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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:39 AM | #1
((This one is VERY different, as always, comments and or suggestions appreciated))


Katherine sat back in her chair and sighed. It had been three days and no business at all. Once more she checked her gear, touch testing every piece she had on her person, everything in her jump bag and everything in reach. She was ready. Her ship, while small, was ready. Her training was complete. Her teachers had offered her a full time position, but she had declined, saying she was needed out there. And now, she was sitting on her rump with nothing… Her com chimed. For a moment she sat, wondering why… Then she stiffened and trained responses came. She slapped the acknowledgement and hit the startup sequence.

“This is the med runner S-14. Receiving.”

“Med runner S-14, this is Anchorhead Space traffic control, we have a ship that is on a ballistic course heading into your operation area.” Her ears perked up at that. Ballistic meant uncontrolled. Dead stick. Crash. She became all professional.

“Anchorhead control, Med runner S-14 acknowledges. Launching now.” She threw the small ship into the air. Behind her she heard TX-4B, the droid that shared the ship with her hum to life. She downloaded all the information she had and put the ship onto an intercept course.

A few minutes later she found whet she had feared, a crash site. She dropped the ship beside the smoldering wreckage and popped her hatch. She was out the door before the ship finished settling into the soft sand. She ran towards the ship. It was a design she had never seen before. But some things were constant. Engines were in the rear, cockpit was in the front. And… She grinned as she saw the emergency access hatch outlined by the required emergency lights. She hit the manual release and pulled with all of her might on the hatch. It jammed halfway. She cursed under her breath, but then a red beam of light came from beside her and the hatch, part of it sheared by a laser, came loose with a clang. She nodded her thanks to her droid and clambered into the ship. She checked the pilot quickly, he was unconscious but breathing. She immobilized him for transport and the droid swiftly and efficiently removed him from the ship. She knew the droid would secure him for transit back to the medical clinic. She looked around further and froze as she saw a small form strapped into a seat further back.

Oh no…

She darted to the side of the child and relaxed, just a bit as she heard belabored breathing. She scanned the child quickly and hissed. Carefully and quickly, she removed the straps that had protected the little human girl from the impact, but had caused significant internal injuries at the same time. Her droid returned and she directed it to secure the girl carefully. A quick scan showed one more form slumped in back, but a quick examination showed this one was beyond her help. She tagged it anyway. She darted out of the ship and back towards her own. As she passed the droid she gave another command. It would secure the last occupant, but not in the cramped medical area. She winced, but she knew the dead didn’t care. She busied herself working on the child, working against time, praying she was doing enough. The droid finally clunked back into place and she took her seat. This time when she took off she had both her strobe lights and her siren going.

Katherine was sitting, filling out her paperwork when she heard the door of her room open she looked up into her employers face. She waited. The being who ran the clinic smiled. Katherine slumped in relief, she had been in time.

“Tabby, they both owe you their lives.” The Cathar shook her head.

“They don’t owe me anything Cranna, it’s my job.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:39 AM | #2
Katherine landed Med runner S-14 where ordered and stayed where she was. The local militia ordinarily had its own medical personnel but… this situation was anything but ordinary. Most of the Militia was off chasing a party of Sand People who had actually managed to breach the walls of the town, somehow.

That left her and a few medics to try and cover the routine stuff that cropped up. And the not so routine stuff. She stared out of her windshield as the two militia troopers tried to hold the crowd of onlookers back. She had been called to a vehicular accident. She hadn’t known it was accident involving a militia vehicle and… She tensed and checked her gear again. This could get ugly. Finally one of the troopers waved to her and she darted out of the ship, sealing it behind her. She moved to where the other landspeeder sat, half crumpled from its impact with the militia vehicle. One of the troopers came up to her as she started unsealing the canopy.

“We didn’t see them; we were coming around the corner… They didn’t stop, they should have stopped, we had our siren going. We didn’t see them…”

She looked at him and nodded. She got the canopy up and the smell of alcohol spilt out. She coughed once, twice, and then focused on her patients. Male human, age about 20. Male human age about 20, female human age about 20… She nodded as she catalogued their injuries. She summoned her droid. The female and one of the males, while obviously drunk, had only minor injuries. The driver however had apparently not been wearing his safety restraints and had bounced off of the transparisteel canopy. She immobilized his neck and waited for her droid to wrap him in a transfer cocoon. The female woke as Katherine was removing the driver.

“What you doin’?” The woman slurred as she stared at Katherine. Katherina looked her over and then ignored her, concentrating on her patient. “Don’t you ignore me…” Katherine heard a blaster cycle up and turned back to see the woman pointing a hold out blaster at her.

“I’m a medic, your friend is…” She jumped back as the woman fired. She ducked for cover beside the speeder. The woman stood up in the seat trying to get bead on Katherine then collapsed as a stun bolt from one of the militia troops hit her. The trooper came running up.

“Ma’am, you okay? Ma’am?” Katherine looked at him and nodded. The trooper stared at her. “Ma’am…?” His voice was fading and Katherine was falling…

<Later>
When she woke, she hurt. She was lying in a bed in Cranna’s clinic. She looked at her shoulder, it was swathed in bandages. She could hear raised voices.

“Assault on a member of the Militia, aggravated assault and battery on a medic sent to assist your stupid chebs. Public drunkenness, reckless driving. Need I go on?” A mumbled voice came. To Katherine’s ears it sounded unsure. “You shot the medic. Be glad you didn’t kill her, you probably would have been lynched on the spot. As it is, all you have to do is pay her medical costs, and serve some community service.” Now the mumble sounded outraged, but the voice, it had to be Cranna, was unmoved. “If I had my way, I would make absolutely sure you could never do that again, I’d blind you.”

Katherine swung her legs off the bed. Her head swam for a moment, and then she was moving. She made it to the door and looked out on a strange scene. Cranna was sitting on her divan, two militia troopers beside her. All three were looking murderously at the young human female sitting with binders on her wrists in a chair in front of them. She was crying. Cranna looked up and froze as Katherine stumbled out of her room. Katherine made it to Cranna’s divan and then sat on its edge. Cranna didn’t move.

“The driver?” Katherine’s voice was soft but easily audible. Cranna snarled, but spoke quietly.

“Multiple broken bones and a concussion. He was lucky, almost as lucky as you.” Katherine nodded. She had been lucky. She looked at the female human. The human wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“Why?” Her quiet voice brought the girls head up and her eyes widened as she saw Katherine sitting beside the Hutt.

“I don’t know… It… I don’t know…” Katherine looked at the girl, then at Cranna. Then she rose and walked back towards her room, as she was passing the threshold, one of the troopers spoke to Cranna.

“What do we do with her?” When Cranna spoke, her voice was troubled.

“Put her back in the drunk tank, her parents will come for her in the morning. Maybe she will have learned something by then.” Katherine sank back into her bed, grateful of the firm mattress, and relaxed a bit. Cranna entered the room a few moments later.

“You should be carrying something, a shock baton, a stunner… something…” Katherine looked her boss in the eye and shook her head.

“I help people, I don’t hurt them.” Cranna shook her huge head.

“Tabby, please…We need you. Alive.” Katherine nodded.

“I’ll be careful…” She broke off as a strange light entered Cranna’s eyes.

“You are not flying alone again.” Katherine’s eyes shot open.

“I can’t afford to pay a copilot… you know that…” Katherine froze as Cranna laughed.

“You are not paying him, I am. And he isn’t your copilot he will be your keeper, you crazy Cathar…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:41 AM | #3
Katherine sat in her chair and tried not to fret. The doc had finally removed the last of the bandages, and her shoulder… She flexed it experimentally. It hurt a lot, but it worked. She smiled. Cranna’s people were good. She snorted at herself, she was one of Cranna’s people, and if there was one thing she knew, it was that Cranna took care of her employees. But she was worried. Cranna was kind in her own way and gentle in her own way but also rock hard and absolutely immovable once she had made up her mind. Katherine had argued until she couldn’t sit up from oxygen deprivation but Cranna would not change her mind. Katherine shook her head, her long ponytail swishing from side to side. She didn’t NEED a copilot, she couldn’t pay a copilot and the thought of someone sitting beside her with a gun abhorred her. As she sat she wondered just exactly WHAT kind of person Cranna would find. Her door hissed open and a stranger waited at the threshold.

“Ma’am?” His voice was soft, gentle even, but she saw the blaster and vibroblade on his belt and shuddered. “My name is Dron, Cranna has hired me to work with you.” She shook her head. He grinned sourly.

“Ma’am. Cranna’s rules were clear, you do not fly alone again. If you want me to, I can conceal these…” He patted his weapons, just looking at them made her flinch again. “I’m a medic by trade myself, but Cranna was specific. If I had been there, the drunk wouldn’t have shot you.” Katherine shook her head, when she spoke it was quiet, tightly controlled.

“No you would have killed her.” She froze as Dron shook his head.

“No, ma’am. I don’t kill unless I have no choice. But if it comes down to it, if it’s a choice between you and some stranger, I will choose you.” Katherine shook her head. He snorted. “Neither of us have a choice in this Ma’am. May I at least know your name?” She looked at him.

“The slug didn’t tell you?” He snorted. Insulting Cranna was something only her close friends would DARE.

“No, Ma’am. She told me and I quote. ‘You are hired, get you butt in there and don’t let her leave alone’. She also said she would hold me personally responsible if anything else happens to you.” Katherine snorted. She could just hear Cranna saying that.

“My name is Katherine and I don’t want you.” Dron looked at her.

“Odd name for a Cathar.” She smiled, widely this time.

“I was found by a group of humans near a crash site, my family all died. The humans raised me, I was only an infant, and they are who I remember as my parents. They gave me this name, and…” She broke off as Dron nodded. “My ship doesn’t have a lot of space…” She broke off as Dron smirked.

“Your ship has been…” he broke off as Katherine lurched to her feet. When she spoke her voice was calm and cool, but urgent.

“What did you do to my ship?” That was her life, her home, her… he snorted.

“The medical suite has been upgraded with a smaller, more compact design. The engines have also been upgraded for size and speed.” She stared at him in shock.

“I…I can’t afford that…” Another voice came and her eyes widened as an older human appeared behind Dron.

“I can.” She stared, it wasn’t every day that Jo Drakvil, owner of the largest cantina franchise on Tattooine, visited a medical clinic. He nodded to her. “You saved my son’s life, and his ‘friend’ hurt you. I owe you, this is all I can do to pay.” Katherine shook her head. When she spoke, it was dazed.

“I…You don’t owe me anything… It’s my job…” She broke off as he raised an empty hand.

“Yes we do, and we pay our debts. When my son gets out of the kolto tank, he and his friends will assist you, however they can. THAT is their community service.” Katherine shook her head. “And the upgrades to your ship? Those are my penance, for what happened to you. You see, it was my blaster that idiot girl found in the seat. It must have fallen out of my pocket the last time I rode.” The shame in his voice cut deep. “She could have killed you, someone who was only trying to help.” She stared at him. “Please, let me do this, it won’t erase the stain, but… maybe it will be a start.” She shook her head, but in disbelief this time.

“I…” She slumped. “I…” Cranna slithered in; the small room was crowded now. Katherine cast a desperate glance at her employer, but Cranna just shrugged.

“You are going to accept it girl." Cranna said quietly. "Do it gracefully.” Katherine sighed, and then nodded.

“You are wrong Mr. Drakvil, you don’t owe me anything." The Cathar medic was brave, but she knew when to retreat. "But… if you insist on such a gift, I cannot in honor refuse…”

“My son is alive because of you, that in and of itself would be enough. And this is nowhere near what I believe you deserve, but your employer has convinced me. Your new ‘assistants’ will arrive at the beginning of the next sevenday. I hope you have dirty work for them.” His grin was feral and Katherine smiled a bit.

“It’s a med clinic Sir, you haven’t seen dirty…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:42 AM | #4
Katherine smiled as she finished her check on the new and upgraded S-14 Med Runner. Where before it had been cramped, now it had space, and not one, but TWO droids. Both TX Medical models, and both top of the line, but… Dron called from the cockpit.

“We have a call!” She darted back into the cockpit, waved to the fueling team and began pre-flight. She marveled at how things had changed. Where before she had waited for hours or days between runs, now she was lucky if thirty minutes went by without one. Of course her new ship’s engines gave her a much wider operating area as well. She strapped herself in and Dron threw the small ship into the sky. As they climbed she checked the board and winced. He nodded to her.

“Idiot climber… Can you do…” He broke off as she smiled mirthlessly and brought up a display of her climbing gear. “Silly question.” He sighed as he brought the ship onto the proper course. Tehn he looked at the destination. “Whoa, wait a sec… that’s Sand People territory…” She nodded, silently checking her medical gear now. “We go in there they will shoot at us.” She shook her head.

“No they won’t. Hit the siren and the lights.” He stared at her. She grimaced. “I treated one of their young, once. As long as they know it’s me, they won’t shoot.”

“And if it’s another tribe?”

“If the area isn’t safe, then we don’t go in.” Her voice was quiet and filled with pain and he nodded silently. They looped towards the area.

On arrival they saw the emergency beacon shining from the side of a cliff and Dron whistled soundlessly. But he moved the ship as close to the cliff face as he could. He could see the climber now, waving at them.

“Get us higher.” Katherine ordered and Dron did, then he froze.

“Uh… Katherine….?” She looked up and saw what he had. The Sand People warrior was looking directly into the cockpit and his rifle was ready. She stood up straight, showing her face and ponytail. The warrior looked at her, raised his rifle above his head, pumped it three times and vanished as if he had never been. Dron looked at her. She moved to the rear of the ship, hooking her harness in place. “What if there are more?”

“The chief said I was a spirit healer, inviolate… Any of them dumb enough to cross that chief well… later…” She opened the hatch and Dron spoke to himself as wind filled the ship.

“I’ll hold you to that.” She looked down and a faint glimmer of fear came as she saw the hurt climber far below her. Then she jumped. The descender harness slowed her in and in moments she was descending slowly towards the signal. A few moments later, she hung over empty space beside the hurt being, it was a Twilek. And she could tell just by looking that his legs were broken. He yelled something to her, but the noise was lost in the wind and the rush of exhaust from her ship. She held up a hand, and then motioned for him to remain still. She keyed her com.

“One meter left.” Dron didn’t acknowledge verbally. But the line shifted, slowly, until she was within reach of the hurt being. She reached out and pulled herself to the cliff face. The Twilek yelled at her.

“Human you are insane!” Katherina nodded, and then yelled to him.

“Don’t move!” He froze and she grabbed him under the armpits. She keyed her com. “Lift!” The line took up slack and pulled them both from the crevice they had been in. As she was pulled up she heard the shouts of Sand people and looking around, saw five of them gesticulating on the top of the cliff. But none shot at her and she smiled. As she eased the Twilek back onto a seat he asked in a pain filled voice.

“Who are you?”

“Med runner team S-14.” She was busy tending his legs. She barely noticed the door close and the ship start to move. He lost consciousness and she keyed an urgent call for med teams to stand by for their arrival.

<An hour later>


Katherine sat in her chair in her office in Cranna’s clinic and cried. It just wasn’t fair. She had fought so hard, tried so much and he had never regained consciousness. She barely noticed when Dron came in and sat beside her. When he spoke it was quiet.

“It never gets any easier. I’m sorry…” She nodded, still crying. “But… there is someone here who wants to talk to you.” Katherine looked up and froze as a female Twilek entered the room. The Twilek spoke.

“You tried to save my mate. Thank you.”

“I failed…” Katherine said quietly. The Twilek looked at her, and then smiled gently.

“No you didn’t. If anyone failed, he did. I told him not to try that mountain, he said it was the only one he hadn’t tried.” Now the Twilek was crying. “He would want you to have this.” She handed Katherine a package and then bowed to her and left the room. Katherine stared at it, then opened it, and gasped. Dron came up and swore silently. It was a pearl from a Krayt Dragon.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:44 AM | #5
<Three years previous>


Katherine worked feverishly. She had it, she had it! The projectile from the rifle that had entered the woman’s lung was embedded deep, but she finally managed to grab it and she sighed as she began the careful chore of removing it. She heard noises behind her, but ignored them. All of her focus was on the wound and… she smiled as she removed the bullet and began to close the wound. Sand People weapons were invariably rusty relics, but no less lethal for all that. This woman was the only survivor of an attack on this homestead. Katherine was working with the Militia at the moment. It was generally good money, but… sometimes the risks were extreme. She didn’t mind, her calling was all that mattered. She straightened up from where she had been working and froze. The three militiamen who had been guarding her were down, and… A heavy weight hit her from behind and drove her to the floor. She stared up into the mask of a Tusken raider. She spoke the only word of Tusken she had ever been able to learn.

<Healer> Something else hit her and she was driven into blackness.

<An indeterminate time later>


Katherine woke. She hurt, but she was amazed to be alive. The Sand People rarely if ever… She froze as a voice speaking basic came to her.

“Statement, you are awake.” She opened her eyes and took stock of her surroundings. A hut, woven walls… an HK droid? Er… half of one… The head swiveled to look at her.

“Uh…wha…?” She tried to sit up, but she realized her hands and feet were bound. She sighed. “Am I a slave or a meal?” The droid perked up at that.

“Statement: This tribe does not eat their enemies. I cannot say for other tribes, but…” A harsh shout came and the droid broke off. A woven door opened and Katherine found herself face to mask with a Tusken carrying an ornate gaffi stick. The Tusken barked again and the droid spoke.

“Statement: The chieftain wishes to know if you are a healer.” Katherine looked at the droid, then at the Tusken.

“Yes.” The chieftain raised his gaffi stick and Katherine braced herself, but when he brought it down, the precisely aimed blow shattered the bonds around her ankles. She stared at him then at the droid.

“Who needs my help?” The droid translated. The chief barked back.

“Statement: your patient is in the next room.” Katherine clambered awkwardly to her feet. The chieftain watched her closely as she moved slowly into the room. She froze. She had expected a warrior, not a child… She turned back to the droid.

“I need my gear.” The droid replied.

“Interrogative: Do you have weapons in your gear?” Katherine shook her head, then realizing the droid probably couldn’t see her she spoke aloud.

“No. I need my belt pouch and backpack.” She knelt beside the still form and smiled slightly as she realized the form still breathed, but… A strong arm caught her and pulled her back. The Tusken chieftain stared at her, and she stared right back. “Tell him I can help the child, but I need my equipment. I am a healer, it is what I do.” The droid barked and the chieftain seemed to relax, just a bit. A thump came and out of the corner of her eye, Katherine could see the shape of her pack and belt on the floor. She bent down to pick it up, but never took here eyes off the chieftain. The chieftain barked again.

“Statement: He does not believe you. I believe he is desperate.” Katherine held the chieftain’s eye slits with her eyes and held out her bound hands. Without taking his eyes off of her, he swung his gaffi stick and cleaved the bindings. She rubbed her wrists and then focused on her patient.

Two hours later she sat back, satisfied. Apparently the child had been mauled by a scyk, the right arm might never function as it should, but it would function, and well. The other wounds were much lesser, if messy. Luckily she had been carrying a whole lot of stuff. You never knew what you were going to encounter when working with the militia. Antidote for scyk poison was rarely needed, but she was glad she had carried it. And she was glad the Tuskens didn’t have allergies to any of her treatments. The automated systems were supposed to warn of allergies, but no one had ever added Tusken to the medical database. She shook herself and then stood. She turned an impassive face to the chieftain who had watched her like a hawkbat the whole time. When she spoke it was tired, but triumphant.

“The child will live. The arm will not be as strong as it was, but it will function. My…suggestion…is to let her rest for two or three days before doing anything strenuous.” She waited while the droid translated. “Now I die?” The droid responded.

“Statement: He is confused. You act like no outlander he has ever encountered.” The chieftain barked again. “Incredulous statement: He says, you are a spirit healer. A shaman.” She sat, drained utterly.

“Well? What does that mean?”

“Confused statement: I am not sure. He will not kill you. But…” Something hard hit her on the head and she was falling…so slowly…

<Later>


When she woke, her head was pounding. She lay in a shallow cave. Beside her lay her gear, all of it. And… she looked at the woven strips of leather, and then shook her head. Someone, probably the droid, had left a note, written in Basic.

The chief has declared you a spirit healer. None of his warriors will harm you and they will tell others of the healer with the tail on her head.

She felt her ponytail and grinned. Then she keyed her comlink to report in.

<The present>


Dron could only shake his head.

"I've never heard of anything like that." Katherine shrugged.

"Neither have I, but it happened." She opened a drawer and placed a small woven mat on the desk. "Most people who see this think it's garbage." Dron stared at it, it was pieces of leather woven into an intricate pattern. "It isn't. It's saved my life from the Sand People twice." Dron grimaced, but when he spoke it was humorous.

"Just when I think I have you figured out..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.11.2012 , 03:45 AM | #6
((Well, that's Katherine, a somewhat strange Cathar. As always comments and/or suggestions appreciated. Flames might get left out of Sand People.))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here