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(L,F&E 18) Allegiances


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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:43 AM | #1
<Enroute back to the Stormhawk>


Nia looked around the small main compartment of the transport and smiled a bit. She had had her doubts as to how six Mando warriors with all of their gear could fit in the area, but… They had managed. There was grumbling of course, but it was good natured. She had offered Trava the sole stateroom on the ship and Trava had shaken her head.

“That’s yours.” Trava had said in a tone that ended that conversation. Nia didn’t mind, but it felt wrong. The Mandos slept on the deck, and she felt… wrong sleeping in a bunk. Trava saw her smile and came over, picking her way carefully over the sleeping forms of her brothers. She raised an eyebrow and Nia smiled. This time more naturally. When she spoke it was quiet.

“I don’t know a lot about your people.” Trava smiled. It looked good on her. And totally out of character for a Mando, or the general stereotype of a Mando anyway.

“That is not surprising. Canaak was good at teaching hand to hand, but other than that, never the best of instructors.” Nia’s ears perked up at the mention of that name.

“Did you know him?” Trava shook her head. Nia’s expression invited her to continue and she sighed.

“He…left…the year I was born. We thought him dead long before. I…” The Mando woman broke off, her face an expressionless mask. Nia nodded, it wasn’t her business. What was her business however…

“I know you, I don’t know them. Can I ask the names of the rest of your team?” Trava smiled. “I figured I would ask first, no need to not be polite, especially around Mandos.” Trava actually laughed at that. Then she slapped Nia on the shoulder.

“You will live a long time, Nia. You know when to pick your battles.” Nia grinned at the woman then Trava whistled, shrilly.

In the blink of an eye all five of the Mandos, two of which she had been sure were sound asleep, were standing in front of her. She blinked then looked at Trava. “These are T’ad, Ehn, Cuir and Rayshe’a.” Each of them nodded in turn. Nai looked at the Mandos, three males and one female and nodded. “T’ad is our sniper. He doesn’t miss, ever.” T’ad nodded. Nia felt amusement and pride from him. “Ehn is our medic. He can be a little rough, but he’s the best.” Ehn nodded to her. Nia returned it gravely. “Cuir and Rayshe’a are our heavy weapons specialists. He…” Trava nodded to the male, Cuir. “.. likes big guns, the bigger the better. She…” She nodded to Rayshe’a. “…likes things that explode. Be careful around her, and if you see her running, run faster.” Nia chuckled at that. Then she looked at Trava.

“What is you specialty?” She asked but Ehn answered with a grin on his face before Trava could.

“Making a mess.” All of them laughed at that. Nia included. Trava slapped him good naturedly upside the head than turned back to Nia.

“My specialty is computer slicing. I am a close quarters combat expert, I am also an armorer, if you don’t mind I would like to inspect your armor.” Nia’s eyes widened. Then she nodded. She moved quickly to the stateroom and pulled her armor out of its carisack. Trava looked at it then sat cross legged on the floor. She examined it, minutely. Nia sat in front of her, and the other Mandos. Their immediate task done, they went back to what they were doing. Finally, after about five minutes of examining the armor, Trava looked at Nia.

“Where did you get this?” She asked. Her tone was...odd.

“I don’t know. Dad found it. Said it was Sith armor, but there is no trace of the Dark Side on it.” Trava stared at her, then at the armor.

“It is, but… it isn’t.” At her words, the other Mandos came close, not close enough to crowd, but close enough to hear easily. They all stared at the armor. Nia raised an eyebrow. Trava sighed.

“I don’t know where your father got this, but this armor is ancient.” Nai nodded.

“He said it was at least a thousand years old, dated back to…”

“Two…” Trava said absently, deep in thought. Nai stared at her. Trava smiled. “This armor matches descriptions in our records, Mandalorian records, of the armor worn by a faction within the Sith long before Naga Sadow incited them to attack the Republic.” Nia’s eyes shot open. “We remember our enemies.” Trava smiled at Nia’s expression. “And our allies.”

“Then why isn’t it tainted? It feels, almost good…” Trava stared at the armor then looked back at Nia.

“It is commonly believed that all Sith serve the Dark side. That is untrue. We know of warriors, force using warriors, among the Sith who fought using other techniques. They didn’t survive. This armor belonged to one of them.” Nia stared at it. “And I think it is fitting that you wear it, someone who fights the Dark Side.” Trava handed the armor back to Nia and smiled. “I think it is fitting indeed.”

“I…” Nia shook her head. “I know of non-Dark Side Sith.” Trava nodded.

“The Twilek Dia, Olanagychew has spoken of her. She truly was a Sith?” Nia nodded.

“Many believe her story to be fabrication or the onset of madness, but father and I have both questioned her at length. She was Oreana Devich, now she is Dia Ulahadottor.” At the name Oreana all of the Mandalorians froze. Nia stared at hem. “Did you know her?” Trava shook her head.

“No, but we knew of her. You believe she has changed?” Nia stilled, she knew what Trava was actually asking. The life of her apprentice was hanging in the balance.

“Yes. I do. The Dark side is still within her, but she has bound it, caged it tightly.”

“And if it escapes?” Trava asked quietly. Nia looked her in the eyes.

“Then by her own wishes, I will do whatever it takes to stop her.” All of the Mandos nodded at Nia’s clear, cold tone. Trava smiled thinly.

“Understand this; if she places you in danger, she dies.” There was no emotion at all in the Mando woman’s voice or posture and Nia nodded.

“W can hope it won’t come to that.” She shook herself. “We should be arriving within the hour.” Trava and the other Mandos nodded.

“We will be ready.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:43 AM | #2
<Stormhawk hangar bay, 45 minutes later>


Dia stood on the hangar deck, well clear of the danger zones. She remembered well, what had happened the last time she had been here. She watched as Olana landed the transport and shut it down. She felt Nia’s presence and smiled. She had missed her friend. But… Nia was worried… about what? She couldn’t be sure. So she waited. The transportw as moved off eth active flightline and she smiled as the hatch opened, but she froze as Nia didn’t come out. Two figures in Mandalorian armor walked out and took up stations on either side of the ramp. When Nia did come out, four more Mandalorians walked with her. Nia waved to her and she automatically waved back. But her thoughts were racing.

Mandalorians here? And working for Nia or is she… No, there is no fear or danger prescience. So what the flarg is going on?

Nia nodded to her escort ad they stared across the bay. She could feel Dia’s confusion and fear, for her. She tried to send a calming feeling through the Force and she thought she was successful; Dia seemed to relax a bit. She spoke quietly to Trava.

“That’s Dia.” She jerked her head to the waiting Twilek and Trava nodded slightly. She could feel the woman’s focus shifting all around. It felt, unsurprisingly, like her dads sense in the Force, without his dim light, and she would have bet any amount that Trava didn’t miss anything going on in the bay. Finally they were close and Nia moved to Dia and held out her arms. Dia gave her a hug, but murmured in her ear.

“Mandalorians?” Nia replied equally quiet.

“Long story, allies.” Dia relaxed a bit more then looked the warriors over, appraising. The Mandalorians did the same. And Nia bit back a smile. She would have bet again, that is she could have seen their faces their expressions would have been the same as Dia’s. She spoke quietly, she was sure they could all hear her, even over the general bedlam around them.

“Trava Kalan, be known to Dia Ulahadottor. Dia, this is Trava, she and her team will be working with us.” The two, the Twilek and the mando woman exchanged nods.

“Mandalorian warriors. Good, we can use all the help we can get.” Nia looked at her apprentice. “A lot of it has happened, Mistress Nia. And not much of it good.”

“We need to get the quarters, then I, er, we need a briefing.” Dia nodded and led them from the hangar deck. A shiver came up Dia’s spine and tingled the ends of her lekku. She hoped it wasn’t a prescient.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:46 AM | #3
<A very long ways away, on a very different ship>

The soldier approached his Mistress trembling, but the woman only smiled and shook her head.

“Killing the messenger is usually a very bad idea, not only because it is hard to find good messengers.” The humor in her words belied her appearance, garbed all in black as she was. “It is also dishonorable. I know your message is bad. Speak it, and have no fear.” The soldier swallowed, then spoke.

“The renegade cruiser Stormhawk attacked the Kuat system, Mistress. Before our agents could reach it.” Her eyes went wide.

They What? How badly were they damaged before they fled?” the soldier shook his head.

“They won, Mistress. The Republic now holds the system.” She sat back in her chair in absolute shock. When she spoke her voice was quiet, disbelieving.

“They…won? There were seven battleships and a hundred fighters, not to mention the orbital defenses… how?” The soldier licked his lips and she shook her head. “I am amazed, not angry, soldier, speak.” And she wasn’t, surprisingly.

“I... We do not know. Reports indicate that the Stormhawk entered the system under stealth and attacked the spacedock while the fleet was moored. The few ships that could maneuver were overmatched. The fighters… there are reports of Jedi flying with the Stormhawk. One at least is confirmed. Kirin Starlace.” The woman sat back again and this time her hands reflexively clutched her lightsabers.

“Starlace… What of the orbital defenses? They were massive, no fleet could have penetrated, let alone the Stormhawk, as exceptional as that ship is.” The soldier shook his head again; he didn’t want to say it. “Speak.” Her voice was clear and cold and against his will he met her eyes.

“The defenses were deactivated Mistress. Our agents were in position to observe from stealth. The transmission came from the Stormhawk. Then the Stormhawk destroyed the command satellite for the defenses before they could reset them.” She shook her head.

“Only a few have those codes. And all of those are accounted for.” The soldier nodded. “And… There is only one way into that system that the sensor net wouldn’t pick up the ship. Even the Stormhawk’s stealth has limits.” The soldier nodded again. Only the Empire knew the paths through the minefields. Only the Empire knew the codes to deactivate the security systems. And only a very, very select few knew the other safeguards the Empire would have had in place. A traitor, it had to be..

“They used the path Mistress…” He broke off as her eyes flashed. But she shook her head and they resumed their grey neutrality. She bowed her head. “Mistress, the Empire…” She snorted softly.

“…Will not ignore this. I know. Return to your post. And tell Captain G’nack that I need to speak to her.” He nodded. Once he had left she turned and walked into another set of rooms. Inside a group of people sat, talking, reading or doing other activities. They broke off on seeing her. She smiled to them, distantly and walked further. The room that she entered was a medical bay, filled with medical equipment and… She smiled, warmly this time. A Mon Calamari in a medical tunic came up to her and she gripped the beings webbed hands.

“Crota, how is it today?”

“No change Mistress. She was lucid a few minutes ago, but…” Crota shook her bulbous head. Her latest patient had her stumped. The woman in black sighed.

“It’s not your fault. If only we had been sooner. Those dogs…” She broke off as Crota snarled in Mon Calamari.

“When you find them Mistress...” They shared a grim smile. They both knew what would happen. A voice came to them, hesitant and weak.

“Doctor Crota?” They walked into an alcove and the woman in black smiled at the woman on the medical bed. “Mistress, I…”

“It’s not your fault. We will see you healed. I… bear bad news…” The woman steeled herself with discipline that the woman in black could only admire. “We were too late. The Republic took the system.” The woman started crying, weakly. She took the crying woman's hand in hers, wishing she knew how to comfort. All of her skills lay in other areas. “We will find her; I swear it to you, Maria. We will find your daughter.”

“Please Mistress Sharlina. Please…” She broke off, lapsing back into unconsciousness. The woman waited as the doctor checked her patient then sighed.

“She is getting weaker. If this continues, we have maybe two or three sevendays before we have to put her in stasis.” The Mistress snarled again softly.

"And even in stasis, the neural degradation will continue. Haja!” She cursed and did not miss the doctor stepping back. “Crota I am not angry with you. Keep me appraised.” She shook her head, she had to...

Quickly she walked out of the medical bay and strode to a locked hatch. She keyed it open and entered the dark chamber. The door sealed behind her. She dropped her cloak and drew her lightsabers. In an instant, lightsabers and other weapons shone in the darkness. She grinned, feral. Then she charged. The training drones were programmed to kill, and in many different ways, but Sharlina of the Bladeborn, a being often erroneously called a Sith Marauder, couldn’t have cared less.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:46 AM | #4
Captain G’nack of the Imperial Fleet Starship Rancor’s Bite was scared. She wasn’t used to the feeling. Her antennae twitched uncontrollably. Even growing up on Rodia had not bothered her like this. She had clawed her way up the Sith rank system using her raw talent, and her capacity to, er, eliminate, any who stood in her way to her best advantage. And now she stood as Captain of an interdictor, and old ship to be sure, but a proven design, and a powerful one.

But now… She had faced Republic capital ships, fighter swarms, even a Jedi strike force once, but this, this was different. She felt like a caged nerf facing the ship’s namesake. Mistress Sharlina paced, and G’nack tried to control her breathing. Finally the Sith Marauder turned to the captain and smiled wryly.

“Have no fear Captain, I am not angry with you today.” The pleasant sounding words did little to ally the Captain’s worry. Coming as they did from a human woman who still wore the tattered, cut and burned remnants of her robes. She burns on parts of her exposed anatomy and what looked like a lightsaber graze on her calf. She moved easily though. “Seriously captain, I have worked out my anger.” She sat, and G’nack finally managed to relax a bit. “But I have no idea how to proceed.” The Rodian captain nodded. Their plans had been based on finding the child on Kuat. Under Sith control it would have been straightforward, grab the girl and run. With her in Republic hands… things got complicated. Finally G’nack spoke, hesitant.

“Mistress may I ask a question?” Sharlina smiled.

“You just did, but I will give you another.” The captain flinched, this Sith was unlike any he had ever met. Deadly to be sure, her last captain had died spitted on her lightsabers after disobeying a command. Powerful in the Force? G’nack knew little of the Force, just that this woman could move faster that she could see and could do things the captain could not. But nothing in her briefings or training had prepared her for a Sith with such a rampant sense of humor. Sharlina sighed.

“I will not bite you captain, and I don’t kill subordinates without reason.” The captain looked at her. “Ask your question.”

“Why Mistress? Why are we going to such lengths and such stealth to find this girl?” Sharlina sat back and nodded, a serious question, she would give him a serious answer.

“Have you ever met Will Kalenath, captain?” The Rodian sat back, surprised.

“No Mistress I have not. My ship was involved in the battle of Coruscant, but I was a commander at the time, and we were far away from where he was.”

“Lucky for you.” For once her voice held no emotion at all. The captain nodded, the man was a legend among the Republic forces and the Sith. Both for his skill in battle and… She froze.

“You met him.” It wasn’t a question. Sharlina nodded.

“It was on Onderon, we had landed, the Republic forces fought hard. But they were outnumbered and outgunned. It was a glorious fight." She said dreamily "I was injured in an explosion, and being treated in a field hospital. I was drugged, dazed. The rear area was attacked. The hospital staff fled, he came in. I knew who he was, even through his armor, he was distinctive. He looked me in the eyes and said… ‘I don’t kill the helpless’. Then he left. I found out later he had been fighting a rearguard action so that his comrades could escape the planet. And then Coruscant…” She broke off. “There was no honor won that day. I rejoiced when I heard he had survived. He is a worthy foe, then… I found the records that Republic base, and the bodies…” She breathed deeply for a moment. “Enemies we may be, but… for the Republic to do THAT… I have heard, that he defected, I didn’t believe it and was proven right. And now, he fights with a savagery that I can only admire, but…” Sharlina looked off into space and the captain shook her head.

“Why help him Mistress? He is the enemy.” She froze as the Sith's gaze fell on her.

“Anger I know, captain, betrayal I know. That doesn’t mean I like them.” For just a moment the captain could see into the heart of this woman and what she saw stunned her. “That man has honor. And for his masters to treat him so… so callously…”

“You are angry with them.” The captain breathed. Sharlina nodded.

“And I have a pragmatic reason. He rages against us, with reason. And he is devastating enemy, but what if, we can dull his rage, show him that not all Sith are evil? Help his family and maybe, just maybe, the Empire will lose an enemy.” The captain stared at her.

“You cannot believe he would turn…”

“He has turned; he won’t serve the Republic that abandoned him. He hates the Jedi, almost as much as he hates us. He won’t fight the Republic, but maybe we can keep him from fighting us. And that is the reason I gave the Emperor when I asked for this ship and this mission. But no, that man has honor. I just hope…” She broke off as the captain’s comlink chirped. She waited, with patience almost unknown in a Sith Marauder while the captain listened. Finally the captain turned back to her. The captains eyes were distant as she spoke.

“Our agents have reported again. Sara Kalenath is not on Kuat.” Sharlina sat up. “A human girl, of the right age, was evacuated to the Stormhawk with life threatening injuries, she was not returned before the ship fled the system.” Sharlina sat, lost in thought. When she spoke it was quiet.

“We need to find the Stormhawk.” The captain sat back in shock and Sharlina smiled. A challenge indeed
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:48 AM | #5
<A sevenday later, The Rancor’s Bite>


Sharlina stood on her bridge as the Rancor’s Bite prowled through the Taris system. Any other time she would have felt pride in the ship and competence of her crew, but, now, thoughts weighed heavily on her. She was seeking a force that mightily overmatched these beings. They knew it. The Stormhawk was a modern, albeit ten year old, Republic battlecruiser. A ship designed from the keel up to kill larger vessels and run from anything it couldn’t fight. The Rancor’s Bite was a fifty year old ship based on a three hundred year old design. A proven design, a powerful one, but… She shook her head. Give her an opponent, heck many opponents, within reach and she could fight them and had, to this day emerged victorious. This was not her field of expertise.

She shook her head again, these doubts were beneath her. Her Force meditation had led her here. The ship was proven, the crew was excellent, and her mission was needed. She felt the captain walk up behind her, not too close. She smiled, unseen beneath her cloak. There were advantages to being thought cold blooded and murderous.

“No sign, captain.” It wasn’t a question and she heard the captain swallow.

“No mistress, there is no sign of them, Mistress… they may never return here…” She smiled again, but composed her featured before she turned.

“I know, Captain, but we have to try and see…”She broke off, something… Her eyes widened. “Captain, sound battle stations, but… do NOT activate weapons.”

“Mistress?” G’nack asked after she had relayed the orders.

“They are here.” She heard the captain swallow again, and she felt the cold twinge of fear herself. She welcomed it; it gave her strength when it turned to anger. But she couldn’t restrain a shudder as the Stormhawk appeared at a range of ten kilometers, well within firing range.


<The Stormhawk>


Boss stared at his plot in disbelief. Nia stood beside him and Dia was at her post as well in auxiliary control. They all looked at the plot then at the Sith ship centered in the viewport.

“What are they, suicidal?” He asked as he looked over the scans. The Sith ship just sat there. It’s shields were up, but its weapons were offline. Maybe it had torpedoes loaded, but if so, their targeting systems were also offline. It made no sense. Nia stared at it. He looked at her. “What is it Nia?” He asked quietly and Trava, who was the only Mando who would fit in the cramped confines of the bridge, tensed. Nia’s voice was quiet, but calm.

“There is a Sith on that ship, she knows I am here. She…” She broke off as Boss looked at her.

“She?” He asked quietly. Nia nodded absently.

“She. She’s powerful, focused…” Nia confirmed. “It’s strange, she feels angry but…”

“But?” Boss prompted her and she shook her head, she didn’t understand what she felt.

“But there is more, like she is sad, or… I don’t know.” She broke off as the com officer strangled an oath. They looked at him and he shook his head, disbelieving.

“Sir, they are hailing us.”

“They have guts then.” Boss mused then looked at Nia and Nia shrugged. It wasn’t as if that ship could fight them. “Put it on the com screen.” The com officer obeyed and suddenly the image of a woman wearing Sith robes appeared on the screen. She spoke.

“Stormhawk Boss. A pleasure to finally meet a worthy foe.” Boss shook his head.

“You have the advantage of me, in that anyway. If nothing else at the moment.” Nia could have sworn that a smile played across the Sith’s face. No that’s not possible… The woman replied.

“Agreed, at this moment. You have the advantage, but things change.” Boss nodded.

“What do you want? And make it good, my gunners are getting impatient.” Again Nia swore the woman had smiled.

“Is the girl Sara Kalenath aboard your ship?” Nia froze, she felt shock from Trava and Boss.

“If she was, I wouldn’t tell you.” Now the woman frowned, and to Nia’s eyes seemed unsure. She sighed.

“It’s very important.”

“I bet.” Boss responded coldly. The woman on the holo stiffened. When she spoke it was quick and...worried?

“Stormhawk, get out of here.”

“What?” Boss asked incredulous.

“Get out of here now. There is an Imperial fleet approaching. At least hit your stealth, GO!” She cut the transmission and Boss stared at the com screen, then at Nia. She shrugged and he ordered the stealth reengaged. That wouldn’t save the Sith ship…

Multiple alarms went off as hyperspace traces appeared. Several of them. Boss stared at the plot then ordered the ship to move away slowly to maintain stealth.

“Why did she help us?” He asked when they were well beyond Sith sensor range and could relax. Nia shook her head.

“I don’t know, she wasn’t afraid of us.”

“Then she‘s stupid.” Trava chuckled grimly but Nia shook her head.

“She wasn’t afraid of dying, she was afraid of… of failing…?” She mused as she tried to put the pieces of the woman’s force sense together in her mind. They both looked at her.

“Failing what?” Boss asked after a long minute.

“I don’t know, but she was almost desperate… Something… I don’t know…” They watched the plot as Sith ships moved towards the Interdictor.

“I wonder if we are going to be able to find out?” Boss asked quietly.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:49 AM | #6
Sharlina tried not to curse. To have been so close and now… Eight Sith warships in system, not counting hers. And of course they deployed fighters; that was standard Imperial fleet procedure. What was not was the cordon they made around her ship. She nodded, and shook her head, trying to keep her temper.

“Identification, captain?” She didn’t really need her captain’s sigh to tell her though. The Force was buzzing.

“Horn.” G’nack made the name an epithet and Sharlina could relate. The human Sith Admiral had been a Republic captain before the Sith came and had switched sides. Sharlina detested the man and it was reciprocated. She snarled as the com system lit up. She jerked her head to the captain and G’nack made a hasty retreat. Then she took the call. By the time the holo had formed her features were an emotionless mask.

“Lady Sharlina?” The human’s voice oozed fake concern. “What brings you to this system? And why are your weapons not working?” She glanced at the status board and was gratified to see the weapons icons switch from red to green. She hid a smile; her crew was good. When she spoke, her voice was cold.

“My business is my own. And you would do well to stay out of it, Admiral.” He snorted.

“That business wouldn’t have anything to do with Will Kalenath would it?” He asked nastily. She longed to wipe that smug smile from his face, she burned to. She pasted a disinterested smile on her face. She knew Will had a vested interest in seeing this man dead. And she couldn’t blame him.

“My business, Admiral Horn, is my business.” If anything her voice was cooler.

“I think, just in the name of safety, that I will have to inspect your ship. Lady Sharlina. It wouldn’t do for one of the elite of the Empire to….” He broke off and choked. She raised a hand, fingers curled. It was a long ways to do a Force choke, but she was motivated. He impotently grasped his throat, trying to claw away the invisible fingers she had clutched around it. Her voice didn’t change pitch or inflection, but the temperature seemed to drop a few degrees.

“My business is my business, don’t you agree Admiral?” He nodded, jerkily. She released him and he collapsed out of the holo, but he stood back up a moment later, massaging his throat. She gave him no chance to speak.

“Leave. Now.”

“Milady…” She cut him off; he froze as her eyes flashed with orange fire.

“Leave now.” She cut the com. She shuddered then, in one swift move she was across the chamber and punching a target that was put there for just such occasions. As always she broke it. She stood, breathing deeply as she stared at the two pieces. She imagined the traitorous admiral lying at her feet, broken and the Force whispered to her how to do it. She shook her head. Now was not the time.

Duty before pleasure.

But she did promise herself, that one day, she would find the scum in front of her and no powerful friends of his to stop her. She looked up, watching as the fighters that had surrounded her ship returned to their carriers and the Sith vessels left the system. She called the captain back in. G’nack stared at the broken target and shuddered. That could have been her. She had wondered why Sharlina had insisted on having redundant displays and systems routed to this unused compartment. Now she knew.

“Are they still here?” Sharlin asked, then a few minutes after the last Sith ship left the system, her question was answered. The Stormhawk appeared. Farther away, but still well within gun range. This time her com chirped.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:50 AM | #7
Boss stood and waited for the call to go through. He wasn’t sure WHAT was going on. They had monitored the transmission, it was a closely guarded secret that they could. Seeing that scum Horn had been a shock. Seeing Sharlina literally silence him had been pleasing to watch. Nia was deep in conversation with Trava, both seemed as shocked as he was. The holo lit up and they both quieted. Sharlina stood there, waiting.

“How should I address you?” Boss asked. “I’m not up on Sith protocol.” She smiled fully this time, but only for a moment.

“My name is Sharlina. You probably have never heard of me.” Boss nodded.

“Well, you SEEM to have done us a service. Of course when dealing with Sith, appearances can be deceiving.” She nodded, neither amused nor angry at his speech.

“I did what I did for my own reasons. Please, is Sara Kalenath aboard your ship?” Boss shook his head.

“No.” Sharlina flinched, and then slumped.

“Did she at least survive?” Nia stared at the woman in the holo, and she swore Boss was staring as well.

“Why?” She flinched again, and then spoke softly.

“We are enemies, Stormhawk Boss. But, as my master told me when I joined the ranks of the Bladeborn, honor can be found anywhere.” Nia stared at the holo, now worried. She felt Trava beside her, stiffen as well. The Bladeborn were a known Sith sect. Vicious combatants and, honorable in their own way. “Please, I must know.” Nia nodded to boss and he sighed.

“She lives, you won’t find her.” Sharlina slumped, in relief.

“Then I ask you to take someone aboard from my ship.” Boss shook his head.

“How stupid do you think we are?” Sharlina drew herself up.

“I do not lie to you. Please, is Nia Korr aboard?” Her voice held… entreaty? Nia shook herself and walked into the holo field.

“You knew I was aboard.” Nia said coldly. Sharlina nodded, slightly.

“I suspected. My skills do not normally lie in divination.” Nia stared at her.

“What do you want with me?” Sharlina slumped.

“Your grandmother lives.” Nia froze, Trava and Boss both moved up beside her.

“If you are lying to me, I will hunt you down and kill you no matter where you go.” Nia's voice was cold, hard and neutral. It contained no anger at all.

“I do not lie to you. I discovered that she lived, that her daughter lived, in records I found on Coruscant when we took it. There was no honor to be found that day, so I… wandered. The Force led me to a hidden Republic military base. I am Sith, I know what I am. The strong take from the weak. but... I will not be party to things like that!” Her screams came out, strained, hurt even. “I…” She struggled to regain her control and finally did. Nia, Boss and Trava all stared at her. “I fought my way into the base; the automated systems were still active…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:52 AM | #8
<8 years before, at the Sacking of Coruscant>


Sharlina danced. It was a dance with death, the only kind that really ever mattered. To her anyway. She had been in the third wave of troops to touch down on Coruscant. And almost immediately she had been, appalled. It was… She had no words. Fighting soldiers, droids, Jedi even, that took skill, timings, and many times luck. Killing unarmed civilians who were only trying to flee… She lost herself in the Force, for a time, but… it didn’t last… And when she had come back to herself, none of the beings who had fallen to her sabers had been armed. That didn’t bother her, she was Sith after all. The strong took from the weak. That was the way of things. And these Republic scum deserved what they got. But… there was no honor in it. None of these civilians were worthy foes.

Once a Wookiee challenged her and she found a moment of gloriousness. But it didn’t last. She saluted the Wookiee as he lay, dying. Finally, she deactivated her sabers and walked from the battle. This was beneath her. She heard screams in the distance as Sith troopers, mostly brainwashed conscripts, indulged themselves. It was their right, as the conquering force, but… it was no place for her. She walked along, never really looking where she was going until… something nagged her, something out of place. She scrutinized her surroundings and found it. Under a faded tarp, she found a shiny new military blast door. She looked at it for a moment, and then she activated one of her sabers and cut it open. An alarm came to her ears and she grinned a joyful grin as security turrets and bots came on line. Finally a decent fight.

A timeless moment later, she stood, surrounded by the remains of the defenses and smiled. She was hurt, it didn’t matter. The battle had been glorious. She walked through the facility looking for more. She didn’t find it. Instead, she found… horror. Being trained as a Sith, she had been exposed to evil, she had been touched by it, she embraced it on occasion, but she always recognized it for what it was. Just as she did now. She looked around, seeing the corpses, the medical gear, the… she froze. One of the bodies had moved! She was on her knees beside the… She drew in a breath; the little boy could not have been more than three or four standard years old. He looked at her, even without her Force sense she could see he was dying. He cried, and something in her broke…something deep. She watched as he tried to move away from her. Then he stopped moving and breathing. She nodded. Death was the only true release. The strong take from the weak. She repeated that in her head as she walked through the facility. She found other bodies, many had been experimented on. She found a computer station and managed to get it working. The main systems had been thoroughly trashed, but she found a stack of datapads and started reading them. Halfway through the first one. she froze at a name. Kalenath.

<Four years later>


Sharlina moved through the night like a ghost. It had taken her four years, a lot of favors traded and quite a bit of maneuvering with the Sith Hierachy, but she had managed to get the mission. Ever since she had found that Republic base, she had been haunted by what she had seen there. It didn’t bother her, in the sense that she had nightmares, well, any more than she ever had, but she was disgusted by what the Republic had done to one of its greatest soldiers. What an enemy Will Kalenath was. An honorable foe. A worthy foe. And not a stupid foe. She had faced him once, and he had left her alive. A lesser warrior might seek vengeance for the dishonor. She knew he had left her alive because he didn’t kill those who couldn’t fight back. She understood, better than any what drove the man. He had been betrayed. She knew the feeling. She had watched her first master be cut down from ambush, led into it by a traitor within the Sith. She had killed the traitor herself, and then gone after the ambushers. She knew, she knew what it was that drove him. She had scoffed when tales of his ‘defection’ had come. She had made her derision of that quite clear, and had been proven right. She had sworn to herself that she would repay him for leaving her alive on Onderon. And now, she was close to her goal.

She closed on the entrance and smiled. A rancor would have found kinship in that smile. The Republic guards were lax, lazy even. After all, who would dare to attack here? A few moments later they found out. She left their lifeless bodies where they lay and charged into the facility. As always, the automated weapons fired, but she was a blur, there and gone, leaving broken machinery and slashed guards. Then she was in the medical wing. The scientists in their white coats stared at her, but they didn’t have time to do anything else. She looked into the cells and screamed. She was too late. She held Samuel Kalenath’s lifeless body in her hands and screamed again. Her rage and pain poured out in waves of Force energy that destroyed everything around her.


<Five years later>


Sharlina was sick of this. She had been hunting these…animals for years. They knew she was hunting them. They ran like the dogs they were. She would find another of their facilities and raid it. Always they were one step ahead. She wondered if someone was tipping them off, but her attempts to see if anyone was betraying her failed. She refused to be paranoid. She had managed to recover several of the test subjects. Men women and children, they had all asked to swear fealty to her… TO HER! None of them knew how long they had to live. The experiments that had been done on them… Sharlina shook her head, she needed to focus.
Another facility, same as all the others. Automated security, easy to break. The guards, fighting or fleeing in terror, it made no difference. The scientists cowering in their holes. The records showing that some had escaped. The cells… She froze…

The old woman didn’t flinch as she entered the cell. Sharlina could see the woman was awake and watching her. She admired the woman, to show such courage after having been through so much. She knew what Sharlina was. Sharlina put her sabers away and knelt beside the woman’s bunk. She laid a gentle hand on the woman’s brow.

“Sith.” The woman snarled, but could not muster the breath to curse. Sharlina nodded.

“I am. But today, I am not your enemy. Maria.” She gathered the woman in her arms and left the hellish facility behind her
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:53 AM | #9
<The present>


Sharlina finished speaking and Boss shook his head. Nia however…

“Why?” Sharlina nodded.

“Honor among enemies, Nia Korr. I find I have more in common with my enemies than my ‘friends’. And I owe Will Kalenath.” Nia looked at her.

“He wouldn’t say so. He would say something about leaving you to face your masters.” Sharlina actually laughed.

“I know, but that is my interpretation of his actions. And you cannot tell me he is dishonorable. I know better.” Nia nodded. “I ask that you receive the shuttle I will send over, it will have thirty-three beings on it. Including the pilot. Who will return it here. There will be no weapons on it. You have my word as a Bladeborn.” Nia looked at Trava who nodded, then at Boss who also nodded. She looked at Sharlina.

“Send your shuttle.” She cut the com.

<Hangar Bay, Rancor’s Bite>

Sharlina was there to see them off. They all nodded to her, but Mijel, one of the youngest, broke from the line and ran to her. He knelt at her feet.

“Mistress, please don’t send me away…” She looked at him and something… She smiled at him and knelt down in front of him.

“The people on that ship can help you, or at the very least they can protect you. I can’t.” She wasn’t… she couldn’t…

“You can do anything….” He cried.

“No I can’t Mijel. I need you to be strong. For the others. And I need you to take this…” She handed him a datapad. “…To Nia Korr. She has black hair and green eyes.”

“Like Maria?” he asked, dubious.

“She’s Maria’s granddaughter. Give that to her.” Mijel looked at the pad, and then threw his arms around her. She froze, and then returned his hug stiffly. She drew him to his feet, then turned him back towards the shuttle and gave him a gentle push. He walked back to his place in line then turned back towards her.

“I won’t forget you.” She nodded, saddened for some reason. She watched as the shuttle, filled, left the small hangar and was quickly gone. Her eyes burned, she closed them tight, then turned and went back into the ship to prepare for her future.


<Stormhawk hangar bay>


The deck was cleared. All nonessential work had been moved so that the shuttle had a clear space to land, and it provided the marines and other troops a clear field of fire. Nia stood with Dia and Trava. The rest of the Mandos were scattered where they could do the most good… or bad… depending on what you believed. Nia watched as the Shuttle landed. She hoped and prayed. When the hatch opened, the first person out was a small boy. He saw all of the soldiers and gulped. Nia walked slowly out into the open and waited. The boy walked to her and nodded. He handed her a datapad and then he was crying. She took him in her arms and held him as he cried.

The team designated for it entered the shuttle and assisted the others off. The final person off was escorted by a Mon Calamari in a medical tunic. Nia walked up, still holding the boy. Then she froze. The figure on the floating gurney… She barely noticed when the shuttle took off.

“Grandma?”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
01.21.2012 , 05:57 AM | #10
<The Rancor’s bite, later>


“You don’t need to stay, captain. Any Sith commander would be happy to have you.” G’nack shook her scaly head.

“None of the crew will leave, Mistress. Please don’t command us to.” G'nack moved hea dto the bridge as Sharlina sighed, but then she nodded.

“Yes. Bring them on.” Sharlina nodded to her captain, and then sat, to prepare herself. The Stormhawk had disappeared an hour before. Now… she just had to face the consequences of her actions. Alarms sounded and she sighed, then she rose and, for once went to join her crew on their bridge. They nodded to her as she entered. She scanned the plot. Multiple Sith ships, and… She snarled.

“It’s him Mistress.” G'nack's voice held bottomless corn now. Sharlina scoffed. Then she sighed.

“It’s been an honor G’nack.”

“Like wise… Sharlina….” The com lit up and Admiral Horn’s smirking face shone from it.

“Bladeborn Sharlina, you are accused of treason against the Sith Empire. You will surrender, now.” She looked at him, and her expression might have been that of a Krayt dragon that discovered a small insect on it's claw. Bemused, but disinterested..

“No.”


<Nearby>


Boss watched as the Rancor’s Bite fought eight Sith ships. He winced as it took hit after hit. He didn’t look up as Nia entered the bridge. She gasped.

“Boss…?” He shook his head at her stunned voice.

“We can’t help her. She knew when she talked to us that someone would report it.” His voice was sad now. Nia stared at him in horror. “I don’t think she cared.”

“She didn’t… One of the people she rescued gave me a datapad, you need to see this…” They both looked away from the battle and Nia activated the small screen.

“I leave this message for Nia Korr. I was ordered to return your grandmother to her family and to secure the research for the Empire. On examination of the research I have determined that this information must never get into the hands of the Empire. All of what I have found is on this datapad. I hope that you can use the information to help the people I rescued. And I leave this message to you Nia Korr. Stop them! I tried, I failed. Please… for galaxy as a whole, for Will Kalenath, for all the people they have hurt and killed, attempting to turn them into living weapons… Stop them.”

A gasp went up around the bridge and they looked away from the pad in time to see the Ranco’s Bite explode. She had rammed the largest Sith ship and as they watched, that ship exploded. Nia bowed her head and then Boss shouted.

Atten-hutt!” All of the personnel on the bridge, including Trava, braced to attention. “Present! Arms!” They all saluted, as the last light from the last fire of the Rancor’s Bite drifted away.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here