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(L,F&E 37) A VERY Strange Hutt


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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 03:32 AM | #1
<Tattooine, Cranna the Hutt's clinic>

Chari sat in her chair and tried not to stew. It had been three days. At least she THOUGHT it had been three days. Without the Force and cooped up in a room with no windows, it was hard to tell time. Admittedly, Cranna was actually a fair host. It was obvious that the Hutt didn't like or trust Chari, but she wasn't going to blast the Twilek out of hand either. There was plenty to read, and Chari got to see Illiana every day. Or Rina as the human woman preferred to be called now. The door opened and Chari shot to her feet... but then froze. Instead of Rina, a guard or Cranna... Chari's eyes were wide and her face lit up. The boy in the door smiled, but surprisingly it was the girl who spoke.

“Hello miss Ca, or should we call you Chari now?” Charia knelt down on the floor, so as to be at their level.

“Joruk, Hana... I am so glad to see you. And you can call me whatever you want.” Both children ran to her and she opened her arms to take them in. The hugs they gave her were strong, her return hug was strong as well, but not crushing. She looked them both up and down. “You look good.”

And they did. The haunted look that had been with both of them was gone, or at least diminished a great deal. Small wonder, seeing as how both had been targeted by slavers. Slavers that Chari had dealt with later. Both of the kids had been hurt when the slavers had recaptured them, and Chari blamed herself a bit for that. She had gotten complacent and it had cost the kids. Both had been critically injured by the vengeful slaver scum before their rescue by the Alderaan police. But now, both were healed and both had put on weight. Neither of them was the half starved runaway anymore she had rescued one dark night. She hugged them again. Joruk was the first to speak.

“People say you are a Sith, Ma'am.” Chari nodded. It wasn't strictly true, Bladeborn were not technically Sith. Even if they did follow the Empire. Both the boy and girl tensed a bit, but then relaxed. Hana spoke quietly.

“Then why did you help us?” Chari rocked back on her heels, the girl's question was almost scared. Chari sighed, and then stood up. The children looked at her, but she smiled and waved them towards the bed.

“It's more comfortable than the floor. I will sit here...” She sat in a chair that faced the bed and waited until both had taken seats on the bed. She smiled bit as Hana perched on her folded legs. Jurok, though, sat on the edge of the bed and his eyes never left Chari's. Chari sighed.

“I am a loyal subject of the Sith Empire, but I am not a Sith myself. I belong to a group of warriors who use swords instead of lightsabers. There are a number of things we do differently. But one of our basic tenets is this: Harm no children. At times, its unavoidable, such as when noncombatants blunder into a battlefield. But we do the best we can.” Joruk looked at her.

“So you helped us because your order made you?” There was hurt in his tone and Chari shook her head quickly.

“No. I helped you because I hate slavers. You see, when I was bit younger than you... I was a slave.” Both children's eyes went wide. “The Order's rules would have made me do something, but my own past said I couldn't just leave you afterward. From what I have been able to piece together, I was about five of your years old...”


<The past>

The small red skinned Twi'lek dodged as the grimy man beside her lashed out with a boot. The blow missed her and overbalanced him. He cursed and then lashed out with both hands. Fettered as she was, there was no way to avoid his attack and she fell. She lay there as he kicked her a few times. It wasn't even close to the worst beating she had taken. She couldn't remember much more than the cell she called home and the disgusting excuses for beings who called themselves her masters. Finally the kicks stopped and she was pulled roughly to her feet and thrown back into her cell. With a click, the chain that was attached to the collar around her neck snapped into place on the wall and the door slammed shut, leaving her alone. She felt sick. As bad as some of the slavers were, their leader was worse. The depths of his perversions seemed to have no end. At that, she was one of the lucky ones. Every time she was taken into his quarters, she saw a new body, or two.

She shook her head gingerly. One of the kicks had connected to her jaw. While it wasn't broken, this time anyway, it hurt. Something was different though. Something had changed. Anger was nothing new to her. Fear likewise. But something was different. It was as if, something was... She shook her head. It wasn't important. She scrabbled to the end of the chain and waited. Sure enough the slot on the door opened and the bowl with her meal came though. She grabbed the bowl and retreated from the door hurriedly. She mused over how she felt as she ate the disgusting stew. She didn't want to know what was in it. It filled her though. She had just finished the meal when the door of her cell opened. She didn't flinch as two of the slavers came in. Both leered at her.

“He is done with you, its our turn now...” She shook her head, but they were bigger, stronger and most importantly, neither was manacled. The hauled her bodily off the floor and started to carry her out of the cell. Then, somehow, she hit the floor. She shook her head to clear her vision and when she could see she stared in amazement. The slavers hung off the floor, their feet batting impotently as a huge being held each of them by their throats at least a foot off the floor. Two loud snaps came and both slavers stiffened and went limp. The being who had killed them discarded the bodies almost as an afterthought. Then the strange being turned to her. She froze. Then she shook herself. She met the stranger's eyes coolly, ready to die. At long last. But instead of striking, the being spoke.

“I mean you no harm girl.” She stared at the huge being, in wonder, in terror, in hope. She was floating now, no, the being had picked her up. With quick snaps, her fetters were broken. Another, and her collar was gone. She stared at the being, her rescuer?

“Who are you?” She asked in a weak voice. Darkness was claiming her, but she forced it back. The mouth with numerous sharp teeth opened, but she was sure, somehow, that it was smile.

“My name isss hard to pronounce. But my kin call me 'Mama Lizard'. Come girl, your future awaitsss.”

<The present>

“...And that is how I met the Bladeborn. I was rescued, trained and taught by them. And I served them. I made a mistake and my punishment was to work on Alderaan, where I met you.” The children stared at her and she sighed. “I am not a good person, I know I am not. But I couldn't just stand by and let what happened to me happen to you.”

Hana was crying and Joruk was obviously fighting tears. Chari stood and went to the bedside. She extended her arms and the children swarmed into them, both of them crying now. She looked up as the door opened. Cranna sat in the middle of the hall, an inscrutable look on her large face. Chari didn't speak, just held the children. Cranna nodded. But when the Hutt turned to go, the door remained open. Cranna spoke.

“We need to talk.” The Hutt's voice was neutral and Chari nodded.
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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 03:38 AM | #2
Chari wasn't sure what to expect. The kids though seemed to. They led her to another room where Cranna was lounging. Both walked up, gave Cranna a hug and quietly left the room. Chari couldn't help staring. Cranna smiled a bit sourly.

“Not what you expected huh?” Chari could only shake her head in bemusement. Having a Hutt with a sense of humor was one thing, having a Hutt who spoke Basic, that took some getting used to. Cranna laughed and waved Chari to a seat. Chari sat, a bit nervous now, despite her training. A Hutt that openly hated the Sith, who was kind to children? Cranna tapped a control and a cooler popped out of the wall. “Something to drink?”

Chari nodded, still a bit stunned. Cranna poured two glasses of water and put one on the table where Chari could reach it. She took the other back with her to her couch. Chari took the glass and sipped it. It was pure, clean and cold. She smiled. Cranna nodded.

“I didn't know who you were when we pulled you out of the stasis pod you were in." The mistress of the clinic said slowly. "I don't know whether I would have killed you or not. But once I saw the brand, well, I owed your Clan Mama.” Chari nodded as she sipped her water. “but then that leaves us with a problem.”

“Yeah.” Chari agreed quietly. “You saved my life from the slavers and their employers, I owe you.”

"Well..." Cranna made a face. Then she sighed deeply. “Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem. I have more than my share of enemies, and another guard wouldn't hurt. But...”

Chari nodded, silent. Cranna's feelings toward the Sith were well known. Sith lord, Sith apprentice Sith trooper, it made no difference at all. Any who entered her domain died. But...

“While I wear these...” She tapped the headband that held the neurolizers on her head. “...I can't touch the Force. You don't trust me to fight, and I understand." Chari mused. "And we do prattle on that we are not Sith.” Cranna gave her a long look. “So... Would you have a job that I could do, that might not involve fighting?” Cranna's eyes narrowed a that and Chari shrugged. “I mean, I am not just a fighter. I have other skills...” She tensed, but Cranna snorted.

“I don't go there." Cranna snarled. "And neither do any of my people, clear?” Chari nodded as she relaxed. The Twilek sighed.

“I didn't mean it that way... Yes I can dance, but that is not all I can do. I mean, I can do a number of jobs. I have been trained in data entry, filing, coding and other clerical stuff. I have worked in a hospital, both as an ER nurse and floor.” Cranna stared at her disbelieving and Chari slumped. “Our master likes his strange punishments. The hospice wasn't the only medical place I have worked.” Cranna rocked back at that. “I also want to find out what happened to Ill-, Rina...”

"Rina..." Cranna sighed. “She was found wandering the streets after dark, crying. The militia brought her to the clinic. Her physical injuries were clear enough, but...” Chari looked at her and Cranna snarled. “She had been abused in a number of ways. It wasn't until much later that we determined that she had been a Sith and a Bladeborn. A Jedi of my acquaintance came in and checked her over. My acquaintance said that the girl's connection with the Force had been severed.” Chari sat bolt upright at that, and Cranna nodded. “The cover story of her trying to sneak in and getting caught was the best we could come up with. And with her messily dead, well, no one was looking for her...”

"Fair enough." Chari nodded. “She wasn't the best of us, but she wasn't the worst by a long shot either. Do you think she was dumped? As a warning?” Cranna shook her huge head.

“No. From what she does remember, fragments mainly, I think she escaped. Of course, it could have been an arranged escape.” Chari nodded slowly at the Hutt's words. “There is nothing physically wrong with her now, but every scan we have done says the exact same things. The part of her brain where her memories would have resided has been scoured almost clean. We think chemically, but if so, its nothing we have encountered before. Most of the specialists we have talked to say it isn't possible.” At that Chari scoffed and Cranna did as well. “Yeah, obviously it is. She has made a place for herself here.”

"I see." Chari sighed and spoke quietly. “If... If she is happy here... I won't ruin that for her. But my kin need to know...” Cranna nodded. She tapped her remote and a armored guard entered the room. He set a datapad down on the table and left without a word. Cranna waved to it.

“That is all the records we have. The Militia reports, every scan we have done, everything. Do you think your people can help her?” Cranna's voice held entreaty and Chari thought hard for a moment. Then the Twi'lek stared at the floor and shook her head. Cranna's clinic was the best in the Outer Rim, one of the best for its size in the galaxy. If her people couldn't fix what was wrong with Rina... Cranna slumped. “Part of me had hoped... She still has nightmares. One thing... She remembered one thing. A red light. And people she didn't know doing things to her.”

Chari snarled, but then controlled herself. She sat for a long moment and then finished off her water. “My honor tells me I have to pay my debt to you.”

“And my honor tells me that I can't have a Sith working for me.” Chari nodded, but then, she smiled slightly. Cranna stared at her. “What?”

“If I wasn't a Sith?” Cranna shook her head slowly.

“If you were not a Sith I would give you a place until you paid your debt. But you are.” She stopped as Chari shook her head savagely.

“Not now I am not." Chari said with iron determination. "Until I pay this debt, I am yours.” Cranna snorted.

“I don't want a slave.” There was a deep undercurrent of rage in the Hutt's voice and Chari nodded.

“Give me a knife.” Chari's voice was quiet, but firm. Cranna stared at her.

“Why?” The Hutt asked carefully.

“So I can cut my brand off.” At that cold statement from the Twi’lek, Cranna froze. She didn't know a lot about Bladeborn, but she did know what the brand meant. A kinship mark, a family mark. Remove that of one’s own free will and...

“You would... just drop... your whole family, just like that?” Chari bowed her head. “No.” Chari's eyes shot up and the Hutt's held rage, but not at Chari. “I won't do that to you. We will find another way.”

“This is the easiest way...” Cranna snarled at Chari's words.

“What would happen once you fulfilled the debt? If you did that?” Chari looked at the floor again and Cranna had her answer. Death to regain her honor. Suicide, probably a messy one knowing these nutcases... “I may have a better idea...”
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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 03:40 AM | #3
<Two days later>

Chari lay back in the bed and tried not to wince. It wasn't as if she HURT. It wasn't pain so much as an annoying itch. All over her body. She had been absolutely certain that Cranna had flipped. But when she had finally been removed from of the tank... She had looked in the mirror and almost screamed. She couldn't believe it. She got up and walked to the refresher again, wondering if maybe she HAD dreamed it. But the proof of it stared back at her every time she looked at the mirror. The skin color that she had known since she could remember was gone. Lethan Twileks, or red skinned, were rare. There were times she had cursed the accident of genetics that had made her so memorable. Sometimes she had screamed about it. Others she had just accepted it and occasionally she had reveled in it. Now her brown orbs stared back at her from a mottled green colored face. A very common Twilek shade. She shook her head and winced as the action made her lekku stretch a painful spot on her scalp.

It wasn't like she was going to betray Cranna, but she couldn't blame the Hutt for taking... precautions. The small explosive charge nestled between the two main hemispheres of her brain didn't hurt. There weren't any nerve endings inside the brain to hurt, but... All it would take was a push of a switch and she would cease to care about anything. The headwrap that she wore was ornamental, and not. It was decorated, tastefully so, not gaudy, and it had another function. It incorporated a pair of neurolizers. And it was locked around her head. She had insisted on that. Cranna would have just made her wear it, but Chari knew her limits. If she could get out of it, she would. And it wasn't uncomfortable, and most important, it wasn't a collar. She wasn't a slave. But then she raised her arm and sighed. Cranna had been true to her word. The flesh graft looked like a burn treatment, which technically it was... If she squeezed down hard, she could feel the bumps and ridges of her brand through several layers of skin. But it wasn't visible. She shook her head slowly. Then she slumped. This was better than her casting all of her ties aside. She had to keep telling herself that. She went back to her bed and lay down again.

She must have slept, because the light that shone through the high slit window was edged with shadow. The door chimed for entry and she shook herself and sat up. “Enter.”

A Cathar walked in carrying a tray. Chari looked at the strange apparition and the Cathar smiled as she laid the tray on the table.

“You have recovered well. I can't say I am surprised. I don't know if you remember, you were a bit loopy from the drugs we had given you. My name is Katherine.” Chari nodded. She had met the medic in the clinic after Cranna had broached her mad plan.

“I do. You held my hand as they put me under...” They had strapped her to a platform and she hadn't reacted well to that. But the touch of a sentient, a kind touch, had calmed her enough to relax into sedation. Chari wasn't really sure what to make of this woman. The kindness the woman had shown in the face of Chari's obvious discomfiture was reassuring. And she wasn't armed. All the rest of Cranna's people, even Rina, wore blasters. All this Cathar carried was a medikit. The Cathar smiled in a friendly manner.

“I understand you are to blame for our influx of pint sized personnel as well.” Chari raised an eyebrow and Katherina nodded. “Cranna told me what you did on Alderaan. Saving the kids. Well done.”

Chari shrugged. She would have much preferred to cut all of the slavers into bite sized chunks and flush them down the recycler, but... orders had been orders. The Cathar sat and Chari got out of the bed and sat at the table as well. Katherina sighed. “Cranna says you have worked in hospitals. So after you eat I will take you, show you around.” Chari ate quickly and without speaking. As she did, she scrutinized the Cathar. She had known a few, her sister Atara was Cathar. But, something was different about this one. She exhaled as she finished the food.

“When do we start?” She asked quietly. Katherine smiled.

“Right now.” Chari nodded and stood up and Katherina led her to the door. It might be a long day.

<Ten hours later>

Yep, a long day...

Chari collapsed back into the bed and winced. She HAD done ER work before. She had done floor nurse duty before. But never in such a small and understaffed clinic. It had started a slow day, but then four speeder accidents, two knife brawls and a blaster fight had overflowed the small ER. She had run around so many places. The two doctors had done all they could. Luckily only one of their patients hadn't made it. But that one hit Chari hard. A little boy had been tossed from his family speeder when it had hit a Ronto. He hadn't been wearing his safety harness and had been thrown across the entire street. He probably would have been paralyzed for life if he had woken up. As it was, Chari had been on duty in the room when his monitors had gone off. She had tried. She had tried everything she knew. But it just hadn't been enough to bring him back. And for the first time in a long, long time. Chari cried into someone else's shoulder as Katherine had held her.

Now, though... She ached. Her feet hurt, her head hurt, her legs and arms hurt. But at least it took her mind off the itch. She fell asleep grinning sadly, thinking about how strange that was. That she was worried about an itch, when people were getting hurt and killed... It didn't make sense. It really didn't... make... She never knew when someone pulled blanket over her and turned the dim lights in her room out.

<Nearby>

“Well?” Cranna was looking at the viewscreen, impassive. The screen showed Chari asleep. Katherina stood nearby, obviously upset.

“She is good. The kid though... It hit her hard. Almost as hard as it hit me...” Cranna gave the Cathar's shoulder a squeeze.Katherine hated hurt kids. She sighed, controlling herself. This was important. “She is a good trauma nurse and a good floor nurse. We can certainly use her. Cranna I don't like this. It smacks of slavery.” Cranna stiffened and then sighed.

“I know. But it's her choice. I told you what her other choice was. What her choice was...” Katherine slumped. “I will pay her.” Katherine looked at her employer and Cranna shrugged. “I don't hold slaves. I won't have slaves. We will keep an eye on her, but for now, she is an employee.” Katherine nodded.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 03:45 AM | #4
<2 days later>

It never got routine and Chari was glad of it. Routine meant sloppiness, at least to her anyway. One day they had an industrial accident. The next they had a Sand People attack. All mixed in with the usual incidents and accidents that happened when sentients were crammed together in a town. Somehow though she had wound up a supervisor. She wasn't sure exactly HOW that had happened. She had come in this morning and found her name on the roster in a different place. She sighed. It made sense. She had experience, many of the others didn't. They worked hard though and all pitched in as needed. She had cleaned rooms, bedpans, surgical gear. Then she had assisted in emergency surgery. While it had basically been as a tool grabber for the surgeon, she had been pleased with her performance. That construction worker might never get full use of his left leg back, but he was alive. Which was absolutely amazing since he had been pinned under heavy equipment for almost ten minutes while they tried to get it off of him. The people hurt by the Sand People raid were more worrisome. The weapons that the Sand People used were always in ill repair. Almost always slugthrowers too. So the residue of the propellant charges were almost always carried along with the projectiles. That made for very messy wounds. She did as asked, without question or comment. Until...

“I would speak with you.” She was just putting down the last bullet she had removed from her patient's arm when the doctor came in, annoyed. She finished the initial bandaging and then patted the woman on the shoulder before following the doctor out into the hall. Some things were not for public consumption.

“Doctor.” Chari acknowledged him with a nod. The doctor looked at her and spoke a bit sharply.

“What do you think you are doing?” Chari sighed. Then she pulled her patient's charts down from the wall rack and handed them to the doctor. The doctor had come in, scanned the charts and left. A few minutes later another nurse had come in to give the woman a shot. Chari had stopped her. And now the doctor was back, demanding an answer. He leafed through the chart and stopped as Chari put her hand on a particular place. He stared at it and blanched. The painkiller he had prescribed for the patient was one she was allergic to. The dose she would have gotten might have very well killed her. He slumped.

“Thank you.” He made a quick change on the chart and handed Chari a hypo. “This will not cause a reaction. Good eyes...”

"No problem." She shrugged. “We are all part of the same team, doc.” She smiled at him and went back into the room to finish her treatment. The woman smiled at her as Chari finished bandaging the wounds. Then she remained still as Chari injected the painkiller. “You will be alright.” The woman nodded and got up from the exam bed to go to to the waiting are to wait for the rest of her family. Those who had survived. The attack on the small moisture farm had been sudden and devastating. Then as quickly as they had appeared, they had vanished, leaving two dead and several wounded. Chari cleaned up, waiting for her next patient. When the human male arrived though, he didn't get on the exam bed, no he shut the door and looked straight at her.

“Chari of the Bladeborn.” The man spoke quickly. Chari froze.

“Do I know you?” Her voice was cold. But her mind was racing.

“Captain Sarle, Imperial Intelligence. We have been trying to get someone inside Cranna's operation for years. And you just walked right in. Well done.” Chari looked at him. The bandages on his body looked... off. Like they were a disguise.

“Are you injured?” Her voice might have been an little colder, it was hard to tell.

“No, I'm going to give you a set of bugs I need planted and a set of...” He froze as Chari's expression registered. Anger. “What?” When she spoke it was quiet, cold and menacing.

“Get out.” Her tone was cold now. He stared at her, utterly dumbfounded.

“Here now, you are a loyal servant of the Empire, your duty is...” He crumpled as she slugged him in the stomach. Then she slammed his face into the floor.

“I am not your pet, I not your servant and I will not be your pawn.” Chari's voice was almost as cold as the wilds of Hoth as she slammed him into the floor again, then dropped him to recover. He looked at her with blood trickling down his face.

“You traitorous...” She kicked him again, and kept kicking him until the door of the exam room flew open and two guards stood there with drawn blasters. Pointed at her. She ignored them, picked the hapless intelligence operative up by the front of his shirt and threw him into the hall.

“Get this trash out of the clinic.” She turned her back on the guards and started cleaning up the mess she had made. A few moments later Katherine's voice came.

“What happened?” Chari turned to see her in the door with a merc beside her. She thought the man had been introduced as Dron.

“Imperial spy, wanted me to sell out Cranna.” Her tone made it utterly clear how she felt about that. Dron looked at her, and she snorted. “Don't tell me you didn't have somebody watching the camera...” She pointed a lekku at the shadowed corner where a camera was hidden partly by the shadows. Dron snorted, but Katherine had a worried look on her face.

“Is that going to cause you problems? I mean...” She broke off as Dron snorted. She looked at him and his face was grim. Chari sighed and nodded. Without a word, he turned and left. Katherine started after him and flinched. Chari finished her cleaning and moved to stand near her... boss? Keeper? Friend? She wasn't sure HOW she defined the Cathar. When Katherine spoke it was troubled. “If he doesn't come back...”

"Him? Ah..." Chari sighed. “Imperial Intelligence will write him off. And good riddance. I think...” She slumped. “He was wearing moisture farmer attire, I wouldn't have put it past an Imperial Intelligence Operative to get the Sand People riled enough to attack, to make a better cover.” She froze as she saw Cranna approaching. Cranna slithered up and looked at her.

“You didn't have to do that. You knew we were watching. You knew we would have picked him up as soon as he left the room.” Chari nodded, but when she spoke there was no give at all in her voice.

“Yes I did have to do that." Chari disagreed mildly. "Otherwise... I'm just one more pawn. And I won't be a pawn.” Cranna snorted.

“No you are definitely not a pawn, a queen maybe, but not a pawn...” Chari and Katherine both laughed at that.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.24.2012 , 03:48 AM | #5
<The next day>

Chari sat and smiled. The clinic was good place, run by good people. People who cared more about helping that making money or increasing their power. It reminded her a lot of home in some regards. And they required her to take time off. She didn't mind. Hospital work was stressful even when things were not hectic. When they were... Katherine had come into her room this morning with a smile and a revised roster. She had a day off. She had been a bit worried. After all, what could a Bladeborn do, that wouldn't cause problems? She had worked out a bit and then... She had asked a guard to find someone and that had led her... here. The children all looked at her. She smiled again.

“Which one would you like to hear?” She loved kids. Part of it was her training with the Bladeborn, part of it was her own horrific past, part of it was genetic -Twileks were a social species, and part was that she knew a couple of the pairs of eyes that stared at her.

“Jaster Rocket.” Several of them chorused. Chari grinned at Hana, who sat cross legged in front of the others. Then she nodded and pulled a small book, a real honest to goodness, page turning book out of the pile at her feet. The kids stared at it. How many of them could have possibly seen one before? The galaxy was much more high tech, datapads, terminals... But to Chari's mind, nothing could top a book that one had to turn the pages of. So she had asked if Cranna had any. And lo and behold the Hutt did. And children's books at that. Not all were in the bet of condition, but all were readable. And she smiled as she opened the book and started reading.

“Jaster Rocket was worried. It had been a long time since he had heard from his friend Woomeroo...” She sat back and focused on reading, never knowing, or caring, that her performance had a few more spectators that the children clustered around her feet.

<Nearby>

“Well?” Katherine's low voice didn't disturb any of the security personnel who were looking at the monitors. Cranna sighed and started for the door. She didn't speak until she was in the hall. She trusted her guards, but she had an appointment. As she slithered she spoke.

“You like her.” Katherine nodded, a bit rueful. She hadn't expected to. But Chari was not a typical Sith, if there really was such an animal.

“I do. And she is good at nursing." Katherine smiled at the image on the screen. Chari was reading to the kids and all were enraptured by her rich voice. "One of the best we have at the moment.” Cranna nodded but her face was... sad?

“If we keep her there, she will never be able to fulfill her oath. I doubt SHE would mind, but... I would. We can't have her here forever.” Katherine nodded slowly. “Sooner or later a Jedi will show up and you know THEY would react to finding her here.”

Katherine shivered. “Not well...” Cranna snorted at the understatement.

“She says she knows filing and data entry. I could use her in Records.” Katherine stiffened and Cranna waved a hand. “I won't take her completely from you. What say, two days a week at the hospital?”

“Four.” Katherine retorted and Cranna laughed.

“Haggling with your boss? Katherine, I am shocked. Three. And that was what you knew we were going to wind up at.” Katherine smiled. It was an old game between the two mismatched beings. The Cathar and the Hutt. Strange people to be friends, but friends they were. Cranna sobered and spoke quietly as they reached a secure door with two guards. “You don't have to come.”

Katherine slumped. This was a part of her life here at Cranna's that she really didn't like. When she spoke though, her voice was strong. “You may need me.”

Cranna sighed. “Katherine. We have medics. You don't have to come.” She slumped a bit as the Cathar's shoulders straightened.

Stubborn Cathar... She nodded to the guards and they opened the door. Inside was another door a few paces further on. They stepped in and waited as the door behind them sealed. Only after it had closed completely did the door in front of them open. As soon as it had cracked open, sounds reached the ears of both of them. Horrifying sounds. Screams, whimpers, and... giggles? Those were worse in some way...

Cranna slithered into her dungeon and nodded to her chief warden. The Ubese nodded back.

“Where is he?” The Ubese waved her towards a cell door and she nodded. She moved to the door and peered at the screen that showed the inside. She froze. “How long has she been in there?” The Ubese held up a finger. One hour. Cranna sighed and opened the cell door. Inside, there were two forms. When she spoke it was quiet, but commanding. “Meeliee? What have I told you?”

The Bothan looked at at Cranna from where she was crouched beside the interrogation frame and smiled. There was something... off... about her smile. As if she wasn't totally there. “I am sorry Cranna, you told me to wait, but... a new one. And he is so much fun...”

Cranna sighed and the man strapped to the table screamed again as the Bothan touched him. “Get her away from me! I'll tell you anything! Anything! Just get her away from me!!!” He screamed again as she touched him again. Cranna shook her head.

“Meeliee, time for bed.” The Bothan pouted, but obeyed. She walked out of the cell and headed towards another. Cranna jerked her head towards Katherine and the medic followed, a disapproving frown on her face. Meeliee... flounced into another cell and lay down on the bed. She looked at Katherina as the Cathar started strapping her down. Her eyes held... confusion?

“Why don't you want to play?” The Bothan asked with sad eyes. Katherine finished the straps and shook her head sadly.

“I am not your type girl. Come on. You know the drill.” Katherine said with a sigh. Meeliee pouted again, and then lay back and let Katherine strap her head down. Only after she was sure all the straps were secure did Katherine run the IV line to the permanent shunt in Meeliee's arm. The Bothan's woman's eyes rolled back in pleasure and a few moments later she was unconscious. Katherine sighed as she closed and locked the cell door. Of all the things that they had expected, this was not on the list. For a being to react that way to an aphrodisiac... It just seemed wrong. But the Bothan was alive, unlike her partner who had tried to escape. But she was... Katherine snorted. Her sympathy for Republic Intelligence operatives was slim these days. And it couldn't be said that Meeliee didn't enjoy herself. Even if she was clinically insane...

<Back in the first cell>

"Now..." Cranna's voice could have frozen a wampa in its tracks. “Captain Sarles. What does Imperial Intelligence want with me this time...”
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06.24.2012 , 03:54 AM | #6
<That night>

Chari started awake. It had been a good day. The kids had perked her up, given her a chance to relax, be herself. It was so rare that she could just be herself. The MasterBlade part of her had demands on her. The Lethan Twilek part of her had demands on her. The Sith part of her had demands on her. She tried to think of when she had last relaxed completely. She couldn't think of a time actually. It felt odd, but good.

She froze as a warm mass moved a bit in her lap. She looked down and smiled a bit sadly. Marc was a good kid and, sleeping, he showed none of the fear and worry that was his habitual mask. She stroked his short hair and he murmured in his sleep before shifting a bit. It was uncomfortable, but she wasn't about to move him. The surgical scars that shown through his hair were extensive and she sighed sadly. It was highly unlikely that the poor boy would ever have a normal life. They hadn't even been able to find out where the people who had done evil to him had found him. There had been no records. And the slaver scum who had possessed the droid that he had been plugged into had not survived. Cranna's people had pulled him out and patched him up, but... he wouldn't ever be the same. Not only had he been programmed like a droid, but since he had been so small, his brain had been operated on to make space for the implants. The scum had removed parts of his brain. Chari snarled silently and then sighed. She picked up the slumbering boy and gently carried him to one of the beds that surrounded the common room. A medical clinic really wasn't the best of places for a bunch of kids and Cranna's palace/operating center wasn't either. So they made do. The good news was that there was no shortage of people interested in adopting the kids. The bad news was that each and every one had to be screened, checked and rechecked. She laid Marc down on the bed and then froze as he whimpered a bit. She gave a hug and he relaxed back into deep sleep. She covered him with a blanket and made her way to the door. Outside, the guards nodded to her and she nodded back. No one really thought that anyone would be insane enough to try and snatch the children from Cranna's care of all people, but no one was willing to take the chance either. Which was why no less than a full squad of guards watched over the children's area of the compound. Chari was walking back to her room when she saw Cranna in the distance. She waited until her... employer? No that wasn't right. Her jailer? No that wasn't right either.. She laughed softly and Cranna looked at her. Chari snorted again and spoke quietly.

“I was just trying to define our relationship here...” Cranna looked at her and then snorted in matching amusement.

“It is kind of odd.” Chari shook her head at Cranna's words.

Kind of?” Disbelief colored the Twi'lek's voice and Cranna had to grin at the sheer humor. Chari did as well, and then she sobered.

“Back to the clinic tomorrow?” Chari asked softly. Cranna shook her head.

“No. I could use you in some data entry work.” Chari made a face and Cranna laughed again, but this time in commiseration. “I hate it too, but it is needed.” Chari shook her head. Cranna was right, but... She sobered.

“Is there anything anyone can do for Marc?” Cranna shook her head.

“I have had imported specialists, even a Jedi healer, examine him. All have said the same thing. 'No'.” Chari bowed her head. “You need to know...” Cranna's words were soft but Chari didn't look at her. “He has asked twice for us to end his pain. He doesn't... He doesn't remember it a few minutes later thank goodness...” When Chari spoke it was quiet. But underneath lay rage.

“I don't need the Force to know that, Cranna. He is such a good kid... What they did to him was wrong.” Sith she might be, but she wasn't about to let people get away with this kind of thing if she could help it. A pudgy fist took hold of her arm and she stared up into Cranna's eyes. The rage she felt was mirrored in the Hutt's eyes.

“That's why I need you to look at the records. Maybe you can find something we missed.” Cranna asked, her voice tautly controlled. Chari nodded.

<The next day>

Chari sighed. She really hated data entry work. It was time consuming and boring. But she really didn't want to make any mistakes. She sifted through the pile of flimsies on the desk and sighed as she picked up yet another datapad. She had already gone through and entered a whole slew of reports. After action reports from Cranna's people, who acted more like an actual army than a pirate band. Medical reports. Captured... She froze and rewound the datapad she had been studying. The legend said that it was a captured piece from a ship Cranna and her team had taken at... She smiled, and it was more than bit feral.

<A few minutes later>

“Ord Mantell.” the look on Cranna's face was dubious and Chari continued. “We have known there was a Republic Intelligence base there for some time, but haven't been able to locate it. It wasn't a big priority. But with this...” She tapped the datapad in front of her and all the others looked at it and her. “This is the datapad that Dun wasn't able to destroy.”

Cranna smiled at that. Major Dun had been the Republic Intelligence operative who had taken the children off of Alderaan only to run into her. Mainly due to Chari having contacted Cranna and told her what was happening. That Cranna's people had also found Chari in a stasis pod aboard was an afterthought. But Dron shook his head.

“We went over Dun's stuff, its mostly in code. Code names and locations.” Chari nodded at his words, but her grin was vicious.

“You are right. But this entry... Location Sierra Seven Green. That I have seen before.” Dron looked at her and she shrugged before continuing. “The Empire has received requests for aid from the Ord Mantell Separatist movement from almost the moment they started.” The mercs looked at one another but Cranna just nodded. “They have been feeding us intel on Republic movements and com traffic, but as far as I know, no major Imperial Forces have been committed.”

“'As far as you know?'” This from a small female human merc. Aleesa, Chari thought the woman had been introduced as. Chari smiled humorlessly.

“Its not like they would tell us everything. The left hand literally doesn't know what the right hand is doing an awful lot.” They grinned a bit at her sour tone. “But I can tell you this. Its not in the main Republic base. That the Separatists have scouted fairly thoroughly.” Dron nodded.

“Makes sense. If they are doing the same kind of things there, they don't want a bunch of witnesses.” Chari nodded. Cranna hit a switch and a holo of Ord Mantell appeared on the largest monitor in front of them.

“There are several organizations operating on Ord Mantell at the moment. A Hutt force run by that weenie Pizza, a group of Exchange and... Hmmm...” the others looked at Cranna and she smiled. An evil smile as only a Hutt could. “I think I may have a solution for our problems...”
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06.24.2012 , 04:02 AM | #7
<Two weeks later>

Waiting. She hated waiting. But they had to get more information before acting. Her days were becoming routine. Chari dreaded routine. It dulled her. Slowed her. But when the alarm went off for a medical emergency she was in motion faster than any of the others. But when she arrived at the scene, she froze. Marc...

“No...” She breathed, and then she yanked the boy down from where he hung and started resuscitation procedures. She was still trying them when strong arms pulled her away. She lashed out blindly and heard a cry of pain, as she went back to her task. But then a voice came to her.

“Chari... It's too late. He's gone.” She looked up into Katherine's eyes and shook her head. She went back to trying. She knew it was hopeless. The scanner said it all. He had found the end of his pain at the end of a twisted bedsheet. But she couldn't stop. She couldn't... A hypo touched her on the arm and she froze, and then collapsed. As she lost consciousness she heard voices, but nothing made sense. Her face was wet as darkness claimed her.

“Stang, she hits hard...” Aleesa winced as Katherine examined her arm. Katherine nodded and produced a splint.

“She broke it. You know better.” The doc said with a sigh. The merc nodded.

“She was just... We all feel the same way, but...” Aleesa sighed as Katherine splinted the arm carefully and injected a painkiller.

“I know." Katherine shook her head. "Yeah. I'll call for a gurney, get her back to her room. Can you... stay...?” Aleesa nodded as she sat beside the small sad body.

“I will. Take care of her. For a Sith she isn't half bad.” Katherine nodded.

<Later>

Chari woke up sobbing. She knew it hadn't been a dream. She opened her eyes and froze. Cranna was there. The Hutt extended a glass to the Twilek and Chari took it. At the moment she didn't care if it was drugged or poisoned. Chari drank slowly. Then in a convulsive movement she threw the glass across the room. Tears came freely now.

“He was just a kid... He had his life ahead of him...” Cranna nodded silent. “How old was he? Six, seven? Damn it Cranna, how could anyone do that...? I can be cruel, but that... There are limits...”

Cranna nodded silently. And now Chari snarled. “I don't care what I have to do. I don't care what you make me do. I want these scum stopped and stopped hard. I want them dead. I want them under my blade and screaming in agony for hours!

“He was five when he disappeared from Correlia two years ago.” Chari froze in mid rant and looked at Cranna who was also crying a bit. “We finally IDed him. His name was Rich Jaster. His parents are on the way.” Chari bowed her head again, grief coming in waves. Cranna spoke and there was the aura of command in her voice when she did. “You need to control yourself.” Chari nodded and took deep breaths. “Now lie down on your stomach.”

Chari looked at her, bemused, but did as instructed. A touch behind her head and she froze in shock and horror as the lock clicked open and the lekku wrap containing the neurolizers fell off!

“No..." Chari stayed still, unable to trust herself. "No... Cranna you don't know what you are doing...”

“Yes I do.” Chari looked up, but her face was scared almost. Cranna made an expression that might have been called a smile. The same way a shark's might have been. “I need you at your full capability. Because you are coming with us to Ord Mantell.”

"Cranna..." Chari shook her head as she held the wrap in place. “You do not want me using the Force right now Cranna... you don't...” Cranna sighed.

“I need a Bladeborn." The Hutt replied coldly. "Not a nurse.” Chari shook her head.

“You don't know what you are saying...” Chari said, not moving from her spot.

“Yes I do." Cranna replied. "You go in the tank in an hour.” Chari stared at the Hutt.

“I don't..." Chari blinked. "I don't understand...”

“Your skin will be put back the way it was." Cranna could have been a wall of ice for all the emotion she showed now. "As will your arm. I need Chari of the Bladeborn.” Chari stared at Cranna and shivered.

“Why?" Chari asked softly, almost scared. She had been happy here. Happier than she remembered being actually. "You have people, more than enough...” Cranna nodded.

“For a normal assault, yes." Cranna agreed. "But as soon as we hit the place, the leaders and the doctors in charge will flee. So we need more people. We need to take as many as possible alive. We need information.” Chari's eyes went wide. Her voice was low.

“Cranna, you cannot mean what I think you mean...” Charia's voice was disbelieving, stunned.

“Who else would you trust for something like this?" Cranna demanded. "The Republic? The Sith? Some pirate group? Corporate goons? Or maybe another Hutt?” Chari shook her head, trying with all her might to convey her absolute horror at this idea. Bringing the rest of the Bladeborn in on this... Bad idea didn't come close... not even close...

“Mama will kill you.” Chari replied, unsure. Cranna snorted.

“She has got reason to dislike me and the feeling is mutual." Cranna grimaced. "But... If you tell them about Rina...”

“They won't believe me.” Cranna nodded at Chari's soft tone.

“Which is why she is coming along too.” Chari's eyes went even wider. “Now you have a appointment in the tank. Best get ready.” Chari shook her head slowly, but then nodded. Cranna turned and left the room leaving Chari to her thoughts. Thoughts that were very dark...
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06.24.2012 , 04:06 AM | #8
<Somewhere>

“You have GOT to be kidding...” All of the others in the small compartment flinched. Almost anyone would have when a seven foot tall angry Barabel spoke. "Hasss zhe lossst her mind?"

The sole non-force user in the group licked his lips and spoke quietly. “It's Chari's code.” He froze as the Barabel rounded on him. Mama Lizard in a rage was to be avoided at all costs.

“You are a massster of the obviouz, Cole. I KNOW Chari'sss code. Thiz hasss to be trick of zome kind.” She stared at the message that was displayed on the screen. It was simple and to the point.

'Need backup, Ord Mantell, 1 week from time sent'

Mama cursed again and walked to the side of the compartment. None or the others moved as she slammed her massive fist into the wall. The metal showed a noticeable dent. None of the others spoke as she rejoined the group. The Bothan healer, Ona, spoke.

“We don't know what is going on. All we know is that she is asking for backup.” Mama growled at her, but there was no malice behind it. The Bothan made sense. “We need more information. What is the current intel on Ord Mantell?” Cole shook his head.

“Its a mess. The Separatists and their guerrilla war are making life hot for the Republic forces. The underworld types are fighting back, and not shying away from atrocities either. There have been reports of massacres on both sides. The Republic has some elite forces stationed on planet. At least a company of Special Forces.” A murmur went around the table. While most republic troops were sword or lightsaber fodder, Special Forces were a challenge. Well trained, well armed, well equipped, well motivated. They could be devastating opponents. Even for Sith, even for Bladeborn.

“What the flarg would Chari be doing there?” Mama asked. But it was a rhetorical question. She turned to the one person in the group who hadn't spoken. “You are very quiet Idjit. What do you sssee?” The blind seer shook his head, but Mama was having none of it. “Don't give me that. What do you zee?”

Idjit raised his face to hers and the others froze as they saw what was on it. Sorrow, pain and rage. “You don't want to know.” Mama recoiled. He had never said that to her before. Idjit turned to the others and shook his head. Without a word, they rose and left the compartment. Mama stared at him. When he spoke, his voice was full of sorrow.

“You know I was never able to 'see' what happened to Illiana.” Mama snarled. That episode had been the final straw in her trusting a certain being from her past. “I...” Idjit's voice broke, but he controlled himself. “I...saw... something... I thought it was just... a figment of my imagination. Or the Force. But now I have seen it three times... Mama, Illiana is alive.”

The huge Barabel froze. “That isss... impozible.”

“I saw her with Chari. Mama, she doesn't remember us. She doesn't remember anything...” Barabels were not able to blanch, but the feeling was there. “And she doesn't have the Force any more. I can't sense her... I always could before...” He sank down to his knees and the huge Barabel sank down beside him. They cried together.

<A week after the message was sent>

“Sarge, what are we doing here?” The two armored forms stood at the door of the warehouse and tried to look inconspicuous. Hard to do when: A) Both were in full armor and B) Both were armed to the teeth. But the one with sergeants stripes on his armor pauldron snarled.

“Mikels, if you ask that question one more time I am going to shoot you and save the Forces a world of hurt. We are doing what Lieutenant Majin told us to” Both froze as another armored form appeared in the door. The Lt in question nodded to his men.

“Five minutes till showtime. Anything out here?” Both shook their heads and then froze as a shuttle swooped low and landed close at hand. A SITH shuttle...

“Uh... Sir...?”

“I see it sergeant. That is who we were waiting for.” Both turned to their commanding officer but he just shrugged and went back inside. Both froze stiff as a huge form started down the ramp as soon as it touched down. It looked... unhappy. Both had their weapons in hand, but pointed away from the... whatever it was that was coming towards them. A voice came from behind them and they turned partway to see a Lethan Twilek standing in the shadows.

“Don't shoot the Barabel. You will just make her mad. Er... madder...” She stepped out into the path of the oncoming lizard and nodded. The Twilek... hugged the Barabel and the Barabel returned it. Then both nodded to the two bemused troopers and walked through the door followed by a Bothan and a man whose face was shadowed by his brown cloak. The two troopers looked at each other and shrugged. Jedi just got weirder and weirder every day.

<Inside>

“My company is tasked to strike at the various Separatist camps we have IDed.” The Bothan looked at him and he nodded. “Yes the entire company. While that will strike a critical blow to the Separatists, it also means we will be dispersed and unavailable to assist anyone who might call for help.” There was a feral grin in his voice. “I and my team have to get back, start our pre-mission checks. Don't let them get away.” The group looked at him and he shrugged. “We don't like them any more than you do. Less, we have to work with the scum. And any time we complain people get hurt or disappear. Good hunting.” With that, the soldier turned and left the building. That left the two groups staring at each other. Chari sighed.

“Rina...” Her voice was soft but it carried. The three Bladeborn froze as Rina appeared out of a doorway. Her posture was timid, terrified even. Mama looked stunned. Ona was speechless. Idjit's face was serene, but anyone with the Force could tell he was mad. Very, very mad. Chari looked at Cranna and Cranna's people started moving, to go get ready. She took Rina's arm in a gentle grip. “I want to introduce you to some people who knew you... before...” Rina was petrified, but Chari's gentle grip seemed to reassure her. “This is Idjit. Ona, and Mama Lizard. And no she won't eat you.”

“Mama Lizard?” Rina's voice was quiet, still scared. But Mama knelt down, so that her head was on level with Rina's.

“My name is Brath'anoraulra'ugloth'cagor. Which is why they call me 'Mama Lizard'. Why you called me 'Mama'...” Rina nodded and suddenly she was crying and Mama was holding her. Ona and Idjit crowded around and the family was whole again, if just for a moment.
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06.24.2012 , 04:09 AM | #9
<Four hours later>

It started small. A tripped sensor. The security reaction force was alerted and went to check on it. They reported large animal tracks in the area and made their way back to the base. But just as they were entering the concealed entrance a shadow fell over them. And on them.

“What is...” Only one of the five men had time to scream. But no one heard it. The door was soundproofed and soundproofing worked both ways. Anyone alert might have noticed that the camera seemed to show the men walking backwards as if somebody had taken the last few minutes of recording and was playing it back. But no one was alert. This was a fairly boring post. No one had attacked any of the Special Branch bases in weeks. And they felt secure in the knowledge that a whole company of Special Forces was at their beck and call. That was going to bite them, badly.

Chari let the last guard fall off her blade and made a quick motion as she grabbed one of the bodies. In an instant hands pulled the bodies into an empty locker and sealed it. Two of Cranna's mercs moved up and checked the closest door. Empty room. A quick flip and the camera inside was showing a loop of the last few minutes, and since the room had been empty, well, who could tell? Dron nodded to the team and pulled out his map.

“This seems to be laid out the same way as the other bases we have attacked. If so, com room here.” He touched the map. “Power room here...” He touched it in another spot. “Lab here, detention cells here, and here...” he indicated the spots and the onlookers nodded. “Hangar should be here, but if we take commo and power, they can't go anywhere or call for help. Problem is, that they usually have a self destruct. If so, it would be activated from the control room, which should be here...” He touched another spot.

“That'sss mine.” Mama's tone brooked no argument and he nodded.

“Prisoners if you can, but silence above all.” The four Bladeborn and ten mercs nodded. He grinned, ferally and activated his stealth field generator. The others followed suit. The door opened, and then closed.

The power room camera was apparently malfunctioning. The compartment contained two techs and a guard who where stunned unconscious in moments. None of them had any idea what was happening. They were quickly trussed up and secured in a storage locker. Two of the mercs remained on station, ready to cut power if the alarm as raised. The others moved off.

The com room was a bit trickier. The hatch opened and guards turned to see... nothing. They both blinked under their half helmets. Their confusion turned to alarm as a pair of objects sailed past them to land in the middle of the room.

“GRENADE!” One yelled into his com, but didn't have time for anything else as the concussion grenade went off. Followed an instant later by the flash grenade.

While the five techs and two guards were trying to make sense of what had just happened, a blur entered the room. Idjit actually was in before the flash grenade went off. Of course, it didn't matter, since he was blind. He didn't need to see. By the time the rest of his team managed to clear the door, all that remained of the enemy were two unconscious techs. All of the others lay in pools of blood. The three mercs shook their heads and manned the consoles, ready to jam or disable any traffic. Idjit smiled thinly and stepped out of the room, vanishing in mid stride.

The control room was chaos.

“Who called? What was that?” The base commander had heard one panicked call, but now nothing on the com lines. Nothing at all, as if... He cursed and started through his checklist of actions to take in case of attack. He was on item twelve when the durasteel hatch that separated the command center from the rest of the base blew in with teh sound of a breaching charge. A scream drew his attention to the other side of the compartment where one of the techs who had manned the consoles was impaled on the remains of the door. He turned back to hole where the door had been and froze. The apparition threw the bodies of his two outside guards across the room and sick thuds and cries of pain announced they had impacted people. But he couldn't take his eyes off the demon stalking towards him. Shadows flitted behind it and stun beams arced out from them to catch the few of his troops that managed to throw off their shock and reach for weapons. But the huge form held his eyes. A pair of huge vibroaxes just appeared its hands and he heard a whimper. It took him a moment to realize it had come from him. He sprang at his controls and was slammed out of the air by something. The impact threw him clear across the room. He looked and saw one of the axes lying beside him. But it must have been the flat of the blade. He was alive. All he could do was lie there stunned as the huge form approached. Then it grabbed him by the front of his armor and drew him to his feet. It spoke.

“The only reassson you breath, zcum, isss that I am in a good mood. You want me to ztay in a good mood, don't you?” He nodded jerkily. “Good boy...” Something hard hit him across the head and he knew no more.

Mama looked up and without seeming to move, one of her axes flew across the room to take a tech who had been surreptitiously reaching for an alarm button across the back. The woman dropped without a sound, cut almost in half. Mama staked across the room staring at the two conscious tech who cowered away from her. She glowered at them as she recovered her axe. She grinned evilly at them.

“Boo.” They both screamed and tried to run, only to be hit by stun bolts before they could even reach their feet.

“Boo?” Aleesa asked incredulous as her people fanned out to take control. Mama snorted.

“Would you rather I asssked them to dinner?” Aleesa looked at the gore splattered Barabel and shook her head, tryign to keep from laughing before focusing on the job at hand.

Chari moved towards the detention area slowly. These were alerted now. But no base wide alarm or orders were coming through so the other teams must have succeeded. But then she froze. She snarled.

“I smell you Jedi...” Chari said with a snarl. A form in brown robes appeared in front of her.

“You are one to talk, Sith.” Chari smiled, a cold empty smile. She felt rather than saw Ona and the rest of the team take another corridor that would take them to the lab area.

“You can't win Sith.” The Jedi declared. Chari smiled again.

“Wanna bet?” With that, Chari charged.
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06.24.2012 , 04:11 AM | #10
Chari danced forward, her blade held ready. The Jedi waited for her. He didn't seem worried. Chari grinned, she wanted to hurt somebody. As she closed, the Jedi threw back his hood, showing brown hair and dark eyes. He ignited his saber. The blue blade came up in a salute and he was in motion. He initial attack was blocked and she ducked under a swing that would have taken her head off. Then he was on the offensive, swinging left and right, trying to find a hole in her guard. As she danced away from his attacks, she snorted.

“How unJedi-like. Going for a kill without even trying to turn me... I wonder how your instructors or the Jedi Council would feel about that?” She connected with a kick and knocked him back, but he gathered his balance and moved fluidly as he struck and leaped at her.

“I don't talk to evil scum.” He swung at her and her blade shed his like water. The tip of her blade scored his face and she was backpedaling as he started a move she recognized. She could have killed him right then and there, but no. She wanted him alive, and she wanted him to hurt.

“Evil scum. That's rich coming from you. I don't operate on little children and stick them in droids against their will.” He swung at her and she laughed as she avoided his blade easily. She sliced at his arm and crowed as she drew blood again. He was good, no question, but she was better. She was cut off in mid laugh as a force punch caught her and threw her into the wall. She was ready however and met the wall with her feet instead of her head. She shook her head as she landed. He stared at her, shocked and she sighed. This was beneath her, this taunting. She wasted no more time.

He tried. Give the man credit, he tried. But he was outclassed. Every blow he managed to strike, even with Force enhanced speed, she blocked or dodged with ease. In comparison her calculated blows slowed him significantly. A flat blade strike to the left kneecap knocked it out of joint, making that leg essentially useless. A cut with surgical precision to the tendon behind the ankle of the other leg crippled that leg. But he fought on, blocking her attacks as he could. His face was a mask of determination. She sighed again as she looked at her foe. He bled from numerous small wounds, and it was obvious he couldn't walk, but he held his blade ready. She admired that, much as it galled her to admit it. He was brave. She stopped and stepped back.

“Surrender.” Her voice was flat. But he snarled at her.

“To Sith? Never! The light side will prevail!” Somehow he managed to get up speed as he charged her again. She sighed and dodged his attack easily. With quick strikes from the back of her blade, she broke both of his forearms. His lightsaber fell out of nerveless fingers and deactivated. He went down in a heap. She clucked and shook her head and she called the lightsaber to her. But instead of taking it....

No!” He cried as she swung with all of her rage and hate. The lightsaber fell, cut in sparking halves. She turned her gaze back on the Jedi. He met her gaze calmly. But she shook her head. When she spoke her voice could have frozen an overloading reactor.

“You don't get off that easy, Jedi.” With that she struck with the hilt of her blade, dropping him to the deck unconscious. She searched him quickly, finding a hold out blaster among other tools and shook her head again before securing him in one of the wall lockers. He would be hard pressed to get out of that, especially after she tied his wrist and ankles. Then she started off again towards her target, the lab section.

<Nearby>

Ona made her way towards the labs, a quiet misgiving working its way through her. The rest of the assault must have succeeded, so why was the Force telling her trouble lay ahead? She froze suddenly as voices came, the mercs with her freezing as well.

“I am telling you this is a bad idea, we don't know what is happening.” The first voice was worried, scared even. The second however.

“And I am telling you we are under attack. If we don't get these moving we are dead. I don't care WHAT is attacking us, these three will make mincemeat of them...” Ona blanched. If three of the droids that Cranna had described got going, yes they could literally make mincemeat of the small strike team. She inched forward and peered carefully around the corner. Ahead, through a doorway she saw two white suited beings lifting a small bundle towards a red droid. And guards... She ducked back, but too late.

What was that?” A voice called out and Ona cursed as she darted around the corner. She was just in time to see the blast door seal. She cursed again and the mercs started setting a breaching charge but Ona was through playing nice. She motioned them aside. They stared at her and she motioned urgently. They moved and she drew deep, deep down inside herself. Then she cut loose.

The people inside the room had no time to react. One moment, the solid armor plated door was there, the next it wasn't. A line of destruction showed across the lab to where the door was plastered against the far wall. Red streamed down from behind the door, showing WHAT had plastered it to the wall. Ona strode into the lab bay, her face a mask. The two remaining guards fired at her, but none of the shots hit. With a glance, the guards were hurled across the room to land beside the wrecked door with horrifying crunch sounds. It was obvious neither of them was going to get up. One tech cowered behind a console, but the other was frantically hitting controls. She shouted in triumph as the droid powered up, and turned truimphant. She froze on seeing Ona's face. Ona was crying. The Bothan spoke, quietly and sad.

“Oh, little one... I won't let them hurt you again... No... No its all right. I will help. You will sleep and be better when you wake, I swear it. Now, this will sting a bit...” She raised her hand and the droid sparked and deactivated. The tech stared at her, frozen. She looked at them, sad. “Putting CHILDREN in those things... And you call US evil...”

She raised another hand and the techs froze, locked on Force stasis. The four mercs with her gave her odd glances, but she was moving towards the detention bays, her face a teary mess. The merc secured the techs and started disassembling the droid. Once they had, they found a slumbering child. Whose face looked... peaceful?

Chari made her way towards the hangar bay. It had worked. They had taken the base. The base commander had been captured, but there was no sign of the scientists or doctors. Which meant they were trying to flee. But that meant they had another surprise coming. She heard raised voices as she approached the hangar. No guards... either they were busy or they were running for their lives, either way, they were not a threat at the moment. She skulked into the bay and smiled grimly. Five guards around a group of people in lab coats. Two of whom were trying to get the hangar door to open. Suddenly the door opened and all turned to see a hoversled in the way, with Cranna sitting on it. But this was a very different Cranna. This one was armored and ready for a fight. As well as being surrounded by Ubese guards who were all armed to the teeth and obviously ready to kill. Cranna grinned from behind the shield of her heavy blaster cannon and spoke.

“Go ahead... Make my day...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here