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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

06.25.2012 , 05:32 AM | #121
71. In which Nalenne questions Quinn’s behavior

A Sith, if she fits the cliché,
Breaks a rule or three every day.
For each regulation
A fresh violation:
The Sith will dictate their own way.

Nalenne caught ghost-Quinn in one of the rare moments when he wasn’t on the bridge. She intercepted him as he passed by the reading nook: “Hey.”

“My lord?”

“You’ve been awfully…docile…lately.”

“I’m not sure what you mean, my lord.”

“You haven’t volunteered a lengthy editorial on all the things I’ve been screwing up in a couple of weeks.”

“I haven’t seen the need for it, my lord.”

“Uh, my behavior hasn’t changed.”

It took him a moment to answer. “Then stating my criticisms would be redundant, my lord.”

“Stop ‘my lord’ing me.”

“As you wish.”

“I don’t get it. Things have been going great. We’re working together brilliantly a day or two a week. You’re free to do your desk jockeying the rest of the time, and I hear only good things from the military about your contributions. So if it’s all so perfect…why aren’t you finding fault?”

“It wouldn’t make a difference, would it, my lord?”

“I said stop ‘my lord’ing me! My original threat to assign you as Vette’s personal servant stands, if you don’t dial down the frequency on that.”

“I apologize. I meant to say, it would make no difference, so I refrain.”

“It never made a difference. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.”

His brow contracted. “How is it that you still manage to baffle me on a near-daily basis?”

“I’m just trying to make things normal around here. Your failure to participate in the overall sense of contentment is seriously impacting my enjoyment.”

He regarded her solemnly for a moment, then turned and started walking away. “I have work to do.”

“Don’t give me that!” She grabbed at his shoulder, but her hand just passed through him. “How is it you’re still blowing me off every time we talk? Stars. All my friends are happy with how things are, except you. You stupid killjoy. You’re just…not with us.”

“I’m dead, my lord. It makes solidarity more difficult than you might expect.”

“Well, get with us. That’s an order.”

He stopped. Looked up at the ceiling. “I shall endeavor to do so, my lord.” He really did have a thousand vocal shades of ‘you’re being unreasonable.’

“You have a place here. Just tell me what I’m screwing up, okay? Transgressions aren’t half as much fun when nobody’s calling me on them.”

Quinn looked back, frowning. "There's demanding, there's imperious, and then there's you. I really have no idea how I managed to take orders for so long from someone so insistent on such irrational, capricious nonsense."

"That's better." She smiled. "I wouldn’t know how to live in a galaxy that didn’t have you disapproving of it.”
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Ayanka's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 07:07 AM | #122
Maybe you could just make up a name for Pierce? Any name?
Wer in der Nacht in den verstaubten Winkeln seines Geistes träumt,
erwacht am Tag und findet nichts als Leere;
aber die Träumer des Tages sind gefährliche Menschen,
denn sie können ihren Traum mit offenen Augen spielen und ihn möglich machen.

bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 08:59 AM | #123
72. In which Nalenne finds a change vis-à-vis Servant Nine

For a sister who’s eager to share
It gets quite expensive to care.
A user enjoys
With the easiest ploys
Far more than her sister can spare.

“Evening, milord,” said Pierce. “You’re very…here…for a Wednesday night.”

“Yeah, plans didn’t shake out. Servant Nine hasn’t answered my calls the last few days.”

“Think he’s dead?”

“Not likely. Guys at that level don’t have much threatening competition.”

“Might be plotting against you.”

“Possible. It might’ve been too good to last.”

Vette wandered in. “Trouble?”

“Nothing much. Servant Nine won’t take my calls.”

“He’s probably just brushing up on his ego. He’ll be back for blood soon.”

“Possibly literally,” said Pierce.

Just then the ship holo blipped. Nalenne rushed to answer it. Her sister Niselle came up.


“Nis! What’s up with you?”

“Exciting news.” Niselle reached out for someone, and none other than Servant Nine strolled into view of the holo. Buh? “I finally talked Andronikos into a semipermanent ménage a trois.”

Buh. “That just may be the classiest thing you’ve done all year,” Nalenne said stiffly.

“Isn’t it, though?” Niselle beamed. “You wouldn’t believe how potent an enforcer this one is.”

“I would know better than anyone.”

“Better than anyone? I’m already getting a pretty good idea.”

“Not only is your sister more amusing than you ever were, Wrath, she doesn't whine about friendly fire incidents when we're out working up a sweat," said Servant Nine. “Thanks for the memories.”

“I’m dying to know who started this,” said Nalenne.

“Lenny. After hearing how much fun you two were having, I just couldn’t restrain myself.”

“Yeah, well. I’ll come up with a really good retort and get back to you.” Nalenne cut the line.

“That was cold,” volunteered Vette.

“No kidding.” Nalenne should've seen it coming; it had been close to three years since Nis had poached one of hers. That skank. “It’s fine, though. It’s fine. I don’t even care. You know Servant Nine and I had our differences. A lot.”

“He was a complete monster,” said Vette.

“I didn’t even like him that much. - 'Whining about friendly fire incidents'? Me? Yes, I called him on it. Did that seriously make me not evil enough for him? What a jerk!"

“And he’s stupid enough to get it on with Niselle, of all people.”

"I'll take her pirate. I will seduce her stupid pirate."

"Don't do that," said Vette and Pierce in unison.

"You're right. Not even worth it. Servant Nine, that's nothing. There were a ton of things he could never do anyway. Good sex. The feeling that he had my back. Encyclopedic knowledge of what rules I’m breaking.” Nalenne rubbed her temples. “That selflessness. That stupid way he gets so excited over the slightest Imperial advantage. That unspeakably weird need to iron his socks…stars, I’m such an idiot.”

Pierce rolled his eyes. “And I see we’re back to a familiar classic.”

Vette stared. “Stars. Karking stars.”

“That ability to command the scene without even needing stupid Force pyrotechnics,” said Nalenne, tears rising. “Did I mention the sex?”

“No. Argh. I've seen disruptor beams disintegrate people slower than this. Close to year and a half of progress, completely undone.” Vette looked up at Pierce. “Back to square hysterical one. Where am I supposed to find another guy horrible enough to keep her attention?”

“I’ll get the ice cream,” said Pierce.

“I’d rather get an axe,” said Vette.

“One thing at a time.”
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 09:02 AM | #124
73. In which Quinn extends a second olive branch

A tragical air can forestall
Any joys, once you’ve taken a fall.
For heroes Byronic,
It ends up ironic:
It hurts to feel nothing at all.

Nalenne was busy tapping her fingers next to her useless console when ghost-Quinn walked up beside her.

“Good evening, my lord. If I may ask, what’s giving you trouble?”

“It’s a White Star Comics distribution node I run. Couple of Republic companies have been conspiring to block ‘em. Not even content censorship, just pure market blockading. I can’t seem to keep my files available to everyone.”

“So obfuscate the routing.”

“What the what now?”

It’s simple enough. Bring up the node control and follow my instructions.”

He talked her through the configuration, which was only ‘simple’ according to some bizarre Imperial supergenius definition of the word. But eventually they managed a roundabout setup that would circumvent the Republic slicers’ blocks, at least for the time being. The comics would flow.

“Thanks, captain. So why are you being helpful here instead of working?”

“I wanted to see how you were. Outside the context of fighting.”

“Oh? But talking to you is always a fight. You do that.”

“Fascinating. I have actually made a minor game out of counting how many words it takes you to initiate hostilities in our conversations. You make single digits some days.”

“Sith. It’s a talent.” She felt a small incredulous smile forming. “Would you rather just talk?”

“If you have time.”

“Color me surprised.” A thought wandered to mind. “Remember how long it took before the first time you blew off the console-jockeying night shift to talk to me?”

“Tatooine,” he said immediately. “The hangar bay had collapsed in the last windstorm, we were stranded. I was furious.”

“Really? I couldn’t tell the difference from normal you.”

“That would be because I was always furious after three seconds of trying to deal with you. I simply had three seconds’ head start that night.”

“I see. I don’t even remember what we talked about.” Nalenne smiled wryly. “To be honest, I only remember I was with you.”

“We talked about staggeringly inane things. I remember, for example, you asked me how my uniform felt, how comfortable it was.”

“Oh! And you said something uninformative, like ‘it was adequate to cover you.’”

“It was a stupid question.”

She decided to let that slide. “What about now? How’s your unchangeable uniform feel?”

“I don’t feel anything.”

Nalenne sucked in her breath. “I’m sorry. That was also a stupid question.”

“At least you’re reliable.”

“I can’t imagine going without all that. When’s the last time you even felt…I don’t know, pleasure?” Definitely the first feeling she would miss if half her world fell out from under her.

He considered. “Last week. Cornering that Republic squad on Kashyyyk.”

“Ooh, that was a good dramatic entrance. Getting 2V to rig the whole platform like that? Great. But you know I hate it when you don’t tell me in advance about the cleverly constructed trap that will stylishly finish off a fight.”

“Half the satisfaction is in surprising and impressing my superiors. The effect is lost if you know it’s coming.”

“I can’t deny it’s a pretty sexy move.”

“Is that really what you’re thinking about in the middle of a sensitive operation?”

“Every time. Does that surprise you?”

“No.” He half smiled. “That hunger tested my restraint for the longest time.”

“Glad you finally gave in.”

In spite of the singing tension, they did not touch.

“Um,” said Nalenne, “except for the part where it made the disastrous downturn the most unspeakably painful experience of my life. Not so thrilled about that bit.”

“Not now, please. That battle would be a waste.”

“But slinging blame is our favorite subject.”

“It doesn’t have to be.”

“You’re being reasonable at me. On a nice topic, for once.” Nalenne nervously ran a hand over her face ridges. “I would appreciate it if you could just let me hate you all the time, instead of three-quarters of the time.”

“Yes, well. I’m sure we’ll start fighting again any moment now.”

“Yeah. You’d better go.”

They looked at each other for a while instead. He seemed terribly serious. She wanted to reach out and inform him that with a face like that, he was still an insufferable wet blanket.

“Malavai?” she said instead. “I should say you do the surprise and impress thing all the time. If that’s half the fun, consider tonight’s maneuver successful.”

“If you put it in those terms, I am obligated to point out that the other half of the fun is in breaking my opponent’s spirit as a prelude to crushing them utterly.”

“Yeah, that part’s pretty familiar, too. Now go, before we jinx something.”
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 11:51 AM | #125
74. In which Quinn compromises his principles

The bigger bureaucracy goes,
The worse its efficiency grows.
A man cannot sign
On the right dotted line
When where that line is, no one knows.

“My lord.”


“I don’t wish to bother you, but I must request your approval on a form.”

“Oh? What is it?”

“Nothing very interesting, my lord. Please stamp here.” He handed her a datapad.

She checked it, looked up at him, looked back at the datapad. “Renewing your pilot’s certification?”

“Yes, my lord,” he said uncomfortably.

“But you can’t pilot anything.”

“Perhaps not, but the pilot’s license is a prerequisite for maintaining the second-degree captaincy – “

“Which you deceased your way out of over a year ago.”

“ – which in turn is absolutely required for the IRRP certification – “

“I have no idea what you just said.”

“ – which in combination with regular DIF-12 training is necessary for cleared access to the heavy munitions and prototype armor we’ve been requisitioning for the last year.”

“Just tell me where to sign.”

“It’s appreciated. I shall make an effort to get the other expiring dependencies put in order soon.”

“I can skip straight to forging the final approvals on the whole list if you want, Quinn.”

“My lord! That would be fraud!”

“But you’re already objectively disqualified for every step of the process.”

He glowered. “If you don’t want to help, just say so.”

“Of course I want to help.”

Vette paused mid-stride on her way through the room. “Mad at him. Remember?”

“Hush, Vette. I’m preserving our ability to make things go boom.”

“And I’m in favor of this because, why?”

“Because I’ll get you another spa day at that mega-exclusive place on Manaan if you buzz off and never mention any irresponsible paper filing I may do here today.”

“Make it three days.”


Quinn frowned at Vette as she left. “My lord, you are a walking cautionary tale of corruption.”

“Says the man calling in favors with me to pretend he can physically fly a spaceship.”

“I would go quite mad if I couldn’t do the work I have now, my lord. That means I need the clearance. And that means I need someone as ethically flexible as you to get the irrelevant prerequisites out of the way. It’s still a net benefit for the Empire.”

“See? Reasoning like that shows me you’re developing as a person. I like that.”

“Please. Just sign.”

“I’m just really enjoying this moment.”

“My lord….”

“I love it when you show signs of seeing it my way.”

“There is no love,” yelled Vette from the other room.

“Shut up, Vette,” yelled Nalenne.

“I never get tired of hearing you say that,” murmured Quinn.

“What’s that, captain?”

“Nothing, my lord. If you would affix your approval here, I’ll be out of your way.”
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 11:58 AM | #126
75. In which Nalenne gets a hand from Cipher Nine (I/III)

When trouble mounts higher and higher,
The whole situation gets dire.
The worst off are they
Who willingly sway
From frying pan into the fire.

When a call came in on the main holo, Nalenne was feeling too lazy to make herself presentable. She answered in her dressing gown.

The agent called Dahlia showed up. (*) And looked Nalenne over, and pursed her lips in a silent whistle.

“None of that,” said Nalenne. “What’s up?”

“Excellent news, Wrath. I can get you to Voss and I can even get you a local guide. It’s just going to take a few details.”


Dahlia met with Nalenne on the Helicarrier. “All right,” said the black-haired agent, “you’ll need to take three of these shots at 48-hour intervals to suppress certain compounds in your human scent to avoid raising suspicion with their more sensitive citizens. Then we just need these prosthetics layered on with makeup to get the Voss look – I assume you don’t want the permanent surgery – and some custom shoes/stilts so you can pass for a Voss, on the short side, but still Voss.” Dahlia considered. “The contact lenses will be painful, but we can make it work. Can you memorize forty traditional codeword greetings by tomorrow? Also, ugh, the captain can’t shave his head, can he.”

Nalenne blinked at her. “I don’t even know where to start with how wrong this is.”

Dahlia snickered. “Good thing I’m putting you on, then. You should’ve seen the look on your face.”

“I would Sith out on you, but I still need your help.”

“That’s the beautiful part. Come on, the approach should be straightforward if we take my ship. I’ll get you set up, I can give you a day on planet, then we’re out of there, no ion cannons involved.” She cocked her head. “Maybe I could knock some of ‘em out to pass the time…”

“Be sure to give them my regards first,” said Nalenne, thinking of the damage to the Helicarrier from their previous Voss expedition. (*) “How soon can we go?”

“Right now works. Come aboard my ship, I’ll drop you off as close to the Shrine as we’re allowed to land.”


‘Close’ was a ridge within sight of the great squared-off shrine complex. Dahlia and Kaliyo prepped some insane quantity of explosives and headed off away from the shrine, giggling like schoolgirls. Nalenne and Quinn headed a little ways away and surveyed the rocky path to the shrine proper.

"Beautiful as I remember," said Nalenne. The sunlight seemed to suffuse everything in sight, its warm light coming from everywhere at once.

"I never liked it," said Quinn.

"You never liked anything that wasn't a warship's command deck."

"Voss specifically was a very stressful place from my perspective."

"Why did you even ask me to marry you, anyway? Seems like a lot of paperwork for a woman you were about to try to kill.”

"I always have a plan, my lord. But many plans never have to be executed. Perhaps events would take their course such that you would have to die. But perhaps not; and if there was to be a tomorrow, I wanted to share it with you."

"Careful what you wish for."

"...yes, I do believe that has been the lesson of the year."
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 04:32 PM | #127
76. In which Nalenne and Quinn consult with the Voss (II/III)

The Voss have a singular rule:
First the Mystic, the Force power’s tool,
Then interpreters wise
To suggest compromise
‘twixt commands that would stump sage and fool.

Nalenne and ghost-Quinn knelt on multicolored rugs, facing a trio of Voss: their appointed guide, flanked by a slim woman and a large, muscular (by Voss standards) man.

"In conclusion," Nalenne was saying, "I need to move this guy on out of his ghostly existence. And supposedly some vows of ours, likely the wedding vows spoken at one of your stone monuments here, is holding that back."

The three Voss watched, unblinking, for a long time.

"Any help here?" said Nalenne.

The guide spoke. "The two souls are bound as one. One cannot live if the other dies. One cannot die while the other lives."

"Stop. There. Unacceptable," said Nalenne. "Was this in the venue booking brochure?"

"This is the marriage bond," said the Voss flatly. "No matter the location."

"You people die all the time. How come I don't see ghost-Voss following their spouses around?"

"Blind strength of will," said the slim woman.

"Blind strength of purpose," said the muscular man.

"Blind Mystics’ strength," said their guide. "Voss understand their purpose. Our Mystics do not take these vows at the stone, for they know the power of their own words. You brought your chains, Sith, and you, human. Forged in ways that are not Voss, but bound in ways that are Voss."

"We're coming to an unbinding idea here. Right?"

Their guide stared at her, unblinking. "Die. Then you are free."

"Weeeee're coming to an alternate unbinding idea here. Right?"

"Live," said the woman. "Then you are free."

Nalenne expelled a short sharp breath. "How do I say this...."

"My lord, if the location truly had some reaction with our vows, that location would be the best place to start looking for a way to break it apart."

"There is nothing to break," said their guide. "You are one."

"Are you listening? We are obviously not one. I'm Sith. He's human. I'm female. He's male. I'm alive. He's dead. I'm pretty. He' Well."

"Broken," said their guide.

"Incomplete," said the big Voss.

"One and wounded," said the woman.

"Bound and blind," said the guide.

"You're wrong. Would there be any not-death solutions for your interpretation, which I am not conceding is true in any way?"

"Is there a way he might live?" the big Voss asked his fellows.

"This is beyond our power," said the woman.

"Is there anything you can do?" snapped Nalenne.

"Release you both in death," said their guide. "If that is your wish."

“You guys really do only come in ‘creepy’ and ‘creepier’ modes, don’t you? Quinn, have you had enough running in circles?”

"More than enough, my lord."

“Well, then. Tell you all what. You call me when you’ve figured out severing this or re-embodying somebody. And I’ll go not die, because that solution sucks.”

Nalenne rose, dusted off her knees, and stalked out of the pavilion.

Quinn kept pace with her. "Pretty vs. ‘hm, well’? You never complained about my appearance before," he muttered.

"Rhetorical license," she said. Then she looked over at him. "All the same, some days I think I would be happy if I never saw you again. No offense."
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 04:38 PM | #128
77. In which Nalenne and Quinn look at a rock (III/III)

A difficult fact, but it’s so:
Some rituals bind, root, and grow.
The promises spoken,
Respected or broken,
May govern far more than you know.

A broad valley done out in the same russet and gold as the rest of Voss. In a small copse to one side, a grey standing stone, maybe two and a half meters high, was surrounded by an ancient circle of smaller stones.

“Doesn’t look like much,” said Nalenne.

“Yet we were sent here. At the time I was surprised the Voss would not permit an indoor ceremony,” said ghost-Quinn. “In retrospect we should have insisted.”

“Eh, we might still have been ‘heard’ there.” (*)

“Quite probably, but indoors wouldn’t have triggered my allergies so badly.”

Nalenne shook her head and walked up to the spot where they had spoken their vows. “I quit,” she explained.

“I doubt that will have an effect, my lord.”

“I’m done. I’m officially undoing this marriage, so you can stop enforcing it.” The stone failed to respond. “Blast. Do we have ritual divorce words?”

“No,” said Quinn.

She turned back to the stone. “Look, I’m really impressed with the stability of what you did here, but I want my life back. Or his. Or something. So if you could just leave us alone, that’d be great.”

“My lord, you’re talking to a large rock.”

“And this is less silly than having you around?”

“I’m not silly,” he said stiffly.

She knocked on the monolith. “Let me go, please?”

He walked up beside her and laid one immaterial hand on the stone. “Let the bond be undone,” he said quietly.

“Who’s talking to rocks now?”

“Let it end.”

“Wow. Morbid overtones much?”

“We’re well past morbid by now, Nalenne.” He frowned at the stone. “If there is anything to listen this time, end it.”

“Rapidly falling into disturbing territory,” she said.

“You do recall that the entire point here is to kill me?” he said impatiently.

“Okay, good point.”

Quinn shook his head. “This system would never stand in the Empire. I can’t wait for us to annex this forsaken planet, or at least bomb it into glass.” He looked back to the stone. “If it can bind, why can’t it reverse? I could lay out a better design after six shots of death juice and a hard blow to the head.”

“I don’t think it’s listening.”

Quinn studied the ground. “I recall you being much more effective at solving this sort of thing than you currently are.”

“I could try smashing it,” she offered.

“That’s just desperate enough to work.”

So she took out her saber and warmed up with a frustration-fueled stabbing thrust at the center of the monolith. She drove her saber through with remarkably little trouble and started pumping raw power into it. By the time she withdrew, the whole thing was weak enough for a flurry of powerful blows to break it into chunks, then pebbles, then something approaching sand.

Quinn looked at the mess and its attendant dust cloud. “Nothing,” he said.

She wiped her eyes. “Well, I feel a little better, at least.”

“You would. I am anxious to go, if we’re finished here.”

“Yeah. Maybe we can come back for some orbital bombardment later.”

Quinn followed her back toward her speeder. “I think that would make me feel better, too.”
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kabeone's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 04:46 PM | #129
How long do those limericks take you to write? They're really fun and match so well.

bright_ephemera's Avatar

06.25.2012 , 04:54 PM | #130
Quote: Originally Posted by kabeone View Post
How long do those limericks take you to write? They're really fun and match so well.
They're usually 2-5 minutes, and some of them have the benefit of me sleeping on the problem and waking up with better ideas. For most of these entries I pick one image or sentiment, then bang my head against a rhyming dictionary until something falls into place
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 100+ authors to date. 2600+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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