face appeared in her field of vision. "Master Ashla Ti?" The Kel Dor child sounded scared.

"D...Diseree?" She asked, unsure. It sounded like Diseree Mak, but hadn't the female been human? Or...something? No, no she remembered the Sitolon had transferred Diseree back to her Kel Dor body, before... something... happened.

"Oh Master!" The child said, sobbing in relief. "Thank the Maker! You woke up! Qulrrg! She is awake."

"This one hears." An odd voice sounded. She could not see where it was coming from. "This one recommends you moderate your joy. There are other patients sleeping." Her eyes went wide as an insectoid form entered her field of view. "Ah, Jedi Ashla Ti. You are conscious."

"Yes." She said slowly. "I think..." She couldn't... Ashla Ti? Yes, that was her name.

"Are you in pain?" The odd alien asked, in what was probably meant to be a gentle tone.

"No." Ashla Ti said dubiously. Something was wrong, something was off. Very off. "What...? What happened?"

"There are certain people you should never anger, Jedi." The healer said as it touched her arm. She was suddenly falling slowly. "You did."

"Wait..." Ashla Ti said slowly, carefully as she fought to stay conscious. "Diseree, where are we?"

"Screwed." Diseree said sadly as she touched an odd headband that circled her head. Ashla Ti focused on it and then the lethargy that had been building vanished. Diseree was wearing a Force neutralizer! "Master..." The young Kel Dor said sadly. "I..."

"Diseree?" Ashla Ti could not keep the edge of fear from her voice no matter how she tried. "Where are we?"

"We are prisoners of the Bladeborn, Master. I... I don't know where." Diseree said sadly. "They are... upset with us. For what we did." The odd alien touched her again and whatever it did was dragging her under again.

"We had to do what we did, Diseree." Ashla TI was saying as her eyelids closed despite her best efforts and she nodded off. "We had to..."

"I know." Diseree said as a hand traced her brow. "I know."


Diseree Mak could not bear to leave her master's side. The Togruta looked awful. pale and wan. Even in sleep, the pain she had suffered shone. A hand touched her arm.

"Time is up." A neutral voice said soberly. "Come."

"I..." Diseree sighed and nodded. "I know. I... just..." She looked up into the armored form's eyes and cringed from what she saw there. Complete ambivalence. He didn't care if she lived or died.

"What you and she did was wrong, DIseree." A young but stern voice sounded. "Even Jedi should know better. The end does not always justify the means. What you did was wrong. You know this."

"Ina... Please..." Diseree begged as the guard took her arm in a gentle, but irresistible grip. "Don't... Please..." She begged.

"Be glad we are not Istara's Bladeborn." In-Ta-Mal said sadly. "They would likely put you on the Rack, child or no. We won't." She commanded as Diseree shook her head. "Diseree... Do not make us hurt you. Please. We need to punish you for what you did, but we do not want to hurt you."

"Ina, I... Please, not again... No..." Diseree begged as the guard lifted her off her feet. He carried her towards... She started screaming even before he laid her on the bed. Before the straps came down. Before the headphones went on. Before the sensory deprivation devices started humming. Before she fell, screaming pleas, curses and words she couldn't hear into formless nothingness. Again.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.23.2012 , 01:44 AM | #2
Ina-Ta-Mal stared at the small form on the bed and shuddered a bit as Diseree jerked in her bonds and screamed, but obviously could not heard her screams through the sound cancelling headphones she wore.

"Keep a close eye on her." She commanded. The Bladeborn in armor nodded to her and sat by the bed. "We do not want to drive her mad, simply 'explain' to her and her master the consequences of what they did. Ten minutes. Unless there are complications, wait ten minutes and then pull her out. If there are complications, stop the machines and get her to Qulrrg." The Bladeborn nodded again. "If not... let the punishment run it's course, then... Get her to Qulrrg for treatment and then to her cell." He saluted her and Ina just sighed. "You don't need to salute me, Cadas..."

"Begging your pardon, Ma'am." The youthful Bladeborn said gently. He wasn't that much older than she was."Yes I do." Ina sighed, arguing with Bladeborn was generally a losing proposition. She shook her head as she walked out of the small room and into a larger one. The soundproofing was excellent, no hint of what was happening in the small room leaked out past the door when it closed.

"Qurllg?" Ina asked softly as the healer nodded to her. "Status?"

"The Jedi part of the Togruta's mind woke." The Gand said with a shrug. "Unexpected, but not unforeseen."

"This is going to complicate things." Ina said with a sigh. "Is she awake?"

"She is." The Gand replied. "She was very distressed, but has calmed."

"Okay." Ina said, squaring her shoulders. "I will talk to her." She walked to another door and smiled a little. Teacher's paranoia had paid off in spades. There was literally no way at all that anyone on Correllia could figure out that the small, innocuous compound of harmless loonies on the surface hid a much larger and much more dangerous secret beneath it. The place still felt empty though. Ina looked to the side and dozens of doors spread off the central corridor. Only a few of which had occupants. She knocked. "Ashla Ti, you decent?"

"Am I ever?" The sharp voice of her friend came from inside and Ina opened the door with a wider smile. A Togruta sat in her favorite chair, reading a datapad. She wore a patient gown and had an IV running into one arm from a stand beside her chair. Two tubes ran into her nose from apparatus nearby. A blanket was over her legs. Her face lit up with a smile that faded a bit as Ina came in and shut the door. "Is... Um..."

"Diseree is not going to die, Ashla Ti, or go mad." Ina promised her friend as she looked around. Other than the chair, the only other furniture was a hospital style bed. She made a mental note to get more furnishings. "We won't let her. But she has to be punished. She kidnapped those people from Cranna, just handed them to Firdlump to experiment on. That is not even counting what the Jedi seer did." Ina actually shuddered in memory. Just the reports had been bad enough.

"I know." The older female said sadly. "Cranna would kill her. Sith would kill her. Jedi would imprison her, make her reflect on her actions. Bladeborn choose a different way. I..." She shook her head. "This disturbs me. It really does."

"I know." Ina said as she came to the side of the chair. "How are you? Jedi Master Ashla Ti woke up?"

"Yeah." The Togruta made a face. "I don't know... One moment she wasn't there, the next she was and I got shunted to the back. Rude." She looked at Ina and sighed. "You know what you have to do."

"Ashla Ti..." Ina started, but paused as the Togruta glared at her. "I..."

"Ina, please..." Ashla Ti said as she put her book down. "I am in this body but not in control. She did horrible things. Did she have cause? Yes. Did it turn out okay in the end? Maybe. But what she did was unforgivable. She stole sick people -including children- from healers to bait a trap, Ina. I will not allow her to escape because of my weakness. I will not." Iron sounded in the Togruta's voice now. "Do it." Ina slumped in place and then nodded.

"I am sorry." Ina said as she pulled a Force neutralizer from a pocket. "This is wrong. It is cruel."

"And needed." Ashla Ti said steeling herself as Ina stepped closer. "She will try to escape. She is extremely powerful. And if she can do what she did kids...She is capable of anything." The Togruta did not flinch as Ina strapped the device on, locked it in place and turned it on. Then she gasped, tears starting to fall as the Force faded from her.

"Easy... Easy..." Ina said gently, holding her friend as Ashla Ti cried. "There has got to be a better way. There has to be."

"Maybe." But the Togruta's voice held no hope. "I was watching. I was screaming at her to stop, to not do what she did. She... put me to sleep before we reached Alderaan. I woke up when the man you call Teacher broke the tank. It... What she did was evil."

"You did not do it, my friend." Ina said striving for calm in herself and her friend. "Now... did you eat your lunch?"

"Ina...Always the mothering one, huh?" Ashla Ti said with a resigned soft groan. "Couldn't... Couldn't keep it down." She said with a sigh. "I guess the burns haven't healed yet."

"You were burned inside your body, Ashla Ti. The fluid that the power flowed through was in your lungs, in your stomach, everywhere." Ina said gently. "What Will Kalenath did to you..." The Jedi felt anger come and let it fall away. "...hurt you very badly."

"She deserves it." Ashla Ti said with a snarl. "What she did was wrong."

"Maybe." ina said in a calm tone. "But you do not. You, my friend, are innocent." The Cerean said sadly. "I will start the feeding tube running again. I had hoped you had healed enough." She hit a control and something started whirring. In moments a ghastly looking pink paste started flowing through one of the tubes into the Togruta's nose.

"Me too." Ashla Ti said with a shudder. "I know Qulrrg is busy, but I cannot wait to get off this support. And the plumbing..." She said with a shudder.

"How are you doing?" Ina asked as she sat on the bed nearby. "You have to be hurting too."

"I..." Ashla Ti looked away from her friend and stared at something only she could see. "She was just so sure of herself. 'It is needed.' she said. Just that. As if what she did could be excused by that."

"You hate her." Ina said slowly, cautiously. "Ashla Ti..."

"Yes." Ashla Ti said softly, her face falling. "I hate her. I was created to fill a void in her mind when hers was imprisoned, but... I... I would have given up myself. To save Jen."

"Jen?" Ina asked. "That is the nurse? The one Bob didn't know had the Force when he tried to give it to her?"

"Yeah." Ashla Ti said sadly. "She and I... We became friends. She tended me a lot. I was..." She sniffled a little. "I was not a good patient. She had horrors in her past, and I had them in my present. We wanted to help each other and we did. But then...I had to choose. I chose to help my friend. I didn't expect to wake up, and certainly not as an unwilling rider in a Jedi Master's body." Ashla Ti sighed deeply. "She will wake again. I can't keep it from happening."

"I will talk to some people." Ina said gently. "How about you, are you up to teach today?"

"Ina..." Ashla Ti said sourly. "If she takes over in the middle of class, how are the kids going to handle that?"

"Lia has asked to sit in." Ina said soberly. "She wants to hear the Republic side of the Battle of Korus Major. She can help."

"Lia...?" Ashla TI said with a smile. "Yes, yes she can. Um... Ina... Are we going to be ready? For..." She trailed off as Ina grimaced.

"I don't know." Ina admitted. "But we do have space, and lots of people to help. And it is not as if Teacher didn't WARN us about this. It will be a pain, but we will be ready when Istara gets here."

"Good." Ashla Ti said softly. "I don't remember facing Istara, but I know Jedi Master Ashla Ti did and got her chrono cleaned. I am not looking forward to this."

"Istara has perspective we lack." Ina said sadly. "I hope so anyway. I don't know if we can join her or not, but I do not want our sects to fight each other. That would be... bad..."

"Putting it very mildly." The Togruta said with a shudder. "We would be slaughtered. If we were lucky anyway..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.23.2012 , 05:57 PM | #3
This was intolerable. She knew who she was now. She was Ashla Ti, Togruta Jedi Master of the Jedi Order. She was a seer, a being who focused her talents in the skills of Divination. She remembered her childhood. She had been found at an early age by the Jedi and raised among them. Her teachers had realized early how skilled she was and had focused her training on honing her ability to remember and parse the visions the Force gave her. She knew, to within millimeters, how powerful she was. So why was it, every time she started to regain control of herself, something shoved her back?

The Force was not answering her in this odd limbo place she was stuck in. She had been trying to 'see' what had happened after the mess on Alderaan, but nothing. She tried, again, so feel what was going on and sighed as nothing happened. Then, something did.

She came back to herself sitting behind a desk. She was in a wheelchair, and she could feel things on and around her. Odd things. Tubes were in her arm and she felt others in her nose. Nothing hurt, but... She looked up and stopped short as she saw ten pairs of young eyes staring at her. All with expressions of anger and disgust.

"Children..." A hard voice spoke from nearby and Ashla Ti found her eyes drawn with the children to where an older girl sat. She was clad in brown armor and her eyes... Ashla Ti shivered a bit. "I think Ashla Ti needs some 'alone' time." The girl said dispassionately. "We will discuss the chapter we learned today in a group later. Go, get lunch. Then we will start studying Kata Four." Ashla Ti did not move as the children all nodded to the girl in armor and quietly left the room. The girl waited until they were gone before speaking again. "We wondered when you would take control again, Jedi Master Ashla Ti. I had hoped it would take longer."

"You are Bladeborn." Ashla Ti asked, drawing on her years of training to remain calm. "Where am I? Where is Diseree?"

"You are a prisoner. You don't need to know where you are." The girl said evenly. "Your Padawan is currently asleep in her cell. We haven't hurt her, although she likely wishes we would."

"What?" Ashla Ti felt faint and shook herself. "Why? What have you done to her? She was acting on MY orders. If you must punish anyone, punishme."

"Funny." The Bladeborn said evenly. "She said nearly the exact same thing. Like I say, we are not going to hurt her. But we are going to punish her for what she did. Cranna wanted her head on a pike, and I am not even going to go into what the Kalenath family wants done to you for what you did." The hard, tough warrior actually shuddered. "Diseree will be fine. The question on everyone's mind right now, what we do with you."

"Lia?" A soft. worried voice sounded from the door and Ashla Ti turned her head slowly to see... The Jedi blanched as she saw who came in. "You okay?" The absurdly young looking being in robes asked.

"I am fine, Ina." Lia said quietly, she rose and her hand was on her sword hilt. "Just fine."

"Ina?" Ashla Ti exclaimed. "Ina-Ta-Mal? What? How...?" She blanched as the young Cerean looked at her, no, looked through her. "Ina...?" She asked softly.

"I thought I knew you, Master Ashla Ti." Ina said sadly. "I really did. But then you stole sick children to help a monster. We only got two of them back. Cina and Jan are both dead thanks to you. As are Jolia and her mate Miik...Innocents." Ashla Ti recoiled as if struck and Ina stepped forward. "You dare to call yourself a Jedi? A seer even? No... You are no better than Vandar or Firdlump. The end always justifies the means, right?"

"He had to be stopped." Ashla Ti said faintly. "Everything I 'saw'... Ina, you have to believe me, if there had been any other choices, I would have taken them."

"I don't have to believe anything you say." Ina said relentlessly. "Maybe you believe it, but that does not matter now. What matters is that a number of innocents -men, women and children- were taken in by Firdlump, enslaved and are now dead directly due to your actions."

"What?" Ashla TI asked, her voice stunned. "That... that is not possible... I..."

"You handed them all to him, all wrapped up nicely." Ina said savagely. "Kili is less than a year old! Firdlump's scum put her parents in a war droids, Ashla Ti!" The Togruta Jedi felt tears start to fall as Ina pressed close. The Cerean's voice never changed pitch, but the disgust was evident. "Firdlump captured Istara and the Bladeborn went after her. A lot of them died rescuing Istara. And... guess what? A bunch of war droids were trashed, killing the pilots including both of Kili's parents! You orphaned her. A lot of Firdlump's other slaves died too. They had no chance against what they faced, and you put them there." Now the Cerean's voice held disgust. "Some Jedi. If you are one still."

"No..." Ashla Ti said slowly. "I am a Jedi. I won't let you break me."

"I am not going to break you." Ina said with a snort. "I can't help you. If that kind of thing is acceptable to you, then..." The Cerean shrugged. "Then you are beyond saving."

"It wasn't acceptable!" Ashla Ti snapped. "It was the only choice! They would have died in Cranna's care. You know this."

"Kili might have." Ina said sadly. "Cranna was going to put them back in coldsleep until she could find a way to help them. The baby might not have survived the transition into hibernation. The thing is, Ashla Ti, Cranna told Kili's parents everything. That Hutt of all beings asked for their choice. They wanted to go to sleep with their baby. She was having an extra large coldsleep pod rigged for the three of them. She made her decision after getting all the information, unlike someone else who had a trance and decided to hand Firdlump a whole pile of slaves. And you have the gall to wonder why Cranna is mad at you?" Ina asked sourly.

"I knew she would be." Ashla Ti said with a shiver. "I knew my life was forfeit for what I did to Brianna. But he had to be stopped."

"Did he?" Ina asked softly. "And it had to be by you." It wasn't a question.

"No." Ashla Ti said slowly, trying to remain calm. "But he was out of control, Ina. tell me I lie!"

"You don't." Ina replied. "He told Istara a lot of things, afterwards, He was going to kill Special Branch agents until his wife stopped him, which she would have. But something happened. Do you know why he totally lost control? Why he went to Alderaan and set in motion events that have killed and will kill a lot of people?" Her eyes bored into the seer's skull and her voice was impossibly cold when she spoke again. "Because someone -one guess who- kidnapped his adopted daughter."

"That is not..." Ashla Ti felt wetness fall from her eyes and shook her head. "That isn't... No..."

"The only reason you are breathing..." Ina continue din that same awful calm voice. " that a man we call Teacher found you and rescued you before the torment you endured killed you in spite of the healing fluid you were floating in." Ina said sharply. "You owe him your life. He likely would have killed you anyway, except he knew that an innocent was stuck in your mind." Ashla Ti froze and Ina continued. "We are working on ways to get her out. You we could care less about. She is a friend."

"Ina..." Ashla Ti said sternly. "This isn't something for a child to make a decision..." She froze as the tip of a sword suddenly appeared in front of her. The blade was held steady by the female Bladeborn whose face was angry.

"Mind your tongue, Jedi." The Bladeborn said evenly. "Or I will cut it out." The threat was calm and matter of fact. She meant every word.

"Lia." Ina said in reproof.

"No offense, Ina." Lia said gently, her sword never wavering. "But she is a prisoner. The other Ashla Ti is not." Ina looked from the Togruta to the Bladeborn and sighed.

"Fine, take her back to her room, get her situated. Gently." Ina said as Lia's sword vanished back into it's sheathe. "I wouldn't try anything if I were you. The Bladeborn like the other Ashla Ti, but you... You, they detest. I don't want to explain to my friend why she has broken bones. So don't do anything dumb."

Ashla Ti could only nod as the young Bladeborn came around the desk, disengaged the hand brake and started wheeling her off.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.23.2012 , 11:44 PM | #4
They were... gentle. This was beyond weird. She couldn't sense the Bladeborn's animosity, but she didn't need to. She could see it in their faces. They hated her for what she had done. None of them would talk to her either. It hurt. Togruta were a social species, it was almost physically painful to be isolated so much. Her captors took great pains not to hurt her though. The bed she was lying on was comfortable, the pillow soft. Even the straps that held her down were padded so as not to abrade her skin. And she hurt, all over her body, a deep ache that bespoke of incredibly bad injuries. What little she could remember of her torment told her she was very lucky to be alive. What hurt worse was the reading material that had been left for her. A screen by her head flashed and she focused on it again. Ignoring it didn't help. It held names. Fifty names. The names of the beings who had been 'recruited' by Firdlump, rescued by Cranna the Hutt and then stolen by Diseree to give back to Firdlump. She bit back a sob as she saw the names Jolia, Miik and Kili. She hadn't intended this. But if she had just shown up with the four girls, Firdlump's people would have snatched them and run. She knew that. She had hated it, but she had been forced to 'sweeten' the deal. But the cost...

"Master?" A soft, scared voice sounded from the door and Jedi Master Ashla Ti's eyes shot to where a small bedraggled form stood uncertain. Diseree Mak looked awful. The brown armored guard behind her was impassive, a statue almost. Except for the disgust filled eyes. Disgust for Ashla Ti. The girl wore a loose fitting smock as well as leg irons and wrist binders. She held out her hands and the guard reached out and removed the wrist binders.

"What have they done to you?" Ashla Ti asked, trying for indignation. But her body was too weak and it came out as a croak. "Diseree?" She prompted when the Kel Dor jerked, seeming afraid.

"I..." The young female looked at the guard who nodded. She stepped into the room and waited.

"Ten minutes." He said impassively. "Then your next punishment." He moved to stand just inside the room and the door shut behind him. From the sounds, it locked.

"I am..." Ashla Ti said slowly. "I am not going anywhere...You could give us at least the illusion of privacy." The guard just looked at her and she wilted a bit. "I... see. Diseree?" Ashla Ti beckoned with her head, all she could move.

"Master..." Diseree said miserably as she came to the bedside and sat in a chair by it. "We had to do it, but..." From her tone, she was fighting tears. "We both agreed. But..."

"The future is always in motion." Ashla Ti said quietly. "I didn't expect to survive. I hoped they wouldn't punish you. What have they done to you? Are you in pain?"

"No..." Diseree said slowly. "Not physical. But I do hurt. Fifty lives, Master. I..."

"I know." Ashla Ti nodded to the screen by her head. "They won't let me forget. Not that I could. Jedi are supposed to do good, not evil. And I... did evil." Ashla Ti said with a swallow that felt odd. Two tubes going up her nose and down her throat could never be anything other than odd. "Calmly, rationally, and clearheaded, I did evil, Diseree. And you acted on my instructions. It was not your fault."

"It was the lesser of two evils, Master." Diseree protested. "We both searched our visions, for weeks, trying to find another way, a better way. There wasn't one."

"We don't know that, Diseree." Ashla Ti said sadly. "We can't. All we could do was act on the information we had. But... Diseree..." Ashla Ti pressed with her voice until the Padawan looked at her. "We did wrong. You know this."

"But..." Diseree shook her head. "I..."

"Diseree, be calm." Ashla TI prompted her. "Be at peace. Even without the Force, you can be at peace." Diseree took a deep breath and held it in a Padawan breathing exercise. Ashla Ti did likewise and after a few minutes, both were calmer. "Diseree..." Ashla Ti said soberly.

"Yes, Master?" Diseree asked in a soft voice.

"We committed a crime." Ashla Ti said gently. "We aided in the committing of others. Due to our actions, many people are dead. Not just due to our actions, but our actions did impact events significantly. We transgressed the rules of society. We did evil. What must happen?" Her Padawan nodded.

"Punishment." Diseree said with just the hint of a shudder. "Master, I am scared..."

"So am I." Ashla Ti said gently. "Be strong Padawan, pain is fleeting."

"I wish it did hurt." Diseree said, quailing a bit. "At least then I could focus on the pain. It would give me something to focus on."

"Diseree?" Ashla Ti asked, sharper. "What have they done to you?" This was so unlike the normally bright and cheery Padawan she knew. Diseree opened her mouth to speak, but before she could the guard spoke up.

"Time." The male said quietly. "Come." He hit the door three times and it opened. Diseree gave a small cry and embraced the recumbent form of her master. "Come on, girl. I will carry you if I have to."

"Diseree?" Ashla Ti snapped, worry now predominating. "Wait..."

"I can't." Diseree nodded as she retreated from the bed. "I will be true to the Light, Master. I... I will see you tomorrow. They allow me to visit once a day. I..." She broke off as the guard made a curt gesture and she all but ran to the door.

"Diseree!" Ashla Ti screamed, aware of pain her throat as the door shut behind her Padawan and the guard. "Diseree!" She screamed again, but of course, there was no answer. "No..." The Togruta sobbed in her bonds. "No..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.24.2012 , 10:38 AM | #5
<An hour later>

"How is she?" Ina's voice was worried as she came into the medical ward. Her face fell as she saw Diseree's still form laid out on the bed. "Qulrrg?"

"Unconscious." The Gand replied evenly. "Her levels are stable."

"Great. Three bouts of sensory deprivation was what Cranna wanted. That is done. It's time for part two of Cranna's punishment." Ina said with a sigh. "I really wish that Hutt had done this herself. What of Ashla Ti?"

"The Jedi is dominant now." The Gand said with an alien shrug. "This one does not know of any techniques to sequester part of a mind. Might the one known as 'Teacher'?"

"Maybe. For now, her body needs time to heal. We will leave her in the room. Who knows, maybe she and our friend will come to some kind of arrangement like Istara and Sharlina did. Maybe." Ina said with a shrug. "How long will she sleep?" Ina asked with a nod to Diseree.

"Not much longer." The Gand paused and spoke again. "This one does not understand good and evil as the Bladeborn speak of it. But what this one has seen done to this Padawan... Seems to fall under the category of 'evil' as has been explained to this one."

"I know." Ina said with a sigh. "And it's not done yet. In our society, most societies actually, laws are upheld through the threat of punishment. Without laws..." Ina grimaced. "We have anarchy and that benefits none but the lawless."

"This one can see that." Qulrrg said with a hint of sadness. "What the Jedi seer and Jedi Padawan did was against the rules of society then?" Ina nodded and the Gand shook it's head. "Removing them permanently from the society seems a more efficient answer to this one."

"Yes, it can be." Ina said sadly. "But... Even in cases where there is no doubt as to the guilt of the perpetrator, such as this, do we simply remove the problem? Or try to find the cause and solve it?"

"This one..." Qulrrg pondered that for a moment. "This one understands. An enigma. If the problem is simply removed and forgotten, it may return in another form."

"Exactly." Ina said with a sigh. It really sucked sometimes, being so wise. She looked at Diseree and sighed. "She is waking. I will do it." Qulrrg stared at her.

"This one would..." It broke off as she glared at the Gand.

"I will do it." Ina said sharply and stalked to the bed where Diseree was starting to moan now. She laid a gentle hand on the restrained girl -they didn't trust her one little bit even here- and spoke softly. "Easy, Diseree, easy..."

"Ina...?" Diseree said sadly, her voice calming as she sought her training and it helped her to soothe her fear. "Is it... done?" She asked, her voice childlike.

"First half is." Ina said gently. Diseree tensed and Ina spoke softly, gently as she stroked the girl's arm. "Ah, Diseree, a long way from Tython, aren't we?"

"Yeah." Diseree said sadly. "I was so... So sure of what I wanted. I didn't have any idea." She took a deep breath and nodded. "I am ready."

"I am not." Ina said with a snarl. "I don't want to hurt you. You were my friend in the Enclave, even as aloof as seers have to be. I don't want to do this. I am halfway tempted to tell Cranna to come and do it herself."

"Ina." Diseree said soberly. "You told me everything the Hutt wanted. I agreed to it. Only when I lose control to my fear do I try to fight. What we did was wrong. It was needed, but it was wrong. Master Ashla Ti said that she would try and shield me, but I knew that doing what I did, the Hutt would be furious. You should not be the one to do it."

"I am responsible for you, Diseree." Ina said soberly. "You life is literally in my hands. I cannot indeed, I will not delegate this."

"Ina..." Diseree said softly. "You are not physically strong enough. To do it right. If you are going to do it as we all agreed, do it right."

"Ah..." Ina cried hopelessly. "Diseree..." She bowed her head and nodded. She turned to where Qulrrg was watching. "Get Lia." The Gand nodded and turned to an intercom.

"Nikol could do it." Diseree said as she relaxed as best she could. She had been shocked to find someone else she had known in this place, but Nikol did not remember her. Indeed, the Bladeborn hated her with a passion.

"He would overdo it, cause injury." Ina said sadly. "Whatever Teacher did to him left a lot of resentment buried, especially for Jedi. He has difficulty being civil to me at times. Maybe that was planned? I don't know. Lia is a bit more stable."

"What do I do?" Diseree asked softly. "I give you my word I won't resist." The door hissed and she tensed as a woman in brown armor entered the room. Lia's face was set as she walked to where Ina stood.

"Ina?" The Bladeborn asked coolly. "You sent for me?"

"Yes, Lia." Ina said sadly. "I would have done it, but Diseree feels that the punishment would be too mild if I do."

"Really?" Lia's eyes met Diseree's goggles and the human woman actually smiled a little. Her face became gentler, sadder. "You mean that?"

"What we did was wrong." Diseree said soberly. "I am not saying I am looking forward to it, but... I do understand. And I accept it."

"Oh girl..." Lia said in a sad voice. "Okay, let's get you situated." Her hands were gentle and professional as they undid the restraints holding the Kel Dor. She rolled Diseree on her side and paused. "Ina? A support?"

"Right." Ina said and went out of the cell to a closet. In moments she pulled out what she sought and brought it back to the bed. She put the padded object on the bed and Lia gently rolled Diseree onto her stomach on top of it, arcing her rear end into the air. For her part, Diseree was trying to stay quiet. She gave a yip as Lia bound her hands and feet again, but did not struggle. "Ten, Lia."

"Ten, right." The Bladeborn said sadly as she reached for something under the bed. "Ina...?"

Diseree did not react as her smock was rolled up around her back, exposing her rear end. She did not react as the wooden paddle the Bladeborn had pulled from under the bed impacted her rear end even though it DID hurt.

"One." Lia said slowly. Diseree bit back a whimper as it impacted her again. It felt like it hit exactly the same place. It felt like fire was seeping through every nerve.

"Two." The voice of the Bladeborn was calm. Diseree clamped her mouth shut. She would survive this. She would. Again, pain erupted.

"Three." Still that maddening calmness in the Bladeborn's voice. How did the Bladeborn manage to stay so calm? Diseree envied that calm. Again, pain came and she bit her lip as she fought to keep from crying out.


She hoped she would survive this...
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08.24.2012 , 04:05 PM | #6
"Padawan Diseree?"

The soft voice started the Kel Dor out of her doze. Not that she could do anything else. Her rear end was still on fire. Painkillers would dilute the punishment after all. At least while she was in her cell, they didn't bind her hands. They didn't need to. She kicked the chain that bound her ankle fetters to the wall and sighed. Other than that, the cell was almost comfortable. It was clean, dry and the bunk was surprisingly comfortable. Not that she generally noticed. She was usually so stressed and worn out when she returned that she ate what was provided and fell asleep. She slept a lot. It was better than thinking, remembering.

"Padawan Diseree?" Now the voice was worried.

"Yes?" Diseree asked after taking a moment to check herself. Not that she could do much to make herself more presentable. "I am here."

"May I come in?" The voice asked. Was this Lia? The woman who had spanked her? It sounded like her, but not...

"Since when do my jailors need to ask?" Diseree asked with a bit more heat than she intended. "Ah... Sorry... Yes." The door hissed open and yes, it was Lia the Bladeborn. But her face was worried rather than remote. She stepped in and the door shut again and locked. "I apologize for the discourtesy. Lia, right? What can I do for you?" Diseree asked, slightly unnerved.

"You are very brave, even for a Jedi." Lia said softly. "But you are very young as well."

"Is this going somewhere?" Diseree asked, her tone turning bit frigid. "I don't get spanked again until tomorrow." Four more times. She thought with a wince. She had to go through it four more times.

"No." Lia said gently. "You don't. Cranna specified fifty strokes. One for each of the people you and your master took from her and gave to Firdlump. Fifty is no joke, even with a wooden paddle." Lia said with a grimace. "We are stretching it out to give your body time to recover."

"And time for the pain to set in." DIseree said quietly. "Time for me to think on WHY it hurts and what I did to deserve it."

"That too." Lia agreed.

"Then why are you here, Bladeborn? To watch me suffer?" Diseree asked calmly as she squirmed a bit on her bunk. She paused as she saw Lia's eyes start to glisten. "Wha-?"

"No." Lia said sadly, her voice turning husky as she fought tears. She stepped close. "I am here because you do not have to do this alone." Diseree stared as the woman reached out a slow, slow hand and slowly, ever so slowly, brushed the Kel Dor's cheek. "You do not have to suffer alone."

"No!" Diseree blurted, recoiling slighting. She landed on her tail and hissed as pain flared again. "Don't.. I..."

"Diseree Mak, you are brave and strong." Lia said gently as she stepped closer. "But this hurt you before we punished you. For every action, there is a reaction. Basic physics. Also basic emotions. What you did, hurt you. Part of you wants to be hurt, for what you did."

"I,..." Diseree said as she reached the full extension of the chain and was stymied. "I don't want to hurt. I... Don't..."

"I know." Lia said as she sat slowly on the end of the bunk, as far from where Diseree was cowering as she could. "Pain is a fact of life, Diseree, but none of us like it. Well..." She corrected herself. "Some do, but it is generally not the pain itself that they enjoy." Her tone slightly sick. "It is usually the natural painkillers that come with the pain that some people enjoy. Diseree, it's okay..." She patted the bunk beside her. "I am not going to hurt you, I just want to talk."

"Talk?" Diseree asked cautiously. "About what?" She gingerly rolled so she was not sitting on her rump and it throbbed.

"You are going to be sore." Lia said with a sigh. "I didn't want to do it. Ina didn't want to do it. None of us wanted to put you through the hell of sensory deprivation."

"Cranna demanded I feel what victims felt." Diseree said, her tone abject. "I... At least you didn't brainwash me after."

"That slug is vindictive." Lia agreed. "But then again... After a life such as she has led, can she be any other way? And you did give her cause."

"I did." Diseree said, her head falling to her chest. "She gave me hospitality and I repaid it with lies. I stole people under her protection and sent them to a horrid fate. I... It was needed, but... but..." She suddenly cracked and sobs came from her filter mask.

"Oh DIseree...Come here." Lia said consoling as she slowly pulled the unresisting Kel Dor into an embrace. "You are not alone. You do not have to shoulder this monumental burden alone." She crooned as she rocked the sobbing form. "Easy... Easy... Shhh..."

"I thought you all hated me." Diseree said after a few minutes of crying.

"Hate you?" Lia asked. "No." She admitted. "Dislike maybe. You are a Jedi, our ways are different. You are hurt. You had to shoulder a burden no one wished on you. Not us, Not the Jedi, Not even Will Kalenath would have wanted you to shoulder such a load. It hurt you doing what you did." Diseree nodded jerkily, obviously unable to speak. Lia spent a few minutes calming the distraught female down. After a few minutes, Lia spoke again. "And do you know the worst part?" Diseree shook her head silently. "It was the right thing to do."

"Wha-?" Diseree's eyes snapped up and met the Bladeborn's. "What do you mean?"

"Ina wanted to come." Lia said sadly. "I persuaded her not to. This hurts her, DIseree, far worse than she will ever show. She is very young, but... She is a kind, gentle, nurturing soul. A better mother figure for our sect, a conscience, what have you, we will likely never find. But she knew you. She was your friend, and seeing you like this is hurting her."

"I know." Diseree said sadly. 'But what do you mean it was 'the right thing to do'?"

"Diseree..." Lia said gently. "Nothing in life is clear cut, simple. Will was out of control. He isn't now. What you did spurred events on. Did it turn out okay? For us and for Will, yes, mostly. For others? No." Diseree stared at the older female and Lia's voice turned feather soft. "That is what hurts the worst, doesn't it? The fact that you did what you did, knowing what would happen. Isn't it?" She prompted when Diseree curled up on herself again.

"Yes." Diseree's voice was small. "But... what we did was wrong..." She sobbed into Lia's arms as the human woman held her.

"I know that, Diseree." Lia said in that same calm, new fur texture voice. "And you are being punished for it. We... We dislike Ashla Ti because she stole children. You did too, but... Diseree..." Lia put two gingers under Diseree's filter mask and gently forced the girl's eyes up to face her. "You are a child. A Padawan, a learner. Maybe your powers are stronger than normal, but that does not give anyone the right to force you to do that kind of thing."

"No one forced me." Diseree said after a moment. "I agreed. I mean..."

"Diseree..." Lia said soberly. "She is your Jedi Master. She is older, supposedly wiser, and is supposed to teach you, guide you and shield you from things like this, not involve you in them." Outrage was heard deep, deep down in her calm tone. "She had no right to make you do this. To convince you, using whatever means she did, to make you do this."

"We looked for other ways." Diseree said sadly. "I mean..." She broke off as Lia patted her arm. "What?"

"Diseree... I am no seer." Lia said soberly. "I am just a Bladeborn, no more, no less. But I do know a little about visions. I have talked to Teacher, Ina and others about visions. Especially when you and your master arrived here. Tell me true, Diseree. Is the future you see in visions going to happen as you see it?" Diseree stared at her and Lia shook her head. "Diseree, think..."

"I..." The young Kel Dor seemed at a loss for words. "I don't know. But... from what I have seen. Rarely." She admitted softly. Lia sighed slowly and hugged the Kel Dor again. "Why?" The younger female asked.

"Jedi Master Ashla Ti told you that what you 'saw' was coming, that she had to do something." Lia said gently. Diseree nodded silently and Lia sighed again. "She lied."

"What?" Diseree snapped and tried to recoil, but Lia's arms, although seeming gentle, held her tight. "Let go!"

"Diseree... Please... Listen..." Lia said sadly, her face calm, but her eyes glistening. "I have talked to all kinds of people, even Idjit while he recovered. Ashla Ti could not have known what you and she saw was the truth. There was simply no way. There are too many possible futures. Idjit is apparently one of the greatest seers of recorded history and he has trouble telling truth from fiction sometimes. Telling what he wants to have happen apart from what is going to happen. You 'saw' what she did, correct? You shared the vision with your master. Did you come to the same conclusions she did?"

"I..." Diseree shook her head. "No I didn't. But she was persuasive..." She begged. "No..."

"I am sorry, Diseree." Lia said as she pulled the cringing Jedi into another embrace. "But you are going to have to face this before Istara gets here. She is... upset."

"Istara is coming here?" Diseree asked, her tone abject. "Why?"

"Several reasons." Lia said sadly. "But the only one that concerns you... Is what to do with you. Cranna wants you dead. The Jedi want you back, to... examine. They say..." Lia broke off as Diseree stiffened. "Diseree?" She paused as she saw the Padawan staring, not at her, but off into space at something only she could see.

"No..." The young Kel Dor said faintly. "No.." She begged and then she screamed. "No!"

"What the-?" Lia snapped as the girl in her arms seemed to convulse and then collapsed unconscious. "Dang it!" She hit her com. "Medical emergency, Cell four! She just had a vision I think! She shouldn't have been able to! Get Qulrrg here now!"
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08.25.2012 , 03:59 AM | #7
"What happened?" Ina asked as Qulrrg worked on Diseree. Lia and Ina stood to one side of the small cell to give the healer space.

"I don't know." Lia said in a dazed voice when she looked at Ina. "We were talking, I was explaining what we figured. Then she just..." Lia shrugged helplessly. "She screamed and collapsed. Did she have a vision? I know you can have them without the Force."

"I didn't feel anything." Ina said slowly. "But I am not perfect. Qullrg?" She asked as the Gand straightened.

"The young Jedi sleeps deeply." The Gand said with a gesture that might have been a nod. "This one is unsure if waking her would do harm or good. This one will return to Medical."

"Okay." Ina said with a shrug. "Thank you. Uh... keep an eye on Lisa. She is one of the 'I have to work through the pain' types. She can and will re-break her arm given any chance."

"This one knows the type well." Qulrrg said with the odd sound that was Gand laughter. "This one is surrounded by them. Will Ina and Lia be at dinner?"

"I don't know, Qulrrg." Ina said with a glance at Lia. "If not, I will let you know. I will come by for a report on the injured later."

"This one will have a report ready, matriarch." The Gand nodded to the Cerean and left the cell, leaving Ina to stare after it, her face exasperated.

"Ina." Lia said, her voice gentle and a smile on her face. "You are the matriarch."

"I am seven years old..." Ina said with a grimace. One that turned savage as Lia poked her. "Hey!"

"Ina, relax." Lia said with a snort as she gathered the younger being in her arms. Ina stiffened for a moment and then relaxed. "You are doing fine."

"I don't feel fine." Ina said with a sigh as she relaxed into the kindness that Lia was exuding. "I feel overwhelmed. Why am I the one in charge again?" She asked sourly.

"You are doing fine, Ina." Lia gave the younger female a squeeze and let her go. "And you are in charge because Teacher said so. We do not land all of the responsibilities on you, and we will not." She looked at where Diseree lay quiet. "What do you think she saw?"

"No idea." Ina said sadly. "I will stay with her. You need to get back to work."

"Yes Matriarch." Lia said with a grin and scooted before the swat Ina threw at her could land.

"Gah!" Ina said under her breath. "Why I put up with those Bladeborn is beyond me sometimes."

"You love them." A soft, gentle voice spoke from nowhere and a blue transparent form shimmered into being nearby. "Hello Ina."

"Hello Ulaha." The Cerean said with a nod. "What word?"

"Everything seems to be on the expected track." Ulaha said soberly. "Firdlump has subsumed most of the nanites on the Sitolon homeworld. When he does, he will look for his targets. Kora is on that list. The Seven are mobilizing everything they can."

"I would have thought a young paramedic would be fairly low on his list of priority targets." Ina said with a scowl. "Anything you can tell me?"

"No." The ghost said sadly. "Everything gets hazy in the visions. We know he does come here, but why or to do what? We have no idea. We do know he will be hunting Morey."

"He will be hunting everyone who opposes him." Ina said with a shudder. "What are the odds he will attack?"

"Attack? Full scale attack?" Ulaha said slowly. "I... No. Correllia is a Core World." She said with conviction. "No matter how powerful he may be now, he wouldn't start with a Core World. Whatever the seers have seen here, it wasn't a full scale attack."

"Joy." Ina said with feeling. "And Istara?"

"She insisted." Ulaha replied with a grimace. "You know how she feels about kin. And technically ALL of the Bladeborn here are initiates, most of them children, so... " The spirit shrugged helplessly. "She is coming. Even recovering from surgery and expecting, she is coming."

"Okay." Ina slumped a bit as she sat by the bed. "And...Diseree?"

"That is Istara's call." Ulaha said sadly. "Cranna, Will and the Jedi have all deemed her the most neutral in this. As for Ashla Ti..." The spirit shook her head. "I don't know."

"I don't want to lose either of my friends." Ina-Ta-Mal, padawan of the Jedi Order and now matriarch to an eclectic group, said sadly. "But..." She sighed and sat, taking one of Diseree's limp hands in her own. "What will be, will be."

"Indeed." Ulaha said sadly. "Good luck, Ina." She said as she winked out.
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08.25.2012 , 05:27 PM | #8
"Any change?" Lia's flat voice woke Ina from a light doze. She jerked and looked from the sleeping Kel Dor to the door, where Lia was standing, her face remote. "Everything is on track, Ina. Relax."

"I get the feeling of the calm before the storm." Ina said as she rose and stretched a little. "Do you?"

"Yeah." Lia said with a scowl. "The silence, stillness, right before the fight starts. No idea what fight. Is she...?" Lia asked as she entered.

"She slept the day through." Ina said with a tender smile. "Whatever she saw terrified her." She paused as the girl in the bed shifted a little. "Diseree?" Diseree groaned softly and rolled a little. Then she jerked.

"Ah... Ina?" The girl said sleepily. "I... Is it time for my next punishment?" She asked, unsure.

"Yes, but..." Ina patted Diseree's hand gently. "Can you tell us what you 'saw'?"

"Saw?" Diseree said slowly. "I..." Then she jerked upright. "Oh my god! I... No..." She shuddered and started to cry. "She couldn't have..." Lia immediately moved to sit beside the distraught Jedi.

"Diseree..." Lia said gently. "Easy, easy... It's okay. Shh..." She soothed the now crying girl.

"No it's not." Diseree said sadly. "It is not okay. I never saw it coming. I never did. So much she did, didn't make any sense. But now..."

"Diseree?" Ina asked, concerned. "What is wrong?"

"Jedi Master Ashla Ti..." Diseree said between sobs. "I... I knew she had secrets. I... I never pried. Maker help me, I should have."

"She lied to you about what she was doing when she ordered you to take the people from Cranna." Lia said sharply. "You are hardly the first to trust your master blindly. I know I did, before Teacher took me and showed me a better way. At least your master didn't get eaten alive."

"I wish she had been." Diseree said with a growl that would not have been out of place on a Nexu. "Lousy lying..." She broke off as Ina slapped her gently. "Wha-?"

"Diseree, focus." Ina said gently, but with conviction. "What did you 'see'?"

"I saw the past." Diseree said slowly. "My master, just after she became a full Jedi. HER main teacher was talking to her, offering her a long term job."

"I don't see the problem." Ina said slowly. "Lots of masters keep tabs on their padawans that way. And it makes sense, after all the master knows what the Padawan is capable of. And it gets the Padawan experience in the real world, right?"

"Her Master had just died. He was a seer as well." Diseree said slowly. "He died of an unknown illness right after Ashla Ti passed the Jedi Trials. Her teacher... The one I saw talking to her, offering her a job." Diseree gulped. "His name was Tokare Vandar."

"What?" Ina demanded. "You cannot mean...?"

"She works for Special Branch." Diseree said sadly. "And unless I very much miss my guess... They know where we are."

"That is impossible." Lia said in the silence that followed Diseree's words. "Idjit said that Firdlump doesn't have access to seers. Was he wrong?"

"I saw more. She worked for Vandar, she didn't work for Firdlump." Diseree said slowly. "Now she does. She doesn't have a choice. The last time she picked up orders, right before she started us on this mess, the message capsule contained a nanite colony. It took time to grow, but... He owns her, body and soul now."

"No..." Ina breathed. "No..."

"I am sorry, Ina." Diseree said sadly. "Your friend is dead. When the nanites took control of her mind, I think it wiped the other personality." She bowed her head. "I am sorry." She said as Ina recoiled.

"You cannot know that, Diseree. The mind is resilient and can be very tricky." Lia said with a frown. "And as for knowing where we are...? I don't know where we are. How can she? Can you detect and stop the nanites?"

"No." Diseree said sadly. "Looking back... I was infected by them on Tython. But... Master Ashla Ti was nowhere around. And it was not by Firdlump's swarm if we can trust the information I was given. Huh." She mused. "I wonder..."

"What?" Ina asked, her pain and fear clamed a bit.

"How...long...?" Ina said slowly. "Vander was pulled into the collective. Jina said that and others confirmed it. I wonder how long that colony of nanites has been sleeping in..." She gulped. "In my master's body."

"From what I understand, the Sitolon put her through the wringer." Lia said with a scowl. "When you and she went aboard the homeship. Would they have missed that?"

"Probably not." Diseree said with a sigh. "But then again, they never detected the ones that were hiding in Mira. I could have some in me now."

"Teacher said no." Lia said slowly. "But Ashla Ti... She was so badly hurt... I don't know if he ever scanned her. What...? What do we do?"

"Istara is coming." Ina said slowly. "She is probably the target of this. She can stop nanites, detect them and stop them. But... to keep Firdlump from attacking before she gets here..." Ina looked at Diseree speculatively. DIseree sighed and nodded.

"We have to keep doing what we were." She rolled onto her stomach and rolled her gown above her rump. She jumped asa hand found hers. "Ina?"

"This is going to be hard, Diseree." Ina said as she gave the Padawn's hand a squeeze. "Can you do it?" She asked as Lia pulled the paddle out again. This time, Lia did not count aloud. She gave slow, measures strokes with the instrument of punishment.

"I..." Diseree bit words out between strikes. "Have. To. So. I. Will." Was it her imagination that it didn't hurt as bad? She hoped so.
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08.26.2012 , 03:35 AM | #9
<Two night later>

"Ah Diseree..." Ashla Ti's voice was stronger as she looked at her Padawan. She was still connected to various tubes and still generally felt like garbage. She was also still strapped to the bed. "What is wrong?" She asked sharply as the young Kel Dor squirmed in her seat.

"My heart is hurting. An infant is parentless due to my actions." Diseree said sadly. "But my rear end hurts at the moment and I am finding it hard to pass beyond the pain without the Force, master."

"You rear end" Ashla Ti asked, incredulous. Then her voice turned angry. "What are they doing?"

"Punishing me." Diseree said flatly. "Cranna wanted me dead. She has no tolerance for people who hurt those under her protection. The Bladeborn blame you, and well... They don't want to kill me. They want to save the other you as well."

"I haven't heard her." Ashla Ti said faintly. "Not for a while. She was usually quite vocal. But now... I guess she is sleeping again. She did that. I made her sleep when we did what we did. I know it hurt her. If..." She sighed deeply. "If they can save her, I hope they do." She bowed her head. "What have they done to you? They said they wouldn't hurt you."

"They haven't. Not really." Diseree said with a shudder. "I... I don't..." She shook herself.

"Diseree, be calm." Ashla Ti said gently. "There is no emotion, there is peace."

"It is just so hard." Diseree said softly. "For so long I wanted the visions to go away. Now they have and I want them back." She laughed a little. "Foolish, huh?"

"No." Ashla Ti said kindly. "Not foolish at all. What have they done to you?" She asked gently.

"Cranna demanded that I suffer as the people who I abducted would have or executed." Ashla Ti froze in horror at Diseree's quiet words. "I chose life. It's all right, Master. They were careful not to harm me permanently." She paused. "Kind of like Firdlump did by all accounts actually, with the distinct difference that the Bladeborn were not going to enslave me after the sensory deprivation."

"Sensory depri-!" Ashla Ti said angrily. "They didn't? Diseree!" The elder Jedi snapped. "You are a child! You did it on my orders! What gave them the right to-" She broke off as Diseree glared at her.

"Master." Diseree said calmly. "I gave those people up to a monster. To a fate I knew would be horrific. What can they do to me that is worse than the feeling of knowing I sentenced fifty people including an infant to horror like that?"

"We had to do what we did, Diseree." Ashla Ti said gently. "But... I understand your feelings. Cina and Jan deserved better. Even if Cina blew herself up, it was me who put her there." Ashla Ti looked at her Padawan but Diseree said nothing. "Our time is almost up. Why are you squirming as if you had been spanked?" She paused. "No!" She demanded, shocked. "They didn't!"

"Cranna wanted fifty lashes. Again. It was that or kill me. I prefer life." Diseree said sadly. "They are kind about it, but there is no give in them. Typical Bladeborn. They are giving me ten a day. Enough to hurt, not enough to permanently injure. And their healer is keeping on top of everything." She made a disgusted noise. "Still stings like hell."

"I bet." Ashla Ti said soberly. "So... Other than that? How are you?"

"Tired, scared, sick and sore." Diseree said with a shrug. "Typical day for a Jedi, huh?" Ashla Ti surprised herself with a small laugh at that.

"Yeah." Ashla Ti said with a sigh. "It does seem our lot in life sometimes. Doesn't it?" She paused and then her voice turned flat. "You never asked how I knew Cina blew herself up. That wasn't something any of us knew." Diseree didn't react and Ashla Ti sighed again, deeper. "Crap. How long have you known?"

"I had a vision, even without the Force, two nights ago. You were not awake during my visit last night." Diseree said calmly. "I 'saw' you talking to Vandar, when he recruited you to Special Branch." Diseree's voice was very dispassionate now. "Were you actually asleep at all or were you sending nanites out?"

"Diseree... be calm." Ashla Ti did not move, but the plumbing attached to her suddenly was gone. The tubes likewise. "It's not what you think."

"What I think?" Diseree asked slowly. "How long have you been doing Vandar and Firdlump's dirty work? I know Jina contacted you for advice when she found me on Alderaan, before she came to my parents and asked for me. You didn't know my grand dad..." The Kel Dor's scrutiny was palpable. "But you knew what he was doing, didn't you? Did you know what the Special Branch goons were going to do? Did you order them to kill Jina's Padawan Kapas? To destabilize Jina further? And I do know that the other personality that was inside you is more than likely dead. Your master probably killed her in enslaving you." Ashla Ti jerked, but then relaxed.

"Diseree, your thoughts are muddled. Be calm." Ashla Ti warned. "This is not what you think. Be at peace."

"Why?" Diseree asked sadly. "Isn't it better for me to be emotional? Less able to see and counter what you do?"

"Diseree." Ashla Ti's voice was very gentle now. "Whatever you are planning won't work." Diseree nodded and Ashla TI paused. "What?" She asked carefully.

"Yeah." Diseree said sadly. "Almost anything I plan, you could see and counter. I almost... I almost wish I would survive this." Ashla Ti tensed again, but Diseree did nothing and the elder Jedi relaxed a little. "The horror that awaits you would be fitting punishment for me too, but... No." She shook her head and did not react as the Jedi slowly rose to a sitting position, her restraints falling loose. "It almost worked." She commented as the Force nullifier on Ashla Ti's head fell off too. "But I cannot allow it. I refuse to let your master have me too. To use me to try to conquer the galaxy."

"Diseree..." Ashla Ti said slowly, carefully. "The nanites in your system will hurt you very badly if they take control now, let them work. It will be painless if you let them work. Let them ease you in."

"You did infect me with them then." Diseree nodded slowly. "I had wondered. When I embraced you?" She asked, her tone clinical.

"A small scratch." Ashla Ti showed a long fingernail. "Barely noticeable. Whatever you are about to try, Diseree, don't." Ashla Ti warned. "He can bring you back, but it hurts."

"Can he?" Diseree asked in a conversational tone. "Can he indeed?" She rose from her chair and her Force nullifier fell off. "Can he indeed?" She repeated, her tone still that same calm, her form now shimmering with power.

"Diseree...No." Ashla TI said, her voice horrified now. "Don't do this. Don't fight us."

"What was it Vandar said to you when he recruited you?" Diseree asked softly. "Oh yes... 'The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.' I have done nothing for far too long. I will not be a tool for him to use." She raised her hands and the Force answered her call. But she did not attack. No, her focus was inside her own body! Inside her brain!

"Diseree! No!" Ashla Ti cried as she did likewise, her posture turning to shock at what Diseree was doing. "You can't win! Not against him. Relax, be calm, let it ease you in. Don't. I can't let you do that. Don't fight. Just relax and let us take care if you."

"No." Diseree said simply and then she collapsed in a boneless heap.

"No!" The Togruta screamed as the small Kel Dor fell. She ran to her Padawan's side, crying. "No, Diseree, no! Idiot girl. Come on, the nanites have to stop it, fix it! No." She cried as she drew the unresisting form into an embrace and knelt, keening, trying with all her heart and soul to mend the damage that was still being caused inside the small Kel Dor skull. She felt when it happened. When the bright and cheery mind she had known -indeed the mind she had helped shape- winked out. "Why Diseree? Why?" She sobbed as she held the still form tightly.

"Master Ashla Ti?" A gruff voice spoke after a time. "Facility secured. No other casualties. Medics are coming. Is she...?"

She didn't need to look up to know a man in bounty hunter attire stood there. She didn't need to see to know that small teams of heavily armed people were sweeping the facility. She could feel them all in the collective. Their shock and dismay mirrored her own.

"She is dead, Gev." The Togruta said, hugging the limp form in her arms. The entire collective hissed in shared grief. "She used the Force to cause a brain hemorrhage. I couldn't stop her, I tried. The nanites tried to take control, but it was too late. I don't think even the master can bring her back from that. Or if he can, that she will be the Padawan I knew. Oh Diseree..." She bowed her head over the body of her padawan and cried.
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kalenath's Avatar

08.26.2012 , 03:31 PM | #10
"Report." The calm voice of the master of the collective came over the bounty hunter's private com as he worked.

"One casualty, Master." Gev said sadly. "Diseree Mak committed suicide before we could induct her fully. Her nanites only had partial control and she fought it. We took a full scan, but... Ashla Ti says cloning is unlikely to work. We can make a clone, but it won't be the girl she knew. Not a seer."

"Ah..." Firdlump's voice was sad now. "What a waste. The others?"

"Ashla Ti has been rescued. Fourteen total beings apprehended. Twelve initiate Bladeborn, one Padawan Jedi and a Gand all taken into custody without incident. None injured more than contusions from falls. Ah, none injured by us. Several have injuries apparently due to harsh training." Gev said with no trace of arrogance. "The gas worked, even on the Gand." He said uneasily.

"This feels too easy." Firdlump said soberly. "What do you think?"

"I agree." Gev said with a frown that would not show through his full armor. "The gas should not have worked on the Gand, which is why I came in loaded for Rancor. My suggestion? Grab everyone, blow this place and take them all somewhere safe where we can put them all through the wringer."

"Any idea where?" Firdlump asked. "I am certainly not bringing anything that traitor Ravishaw had anything to do with anywhere near our base, even as well protected as it is now. Not until I am totally sure there are no traps."

"We captured the Imperious mostly intact, did we not?" Gev asked softly. "As far as the Republic is concerned, they are not rogue."

"Good idea. Captain Brun was...most uncooperative." The master of the collective said sadly. "She will be a while in kolto. The rest of the crew succumbed quickly. Yes... We can have the ship underway with a replacement crew within the hour, and I can set up a reasonable substitution for the captain. Where to meet?"

"Someplace Republic and public." Gev said slowly. "With the proper code clearances for the Imperious, the Stormhawk cannot attack us without setting off a major firestorm. They are technically wanted by the Republic. At least Will Kalenath no longer has his pocket battleship disguised as a freighter." His voice turned ice cold now. He had reason. He had been busy securing the civilians when Kalenath had let loose whatever the insane soldier had unleashed on the collective. Even the memory hurt.

"And you think that makes him less dangerous?" Firdlump asked mildly. Gev shook his head silently, knowing his feelings were transmitted through the collective, and Firdlump sighed. "Yeah, now he can be anywhere." Fear arced through the collective now and Firdlump hastened to reassure. "We will not let him do that again. We will not."

"Ok... Duro maybe?" Gev asked, his tone worried. "They have a sizable defense network."

"We have current codes and I can get authorization for the Imperious to go there." Firdlump said uneasily. "It is a Core World. So lots of potential attention. But, you are right. If we try and hide, the Seven will likely hunt us down. We need to stay on the offensive, but even with the advantages we now have, we are greatly outnumbered and far from invincible."

"Right." Gev said and paused. "Master? I need to ask... Olandas?" He had been told she was comatose after what Kalenath had done to the base.

"No change, Gev." Firdlump said sadly. "I don't think she will wake. I am sorry. What you and Olandas had..."

"You want Will Kalenath alive, Master." Gev said in a tone of iron. "Do you need him hale?"

"After what he did to Olandas and all the rest of us?" Firdlump said softly, but rage echoed. "No. Alive works fine." The collective's master said fiercely. "Get all the prisoners secure and we can pick you up. A hyperspace capable shuttle is inbound. ETA fifty six minutes."

"Right." Gev said as his com system deactivated. It no longer bothered him that he was out of control. Few things bothered him anymore. Not since Olandas had been hurt. But here were a few things...The hunter strode into the small cell and sighed.

"Ashla Ti." He said gently. "We gotta go."

"I know." The Jedi seer hadn't moved. Indeed, she hadn't let anyone touch the small, sad form in her arms. The medics had come, done their scans and left. There was nothing they could do. "I..." Ashla Ti was still crying despite everything the collective could do. "Gev... I... I never saw this. I never saw her... I never dreamed she could do this."

"Sister." Gev said sadly. "It wasn't your fault. None of this was." He knelt down beside the distraught Togruta. "We can take her with us. Give her proper rites. I..." He shook his head. "I don't know the Kel Dor rites."

"Neither do I." Ashla Ti said quietly. She rose and hefted the small form in her hands carefully. "But I will find out. I owe her that much. Ah..." She stared at the small face and sobbed again. "Why Diseree? We wanted to help, not hurt you!"

"I don't know, sister." Gev said, his voice gruff, but his sense in the collective sad. "Suicide is..." He shrugged. "I fight, it is what I do. I can't say I would never do it, but... Ah, I don't know." He patted her shoulder awkwardly. "Come on, we have to pack up as much as we can before the shuttle gets here. I have teams setting explosives on the lower levels. All the Corellians will find is a crater."

"I don't think there is much here." Ashla Ti said soberly as the pair started out of the cell. "This place was for hiding, and it wasn't finished."

"Well whatever it was for, its going to be dust soon." Gev said soberly. "Come on, you know all of these, right?"

"I saw them, yes." Ashla Ti said soberly. "Know them? No. How many?"

"Twelve beings with Bladeborn markings, all under twenty standard years of age. One young Cerean -your memories say she is a Jedi?- and one Gand." Gev said with a sigh. "I wish we could have gotten Diseree, sister. From what I saw in your memory, she was a good kid."

"She was." Ashla Ti said with a shake. "But... Yes, Ina-Ta-Mal is a Jedi. Padawan to Jedi Knight Anya Hadas. Anya is dead, her body was found on Alderaan. Hmmm..." The Togruta mused for a moment. "Eight children, force sensitive children, were missing along with Anya's Padawan. I think we just found them. No idea on the other four. Could be from anywhere."

"Why would he bring Force sensitive children here and teach them to be Bladeborn of all things?" Gev asked sourly. "He was insane, but... That is really nuts."

"Was he?" Ashla Ti asked softly. "Or was he playing a much deeper game than any of us have guessed? I..." She shook her head. "I can't 'see' it. Whatever else happened, my 'sight' is blinded now by the collective."

"Oh?" He replied. " I am sorry." Gev said sincerely.

"I am not." Ashla Ti said as she carried her sad burden towards where she knew the exit was.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here