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(L,F&E 44) Regression and Regret

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 44) Regression and Regret

kalenath's Avatar

06.27.2012 , 07:54 AM | #1
<An undisclosed location>

Sharra lay, semiconscious, as the doctor and Jedi scanned her. She didn't hurt. There were not any nerve endings inside the cranium to hurt. But she felt, odd. Sometimes pressure, sometimes lack of pressure. It had to be whatever was inside her. They hadn't wanted to put her out completely. Not with such an unidentified injury to her brain. So she was partially awake. Not that she could have understood the jargon even if she had been fully awake. All the 'semi-neuronic conductors' and 'passive chemo-receptors' flew right in one ear and out the other. She knew guns, explosives and battlefield first aid. This was way beyond her.

She was glad they had given her a mild sedative though. It hurt a lot to be separated from her husband. They had only been back together for a short time. And she had just been getting back in form when this had happened. She thought about that, it took time for the thoughts to sift through her drugged mind, but finally, she spoke.

“Doc?” Instantly, the scaled face of L'trask was there. He smiled at her and she smiled back. But then she frowned.

“What is it Sharra?” L'trask asked softly. She felt him take her hand in his scaled claw and it comforted her. She looked at him and formed the words carefully.

“Did Will tell you when this started?” Sharra asked soberly. L'trask nodded.

“He said you... what did he say...? 'Claimed a wife's prerogative.' Nicely done.” She smiled at the Trandoshan's teasing tone, but then frowned again.

“This started right after that." Sharra mused, trying to think. "I don't think its a coincidence.” She tensed as another form came close, but relaxed as the form resolved to her slow eyes into Hawkir, the Jedi healer of the ship. She liked him, she didn't trust him, but she liked him.

“I don't think so either." Hawkir agreed. "It feels like something I have read of. Sith Alchemy.” Sharra looked from the Trandoshan to the Jedi and her voice was quiet when she spoke.

“I have heard stories...” They looked at one another and she continued. “Is it possible they programmed me... To serve them?” Hawkir licked his lips, and then nodded. When Sharra spoke, it was quiet, almost inaudible. “Don't let me become a threat. Please.” Hawkir took her limp hand in his and gave it a chaste kiss.

“It won't happen milady.” Hawkir promised. But she was fading now.

“Please...” Sleep claimed her before she could hear his response.

<A few minutes later>

Hawkir and L'trask went into L'trask's office and sat. A few minutes later another being came in. Both moved to stand but Stormhawk Boss just waved them back to their seats. He sat as well, and then looked from one to the other before speaking.

“Prognosis?” The commander of the ship asked slowly. Hawkir looked at L'trask and the Dosh spoke.

“We can't stop it." It hurt the kindly healer to say, but it was the truth. His friend was dying. "We can slow it. But it will continue to excrete those chemicals.” Boss nodded.

“Do we know what the chemicals do?” Hawkir pursed his lips and opened his mouth, but Boss spoke again. “For those of us non medical types please.” The two unarmored figures smiled a little. And Hawkir spoke.

“It is secreting two substances. One is a fairly common Sith toxin. That is what caused the bleeding from her ears and nose. It dilates the blood vessels, essentially its a very low strength nerve agent.” At that Boss winced, but Hawkir wasn't done. “She can survive that, we can and are neutralizing that as it comes out, but... It's this other one that we can't identify. It's not a poison. That we are sure of, but what it is... Or what it is doing...” Boss nodded.

“Recommendation.” Hawkir looked the commander of the Stormhawk right in the eyeslit and spoke.

“Removal.” Hawkir said flatly. "Nothing else wills ave her." Boss looked at L'trask who nodded.

“Can you get it out?” Boss asked. Hawkir thought hard and then shook his head slowly.

“I could get it out, but I would kill her or leave her a vegetable." The Jedi shuddered. "Neither of which are viable alternatives.” Boss nodded, and when he looked at L'trask, the Trandoshan shook his head.

“None of our droids are good enough.” L'trask admitted. "Neither am I." Boss nodded again, and then he looked at Hawkir.

“Who then?” Boss asked. Hawkir thought hard for a long moment and then sighed.

“Nolikas is the only one I would trust for something like this." Hawkir said after a moment more. "Maybe the surgeon you caught on Alderaan, but...” He broke off as Boss nodded. The armored figure hit his comlink.

“Bridge, set your course for Tython, full speed.” Hawkir stared at Boss. Boss spoke quietly. “Last I heard Nolikas was on Tython. Can you put Sharra in stasis?” The two doctors looked at each other and shook their heads in unison. There was too much chance for something to go wrong. And even the best of stasis systems had some kind of time pass inside the field. And if something went wrong for her inside... Boss nodded slowly. “Very well, keep me appraised.” The two docs nodded and the commander of the ship got up and left. Hawkir shook his head slowly.

“Why do I get the feeling this is a very bad idea?” The Jedi asked half whimsically, half scared. L'trask snorted.

“You don't need the Force to see that." The Chief Medical Officer of the ship said soberly. "Renegade ship crewed by deserters showing up at the Jedi enclave. That will go over so well...” The Trandoshan winced. Hawkir shook his head slowly.

“I have sent regular reports in, I know you have seen them.” The Jedi sighed. “Some of them believe me, some of them don't. I just...” He broke off and his colleague and friend looked at him worried.

“What Hawkir?” L'trask asked, concerned. Hawkir Strum, Jedi consular, sighed.

“I just hope I don't get put in the position of having to choose who to support, because I have no idea who I would." The Jedi admitted. "The Order or the Stormhawk.” L'trask nodded.

“I understand. I truly do.”

<A while later>

She woke, worried. This wasn't what she had expected. She tried to sit up, but her body wouldn't obey her. She wasn't restrained, just very weak. She looked around. She was in a medical ward. From the hum in the distance she as on a ship. From the markings on the walls, it was a Republic ship. But not one she knew. She checked herself over quickly and found no injuries except... her head was bandaged and hurt a bit when she touched it. She was hooked up to medical monitors and other gear so moving was right out for awhile, even if she was strong enough to, which she doubted she was. She thought back to what she remembered, and couldn't focus well. She shook her head and winced as pain came again. She sank back into the bed. Obviously she had been hurt. But she couldn't remember... Her thoughts broke off as the door to the room opened and a figure wearing brown robes stepped through. He froze on seeing her awake. She stared at him. Did she know him? He didn't speak so finally she did.

“Who are you?” She couldn't keep the fear out of her voice. He stared at her and sighed.

“My name is Hawkir Strum, Ma'am." The Jedi replied in a reasonable tone. "May I know yours?” She sighed and nodded.

“Carra Riggs. What the farkle happened?” A corner of his mouth quirked in a manner that might or might not have been the ghost of a smile.

“You took an injury to your brain, Ms Riggs. I assume your other half will show up soon too.” Her eyes went wide and Hawkir continued. “Dia gave us a full report of what happened on Jodaka, Ma'am.” At that name, Carra winced. And her fear must have been easy to see, for the Jedi shook his head slowly. “You are in no danger, Ma'am. No one will hurt you on this ship.”

“Where is Dia, she said she would help...” She broke off as a look of sadness came across Hawkir's face.

“She's dead.” Hawkir said sadly. Carra slumped back on the bed and Hawkir moved slowly to her side. “She did help, but an injury you took recently has undone what she did.” Carra looked at him.

“Can you fix what is wrong with me then?” She asked, hopeful. "You are a Jedi too..." He shook his head and her insides clenched.

“I can't. But I know someone who should be able to. And we are on the way to her now.” Hope flared in her and he smiled. She returned it hesitantly. And she didn't resist when he took her hand in his and gave a squeeze. She felt sleep coming for her and she didn't resist it. Hawkir held her hand until he was sure she was asleep and then laid it gently back on the bedside. Of all the things he had expected, this wasn't on the list.

She is regressing. Her multiple personalities are coming back. We may have to put her in stasis at this rate.
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06.27.2012 , 07:59 AM | #2
<an indeterminate time later>

She woke, warm and dry, but suddenly afraid. A gentle voice came to her.

“It's all right, You are in no danger here.” She tried to place the voice and couldn't. She opened her eyes, but saw nothing. She couldn't keep a quaver out of her voice when she spoke.

“Who... Who are you?” She felt a touch on her face and something moist -a cloth?- was removed. For a moment, she was blinded by the light but her eyes adapted reasonably fast. They seemed to hesitate though before focusing on the face nearby. She looked him over quickly. Human, male, wearing Jedi robes. She tensed, but the man didn't come closer. He actually sat back, giving her space. Giving her time to think. Which she needed.

She looked around, and was not surprised to see medical gear all around, much of it attached to her body in some way. This certainly wasn't the first time she had woken in a Republic medical ward. She tried to shake her head, but it wouldn't move. One of her arms was tied down to keep the IVs she could see from being dislodged, the other she raised to her head, but quick as the tongue of a scyk lizard, the Jedi caught her hand in a gentle grip and spoke.

“No, Ma'am. Don't touch.” She stared at him, and he placed her hand gently back to her side. “You were hurt. We are trying to figure out how to fix it." She could feel something on her head, and... He was talking again so she focused on his words. “Do you remember your name?”

“Sharra Riggs.” She said slowly, uncertain. He nodded to her and spoke, kindly again.

“My name is Hawkir Strum, Sharra." Hawkir smiled at her and she returned it, hesitant. "I wish we had met under other circumstances.” Sharra actually snorted.

“Me too." She admitted, not hiding a quaver in her voice. Fear was nothing new, but it could be handled, given training and effort. "What happened to me?” Hawkir sighed and moved his chair a little closer, not enough to crowd, but close enough to be able to touch if needed.

“We are not entirely sure. Something was put inside your head by the Sith and...” He broke off as Sharra blanched. She seemed to almost shrink as she tried to control herself. He touched her gently on the hand. “Sharra, listen to me.” He waited until she was looking at him. “You are alive, you are going to stay that way. But we need more information. We need to know what you remember.”

Sharra stared at him. Of all the things she had never wanted to do again... She tried to shake her head, but it wouldn't move. She gave a look of helpless frustration and Hawkir held her hand.

“It's all right. You don't have to do anything if you don't want to. I am telling you this so you understand we are your friends. And I said the exact same thing to Carra.” Sharra's eyes bulged a that. She thought no one knew about her... problem. Hawkir spoke gently again. “What is the last thing you remember?” She looked at him, suddenly aware of how alone she was. She was astonished at how grateful she was when the hatch opened, but when it did, he stepped in. She couldn't take her eyes off the man. She remembered him, from Jodaka. She had woken under his scrutiny more than once. He didn't move, and his eyes, they were so cold and at the same time, so vulnerable. Somehow, she had raised her hand and he came closer. Hawkir spoke slowly.

“Will, I want you to meet Sharra Riggs.” Sharra couldn't take her eyes off the man, who was staring at her, and his eyes were not cold now. No, they held pain. Deep, strong pain. When he spoke, it was under tight control.

“I am pleased to meet you Ma'am.” She could hear a myriad of emotions running under his cool tone. She wasn't sure how she knew they were there, but she did. She tried to put his face to the name and her eyes widened as she remembered.

“Dia... She said you were my husband." Sharra said slowly. "I... I don't remember... Where is Dia...? She said...” She was getting scared now and Hawkir took her hand in a gentle grip again. Will came close as well, not enough to crowd, just enough to be there. Will spoke slowly.

“Dia was working to save a group of children who were being manipulated by a group of slavers. She was discovered, captured and...” He broke off as tears fell from Sharra's eyes.

“I liked her.” Sharra said sadly. Will nodded.

“We all did. She was a good person. You need to know.” Hawkir started but Will continued. “You were hurt because of me. My enemies caught you. They hurt you. If you... If you want nothing more to do with me. I will understand.” Hawkir was staring at the man in horror now. And Sharra felt something akin to being slugged in the chest. She wasn't sure where it had come from but she had to speak.

“I... Do you want me to leave?” She asked, hesitant. Will shook his head slowly.

“It would be safer for you.” She couldn't see for the tears that fell now, she couldn't speak. Suddenly...

Carra swung. She connected to his jaw and he stumbled backwards. She was trying to get up, get out of the bed. But her head wouldn't move so she jerked and pulled, trying to get free of whatever held her. She wasn't sure why or how, but she had to get up. She barely noticed the Jedi working something and then she was tired, so tired... She fell back to the bed, asleep before she was aware of it.

Will picked himself up off the floor and stared in shock at the slumbering woman. What the hell? Hawkir shook his head as he scanned the readouts. “That wasn't Sharra, that was Carra. I told you...” Will nodded as he rubbed his jaw. Hawkir looked at the soldier and shook his head. “I think its better if you not talk to them.”

Will pursed his lips, but L'trask came hurrying in. The Trandoshan waved towards the door and Will left, glancing over his shoulder as he did. His posture spoke of defeat, loss and pain. The two healers worked quickly to repair what had been damaged. Carra's stunt had done a bit of damage, but it was relatively easy to fix as opposed to the root cause. L'trask finally spoke.

“The programming is not gone.” Hawkir shook his head. “Or it is being redone.” Hawkir nodded. L'trask sighed. We will arrive at the Enclave tomorrow, we should try and keep her asleep until then.” Hawkir nodded again, but his gaze was far away and L'trask looked at him.

“I need to do some research." Hawkir said slowly. "I think I know what Dia did. And I might be able to replicate it.” L'trask looked at him, skeptical.

“You... think...?" Worry warred with hope in the Trandoshan's voice. "You... might...?” Hawkir shrugged.

“She is not going to get better without help.” The Jedi said grimly. L'trask nodded slowly.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.27.2012 , 08:03 AM | #3
<The next day, Tython>

It was such a slow day. Usually the Tython system hummed with activity, ships coming and going. So the Republic had a fleet presence there. Mainly as a formality and as a traffic control station but sometimes, people came who were not wanted. And that was when the Republic Battleship Repulse and her cohorts earned the pay they collected regularly. But no one could have foreseen this...

Controlled chaos erupted on the bridge of the Repulse as a hyperspace trace emerged. A big one. It quickly became clear that this was not a scheduled arrival, in fact...

The captain of the Repulse stared at her screen in disbelief. Then she cursed quietly and everything on the bridge stopped for a moment. “Oh my god.” She turned to his XO and spoke. “Sound battle stations.” The XO nodded and the General Quarters alarm rang through the ship and then through the assorted smaller vessels that called the Repulse their flagship. The CiC team was working feverishly to identify the newcomer and the captain walked up behind them.

“Don't bother, it isn't a Sith ship.” Everything stopped again as the captain's tone registered. All of them looked at her, and then at the massive ship that just sat there, as if daring them to do anything. “That's the Stormhawk.” The whole bridge crew stared at her in shocked disbelief and she snarled. They jumped back to their duties. The XO came up to her and spoke quietly.

“What are they doing here?” The captain shook her head slowly.

“I don't know. I do know she's taken a lot of damage since I saw her last.” The XO looked at her and she smiled without mirth. “I last saw that ship at Coruscant.” The captain turned to the communication board. “Anything?”

“No, captain...” the com tech broke off. “Yes, ma'am, they are transmitting to us.” the captain nodded, but the com tech stared at his screen in disbelief. “Actually Ma'am, they are transmitting to you...”

The captain and XO shared a glance and then moved to the com station. As they did the com tech activated the privacy field and stepped out of it. Both of the officers stopped as a small holo appeared on the screen.

“Hello, Captain Brun.” Captain Mercedes Brun, Republic Navy, didn't sigh, but it was a hard fight not to.

“Have you lost your mind?” Her voice was hard. “This can't be swept under the rug. Too many witnesses.” Stormhawk Boss nodded.

“We have a medical emergency aboard who needs the healers at the Enclave.” The captain looked at her XO and the XO immediately left the privacy field to start issuing orders. The captain shook her head. When she spoke her voice was sad.

“Mace, have you flipped?" The captain demanded. "I can't let you leave this system. And your stealth can't hide from us, not now that we know you are here.” Stormhawk Boss nodded.

“I know." Stormhawk Boss replied. "I... We don't want to fight Republic Forces. But we had no other choices.” Captain Brun slumped.

“In the name of the Force, Mace, why?" She demanded quietly. "You have our support, hell, our best wishes. You do good work out there. Why throw it all away from one person?” She was close to tears and took a moment to control her emotions. Stormhawk Boss sighed.

“Because Sharra Kalenath is dying.” Boss quiet words hushed everything. Captain Brun froze solid. Then she nodded.

“We stand with you.” She declared. Boss shook his head.

“This is going to get ugly enough without any more mutinies in the Fleet." Boss said soberly. "I have to ask you and yours to stay neutral.” Captain Brun shook her head savagely.

“You have got to be kidding. Every single survivor of the Fleet who was at Coruscant owes you and him their lives. If you hadn't distracted them, fought them back, if he hadn't torn them up so badly... Mace, there is no way in hell we are going to let you swing alone.” Boss sighed.

“And what happens when the Sith find out the Fleet is splintered?” Brun shook her head savagely. “The fleet has to stay united. Once the Jedi are done... The crew is unanimous. We are tired of running, Mercedes.” Now she had tears in her eyes. “Will you accept our surrender when the Jedi have Sharra?”

“Mace, no... don't do this..." Captain Brun begged her old friend. "Please... Don't make me do this...” Boss slumped.

“I would rather surrender to you, than the Senate.” He replied sadly. Captain Brun shook her head.

“Mace, I answer to the Senate.”

“I know.”

<Five hours later>

Carra woke up suddenly. Something had changed. She felt odd, as if something was missing. Then it struck her. She couldn't hear the hum of ship drives any more. She cracked her eyes and found herself in what was a fairly nice hospital room, obviously on planet. She didn't hurt, as a matter of fact, she felt good. If very, very weak. A strange voice came to her.

“Good morning, Carra is it?” Carra looked up to see a strange being, one of a species she had never seen before. The bulbous head had two eyestalks that stuck out from either side. Carra smiled a bit hesitant. No need to be rude.

“Yes, my name is Carra.” The being nodded and smiled. She marveled that such an odd face could be read so easily.

“My name is Nolikas, I am a Jedi and a healer. I am in charge of you while you are here.” Carra looked around, there was nothing to say where she was.

“Where am I?” The strange being sat beside Carra's bed.

“You are in the healer ward of the Jedi enclave on Tython. You were brought here because of the damage done to your brain by an implant created by the Sith.” Carra froze.

“Brain damage?” Nolikas nodded.

“We think we can repair the damage, but first we would have to get the implant out. We wanted to be sure you would wake up before...” Nolikas broke off as Carra tensed, something...

Sharra flinched back from the strange being who sat beside her, but the being spoke quickly. “It is all right Sharra, you are in no danger here. You are in the Jedi Enclave on Tython...”

“Who are you?” Sharra couldn't keep a quaver out of her voice as she spoke. She felt so weak, so pathetic, so useless. So... She focused on the strange being. Was this a Rakata? She had heard of that species but never met one.

“My name is Nolikas I am a Jedi and healer here at the Enclave. You are in the healer ward of the Enclave. You were brought here because of a Sith implant that has done damage to your brain.” Sharra froze.

“Brain damage?” Nolikas nodded and tried not to sigh. This might be a long day.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.27.2012 , 08:07 AM | #4
<Space in the Tython system>

Captain Brun was rapidly losing patience. “For the last time, councilman, no. These people are my prisoners. Go. Away.” The man on the screen seemed to swell.

“I don't think you understand Captain...” But Captain Brun had taken enough. She cut him off with a glare.

“I understand completely. They ticked you off, you want them dead. Well, you will have to stand in line Bakuni. Now get off my com.” Without waiting for him to reply, she cut the connection. Her XO was standing nearby, trying with great diligence to keep his face straight. She glared at him and he nodded. But then he spoke for her ears alone.

“I applaud your restrain, Captain." He said with a smile. "I would have cut him off after his second sentence.” She grinned slightly at the dark humor in his words and then sighed.

“This is only going to get worse. That ship and her crew have aggravated so many people over the years...” The XO nodded. “Any sign of Will?” At that he shook his head. The captain shook hers as well. All of the rest of the crew, from the commander all the way down to the lowest engine rating,were in confinement. The Marines they had sent had been polite, but firm as well. And there had been no resistance. None at all. But Will had vanished. He had to still be on the ship, but... He had helped build it and he had lived on it for ten years so he likely knew it better than anyone else. “Keep looking. ETA on reinforcements?”

Ever since the news had broken that the infamous pirate, or privateer, ship had appeared in Tython and surrendered to the Republic, people had been flocking to the system. The media of course were hovering like vultures. And then there were the people like Bakuni, the former Kuati slaver lord who had been run off by the Sith when they had conquered his planet. When the Stormhawk had liberated it, with a bit of help mind you, the people of Kuat had refused to take him back, and the Stormhawk had backed them up until the Republic Fleet had arrived to take over security. And then there were small groups, people who stayed as far from the Republic forces as possible and when possible mixed in with the sightseers hoping to catch a glimpse of the infamous ship. She simply didn't have enough ships to protect the Stormhawk and her own sector. So she had her people controlling the Stormhawk. While they were not 100% familiar with its systems, they were familiar enough to give pause to the various fringe elements. And anyone trying to board the ship, there had been a few, had received a warm welcome. The one media crew to try had survived. The two pirates parties had not. But they needed more ships, so she had called for them. And gotten a reply of 'reinforcements enroute'. The Xo shook his head.

“Nothing new, Ma'am. Last update said six hours. But that was ten hours ago.” Both looked up as the sensor operator called.

“Hyperspace traces, multiple and large.” The captain looked at the sensor tech and her stomach seemed to hit the deck. She hit a large red button on her console and the General Quarters alarm rang through the ship. She watched the plot as the newest arrivals settled into a battle formation and turned ponderously towards her ship and it's charge.

“Every one else is here. I wondered when the Sith would show up...”

<Aboard the Sith flagship>

“Finally...” Captain Kolan, commander of the Sith battleship Dark Dreams had been waiting for this day for four years. He had dreamed things worthy of his ship ever since his family had perished in an attack by that accursed ship. He smiled slightly as readiness reports came in, but snarled as the Republic forces in front of him arrayed into battle formation. As always the Republic protected the scum, but this time, THIS time he had the power to do something about it. “Launch fighters.”

He felt a small thrill as flights of small craft left the hangars of his two battleships. They joined the other flights that left the hangars of his other ships, forming a huge wall of fighters in front of his fleet. The captain grinned as he saw the other ships that clustered around the area turning to flee. One that was too slow got in the way of a heavy cruiser and vaporized when the cruiser's commander apparently got annoyed with it. He grinned as he counted the numbers. His fleet outnumbered the Republic pansies two to one. This would be a good day for the Empire.

“All craft, advance, engage and destroy the Stormhawk. And anything else that gets in our way. Who knows, we might get to kill some Jedi while we are at it.” He grinned again as a cheer came from his bridge crew.

<On planet>

Noliaks looked down at the woman who lay on her stomach with her head already secured in position for surgery. Her assistant looked at her and she nodded. It would be a very long day for her. She just hoped her abilities were up to the challenge. She could see the insidious thing, still leaking its noxious fluids, on her scanner and she nodded again as she reached for her instruments.

<Elsewhere in the Enclave>

“...Neither side seems to be willing to talk, Master.” Thokal Melan shook his head slowly. He had been afraid of this ever since the Stormhawk had arrived in system. And now, with the Sith fleet deployed and the Republic forces deploying, it seemed... He froze as he heard something. Music... Memorable music. Something about 'Through the fire and the flames we carry on...' He blanched.

“Oh no...”

<At the head of the Republic Forces>

Green Leader sat in her fighter and tried not to curse. Green Squadron was probably the best in the Republic fleet for sheer one on one flying ability, but... They were facing not one to one or even three to one odds. No less than five Sith fighters were present for every Republic one. And in a fight like this, numbers counted. Two or three squadrons to keep her people busy and the others would have a free ride into the heart of her own fleet. Suddenly she heard something over her com. And she froze. Music. And then a voice.

“Green Leader, this is Dragon Four, requesting permission to join your formation.” Another reading appeared near her ships. Republic fighter, Aurek class, but moving much faster than any standard Aurek, or even one of her squadron's souped up ones. Then the squadron name hit her. Dragon Squadron, the Republic's premier fighter squadron, had been wiped out at Coruscant. Well, all but one... She bit back a sob. Her mother had died with her wingmates that day over Coruscant. She keyed a command into her pad and her formation opened up. The other Aurek slipped right into position as if the pilot had done it all his life, which he had.

“Glad to see you, Dragon Four. Shall we?”

Will sat in his acceleration couch and grinned as he looked at the wealth of targets laid out in front of him. A death's head grin. “Lets...” He hit his boosters and, with twelve of the Republic's best at his wing, charged into the teeth of his enemies.
My stories in order:
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06.27.2012 , 08:10 AM | #5
<The furball>

The opposing fighter formations charged each other, missile flew. Some were decoyed, some found targets and exploded. Two Sith squadrons died as the Republic's superior missiles took their toll, but then the formations close to dogfight range. And then it was down to each wing. Pilot and wingman. One firing, the other covering. All except one ship out in front of all the other Republic ships. Every Sith close enough tried to target it, but none could hold a lock long enough. And then it was too late.

Will danced through the enemy formations. In truth, this was what he lived for. To live on the edge. A split second from a fiery death. He missed this more than anything else he had ever given up, but with Sharra... gone... he really didn't... He blinked and then shook his head and dodged a laser blast from a frigate. His return fire tore through the ship's shields like they were not even there. In moments it floated in space, a powerless hulk. He burned to finish the job, to kill and kill and kill until they killed him. But his fellow pilots needed him, they couldn't keep up with him, and while his antics were drawing a lot of attention, some enemy were getting through to pound the Republic capital ships. His rage threatened to overwhelm him as he saw another Republic ship afire. Then he froze as he thought he heard a voice. Female, worried. Did he know her?

No, Will, don't let the Dark Side win...

He snarled to himself and dodged fire from another squad of Sith fighters. Instead of dodging away from them, as any sane pilot would do, he dodged towards them. They seemed to hesitate and he was in their midst, firing steadily so as not to overheat his guns. His dual laser cannon tore through shield, armor and hull with equal abandon and Sith fighters exploded all around him.

<The Repulse>

Captain Brun snarled as her ship shuddered under the fire from both Sith battlewagons. She was down to two cruisers, but her escorts were holding their own and her fighters...

She had forgotten. It was incredible, terrifying and awe inspiring all in one. Will was probably the greatest pilot of this or any known age. Nothing could stand against him. Green squadron was cleaning up after him, but they didn't have much to do. Every time he fired, something died. And he never seemed to be where the enemy fire went. She shook her head and focused on the battle. Then she smiled evilly. Time.

“Command to Gold Squadron, now would be good.” The communication sped across the battlezone. Disregarded by all except...

<Gold Squadron>

“It's about time!” Gold Leader smiled evilly as he activated his ship's systems. He had been watching the battle progress with visual enhancements and snarling every time a Republic ship had died. But now, now it was time for payback. He looked from his console across the small asteroid his squadron had grounded on and smiled as he saw the other ships powering up. Jedi starfighters. In moments, his squadron and their escorts were rocketing away from the asteroid towards their targets, the rear of the Sith fleet and the battlewagons there. And the Sith would be seeing them, right about...

<Sith battleship Dark Dreams>

“Where did they come from?” Captain Kolan was getting angry. His ships could not target the Stormhawk or the planet. Every time his forces tried to maneuver, the Republic seemed to be three or more steps ahead. Probably some Jedi trick. And now a squadron of bombers with escorts coming from his undefended stern quadrant. But he still had a few surprises of his own. He nodded to the black garbed form beside him and the Sith smiled evilly. A squadron of black painted fighters tore out of the hangar bay of the Dark Dreams and Captain Kolan focused back on the battle. The new fighters turned towards the incoming bombers.

<Dragon 4>

Will wasn't sure exactly what was happening. He was merged with his ship, but... something more. Something more alive, more real... He was the ship, and at the same time, he was more, a lot more. He saw the dark painted fighters leaving the hangar bay and almost immediately realized what their targets were. If they hit the bombers, kill them or even just disrupt them, this battle would swing decisively in the Sith's favor. He hit his com. Even to him, his voice sounded strange.

“Green leader, twelve new targets.” He spoke mechanically. Green leader's voice came back, distant to his ears.

“We are too far. And too engaged.” Will computed paths and spoke again.

“Dragon four engaging.” He hit his boosters. Her voice came back.

“Good hunting Dragon.” But he was focusing on the enemy birds. Something about them was... off... They were a new design. From what he could see and sense through the ship's scanners, they had shields and quad lasers. Suddenly four of them turned and charged him. They fired, but he wasn't where he had been. He didn't smile, or react at all as he fired his main guns and one of them staggered in space but kept coming. He fired again and it exploded. Then the other three were on him and he was fighting for his life.

Will dodged, spun twisted and fired. But these fighters were not piloted by novices, or even ace pilots. Something about these ships made his flesh crawl. He got one and avoided a set of quad linked blasts by a very narrow margin.

Join us...

He shook his head, spinning his ship like a top to target another, but his shot was glancing and only damaged the black fighter. The other managed to crease his shields and he bit back a scream as the feedback from his merge hit him hard.

Join us...

The alien thoughts seeped into his brain, and this time more than his flesh crawled. He focused on his anger at the Sith and fired. The damaged enemy ship exploded but something else happened. The female voice he had heard first came again.

No Will, not like that, like... this...

A wave of tenderness, of love, of caring swept through him, leaving him floating in a sea of euphoria for a moment that seemed to last for hours or days. Finally, when it released him, he blinked and fired. The last Sith ship facing him exploded and he turned back towards the group heading for the bombers. As he did he heard her voice again.

Remember Will. The Force will be with you, always...
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06.27.2012 , 08:17 AM | #6
<Gold Squadron>

Gold Leader tried not to wince as the flight of Sith fighters approached. Obviously these ships were not something anyone had seen before. But if one pilot in an Aurek could take four of them alone then they were not invincible. Even though he knew that the person flying that Aurek was exceptional by anyone's standards. And now the Aurek was burring sky to catch the Sith, but the Sith would arrive before the fighter did. The Jedi were doing their jobs, not pushing away to engage as some rookiee pilots sometimes got sucked into trying. Their job was to escort the bombers. Gold leader looked at his console and sighed. Two minutes to attack range on the battleship. A lot could happen in two minutes. The range inched down and then he stared as his com chimed.

“Gold Leader, this is Dragon four, can I get a target painted by you?” The pilot looked at his readouts. He was in range of the Sith but didn't carry any anti-fighter munitions... He smiled thinly. He targeted one of the Sith birds and smiled as the tone solidified, signifying a good lock. The fighter tried to evade, but he kept it locked. The Sith pilot must have been freaking trying to figure out when he was going to fire, so didn't see the torpedo that ran almost all the way up his exhaust before detonating. Gold leader grinned ferally and targeted another Sith, but they were breaking by pairs now and the Jedi moved to intercept. He got a solid lock and held it as the range closed. That one too, ate a torpedo up the tailpipe and then, the Sith were on his people. He felt impacts as the Sith fighter formations penetrated his and when he looked back he swore. Three of his twelve ships were gone and the Jedi had lost four. And none of the Sith fighters were down. Another call came in from Dragon Four.

"Stay on target, Gold leader.”

He turned back and blanched as a blur swept by above him close enough to touch.

<Dragon Four>

Will shifted power back to his shields and weapons as he came into range. The Jedi were putting up a heck of a fight, but whoever these beings were, they were no rookies. But the Jedi were doing their job, dying so that the Sith couldn't hit the bombers. He selected one that was almost toying with a damaged Jedi starfighter and fired at maximum range. It must have been damaged iteslef because his shot blew right through it, scattering the ship and its occupant in a million pieces. Then he lost himself in the rush of battle.

It could have been minutes, or hours, later when he found himself chasing one of the last Sith fighters. It was targeting the bombers and the Jedi Starfighters simply didn't have the speed the Sith did. Unfortunately for the Sith, Will's Aurek was faster still. He fired as soon as he was in range, but the Sith dodged. He was out of torpedoes so he kept firing evenly, trying to get the pilot of that ship to turn and fight. But whoever it was, was good. He could see through the ship's sensors when the last of the other Sith fighters was blown away by the combined fire of three Jedi Starfighters and the Jedi who were still covering the bombers turned to intercept the sole Sith. Will blinked though as the Sith ship seemed to explode, but then he realized it had activated solid fuel boosters.

Lousy Sith stole my trick...

He flipped a switch and activated his own. But as he flew, he was computing angles, courses and speeds. There was no way he would be able to drop the pods, get clear of them, target and fire before that Sith could tear through the bombers like a Nexu through a field of nerfs. The Jedi tried to intercept, but they were out of position as the bombers turned into their run. Will shook his head and altered his course slightly.

<Gold squadron>

He could almost feel the Sith's targeting reticle clawing for him. But he had to keep his ship centered on the target or his torpedoes would miss. Even a dreadnought sized target could be missed from a range of six klicks with a minor deviation in targeting. And if his torpedoes didn't arrive with the torpedoes of the other ships left in his squadron, it wouldn't any good. It had to be a single punch or the Sith battlewagon would just roll and they would have to do it again. He started counting.

“Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven...” At seven fire from the Sith ship started closing in on him and he flinched a bit but kept counting. “Six. Five.” Suddenly the fire from the Sith stopped and he focused on his target. “Four. Three. Two. One. FIRE!” Four torpedoes flew from his exterior hard points and two from his internal launchers. He crowed in victory as the remaining fighters in his squadron, all nine of them, salvoed their torpedoes within seconds of his. He looked around for the Sith ship, but it was nowhere to be seen.

“Where did that bogey go?” He asked. Gold Six spoke up.

“That Sith was going to blast you, Lead." She sounded dazed, and who could blame her? "Dragon Four rammed him.” Gold leader felt his stomach lurch.

“What?" The pilot felt faint. The hero had... what? "Did either blow?” Six spoke again.

“Negative." SHe said sadly. "But I have nothing on scanner or visual now.” Gold leader bowed his head for a long moment. Then his face became hard.

“Lets finish this. For him.” He saw the remaining Jedi ships resume their stations as he continued towards the Sith battlewagons that were his ultimate targets. He snarled as his launchers cycled and his ships salvoed again.

<the Dark Dreams>

Captain Kolan could only watch as the stupendous salvo of torpedoes came slashing in. His point defense tried. But it was useless. Half of the salvo went for the Fury of Ragnos, the other battleship, so only twenty seven heavy proton torpedoes came at his ship. He could only watch as they slammed into his shields and after a moment, the hull. No ship armor ever made could turn such fury. The Fury of Ragnos simply disintegrated under the hail of torpedoes. His ship actually managed to survive the initial salvo. But it was mortally wounded. He picked himself up off the deck. He turned to where his commander had been, but the Sith had vanished as if he had never been there.

“Damage report.” His XO was lying with a large piece of metal through him and his third officer spoke up reading off his displays.

“Main engines off line. Weapons offline. Engineering reports a runaway reactor failure.” The young officer stared at the captain. “What do we do sir?” Kolan looked at the young man and spoke quietly.

“We die.”

<the Repulse>

Captain Brun smiled as space lit up again with the death of a Sith battlewagon. A cheer went up around her bridge. They had done it. Then she saw her com officer slump. She walked to him and he spoke quietly.

“Captain, Gold leader reports Dragon Four lost.” Captain Brun's heart seemed to leap right out of her chest. She reached over to the com board and spoke.

“What happened, commander?” Brun demanded, her tone abrupt. Gold leader responded quickly.

“New Sith design, they tore through our escorts." The pilot reported sadly. "He engaged them, one chased us. Apparently he rammed it to keep it... from killing me.” Captain Brun shook her head.

“Did his ship explode?” She could swear she had startled the man.

“None of us saw his bird explode Ma'am, but...” Gold Leader said slowly. The odds of surviving a collision between two starfighters at that speed were slim at best.

“Then he is not dead." Brun said with confidence. "We have Search and Rescue ships already on the way. Give them the last know position.” A hurried acknowledgment came and she turned back to her station. Her XO was standing there.

“If he is alive...?” The pilot asked, hesitantly. She nodded.

“He saved our shebs." Teh captain replied , her voice hard. "We will find him.” He shook his head slowly.

“And then?” The pilot asked, but it wasn't really a question. She sighed. If they took him into custody...

“We will see.”
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06.27.2012 , 08:20 AM | #7
<Tython, the Jedi Enclave, two days later>

She woke. She was sure she had heard something, but when she listened harder, nothing came to her ears. She shook her head and winced as pain came. Deep pain. She reached up and touched her had and didn't miss the bandages that covered it, or the frame that immobilized it. She tensed at the tubes she felt coming down from her skull, but sighed and relaxed. Obviously she was alive. And obviously, she was sane. Or was she? She didn't feel bad, just very weak. And the only thing that hurt was her head.

She looked around to what she could see from her limited field of view. Walls and ceiling in muted colors. A paining of a symbol on the wall that she didn't recognize. But she was on a planet, that was obvious from the lack of ship drive noise and the gravity was a bit different from spacecraft norms. She heard something but couldn't move her head to see what it was. So she spoke. Try as she might, she couldn't keep a quaver out of her voice.

“Hello...?” She relaxed as the features of the Rakata healer came into view. She really hadn't trusted this Jedi, but obviously, the healer had kept her word. “Nolikas...?” Her voice was weak. The Rakata smiled.

“You are with us again? I am glad... um...” The Rakata broke off unsure and the woman in the bed smiled sadly.

“It's Carra right now.” It had been made quite clear that the Rakata knew about her problem. But it so went against the grain to tell anyone about it. She would have shaken her head, but of course it didn't move. Nolikas sat beside her, well within sight and sighed.

“We removed the device. And we have neutralized what we could of the fluids it secreted.” Carra felt the blood drain from her face.

“...'what you could'...?” There was honest fear in her voice and Nolikas laid a gentle hand on hers.

“One of the fluids was a toxin, designed to kill slowly and in great pain. That we stopped. The other...” Nolikas shook her head slowly. “It bound to certain chemical receptors in your brain. We are still trying to figure out what it did and why.” Carra froze.

“Is... is that implanted thing why I... Well...” She broke off as Nolikas shook her head.

“We don't know what caused the multiple personalities.” Carra stared at her and Nolikas sighed again. “There is you. Sharra Riggs, Sharra Kalenath, and three others we have identified. One of whom, Karra, lives for one purpose only. To do whatever any Sith tells her to.” Carra's eyes went wide at that, horror filled them. Nolikas held her hand while Carra tried to get her mind around that. Tears came and for the first time in a long time, Carra let them flow. Let herself cry in public. Not that being in a private room with a Jedi healer was actually public. Finally, she spoke.

“Can you fix it?” Nolikas was silent, and Carra slumped. “You can't.”

“We are going to try Carra. Hard.” Carra sighed. Suddenly...

Noliaks jumped as the woman in the bed started screaming. She hit the control for the sedatives and slumped as the woman relaxed into sleep. She shook her head. This just kept getting worse and worse.

<On the batteship Repulse>

He woke up fast, he always did when not drugged. Part was training, both Republic Special Forces and whatever the scum who had experimented on him had done to him as well. Part was habit. When one lived and fought solo, it made sense not to get too relaxed, ever. He flinched as he recalled his last memories. The impact, the tumbling, the blackness clawing at his vision... At least he had unmerged from his fighter before it hit the Sith ship. But he didn't hear his ship around him now.

When he cracked his eyes he sighed. Republic Medical ward. Probably in a ship from the décor and bulkheads. And he didn't miss the two Marines standing by the only door. They saw him looking and nodded. He wasn't restrained, but the presence of the two marines said he wasn't free either.

He hadn't really expected to survive ramming that Sith fighter, but his bird's shields had been enhanced beyond Republic specs. He remembered tumbling, and a voice? He shook his head. That didn't make any sense. He wouldn't have been able to hear anything over the roar of his engines. And the blood rushing from his brain as he spun through space would have made him black out in moments.

He catalogued himself quickly. Nothing hurt but the smell of kolto lingered in his nostrils. No bandages, so... If there had been injuries, they had been minor and healed in the kolto dip. He shook his head and lay back, able for the first time in quite a while to just lie and think. And he didn't like where his mind was going. He tried so hard to stay busy, so that he wouldn't look too closely at the mess that his soul had become. He knew he wasn't a good man, that he was barely one step removed from the monsters that he had fought for so long.

And he knew without a doubt that he was a monster. Normal people didn't do what he did. Normal people didn't torture to make a point. They didn't use nerve gas and camouflaged land mines because they were expedient. They didn't kill children...

He didn't look up as the hatch opened. But he did when he heard her voice.

“Leave.” His eyes met Captain Brun's from across the room and in his peripheral vision, he saw the two Marines stiffen. Neither wanted to leave their captain alone with a pirate. She glared at them and he gave them a sympathetic smile. He had been on the receiving end of Mercedes' glare on occasion himself. He shrugged and the captain looked at him, but when she spoke it was to the Marines.

“If he was going to do something he would have already.” The two Marines looked from her to him and he shrugged again. They looked at each other and then nodded.

“We will be right outside Ma'am.” the senior of them said to her and she nodded as they exited the room and shut the hatch. She looked at the man in the berth and smiled sadly.

“You look like hell, Will.” He didn't speak, and she shook her head slowly.

“Will, Sharra's alive. The Jedi say she will recover.” His eyes bored into her and she swallowed just a bit. But he didn't speak, just looked at her. “Will, talk to me. Its me, remember? No Mercy Mercedes...” He had given her that nickname and she had earned it. She froze as he turned away from her. “Will...”

When he turned back, his face was... empty... “Kalenath, Will, Captain, Republic Navy. Number AS136579.” She stared at him. He was acting like a POW? No...

“Don't do this Will, don't...” Her voice held fear. And old, old hurt.

“I have nothing to say to you.” With that he turned his face towards the wall. She stared at the back of his head and her eyes burned.

“Dammnit Will, you are not my enemy. Talk to me!” She shouted now, but he ignored her. A single tear fell down her face and she scrubbed her face hard. When he spoke it was almost inaudible.

“Kalenath, Will, Captain, Republic Navy. Number AS136579.” He said slowly, mechanically. She shook her head slowly and controlled her face before she stepped out of the room. The Marines were waiting. She shook her head.

“Put him in the brig. If he won't talk to me, I hope he will talk to his counsel for the court martial.” Both of them stared at her, then saluted.
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06.27.2012 , 08:26 AM | #8
<An hour later>

“Ma'am... He won't talk to anyone.” Captain Brun slumped as the counsel appointed to defend Will spoke quietly. “Ordinarily I would say that is a good thing, but...” She nodded and grinned. There was no humor in it.

“If he doesn't talk to us, how can we defend him?” She asked rhetorically. Major Ha Ar Munda sighed and his montrals echoed just a bit. Togruta in the Navy were not uncommon, but Togruta in the JAG corps were a rarity. It took a special breed of being to be able to investigate and prosecute the laws of the Republic Military. Something that Ha Ar Munda was good at. But there were times when he really hated his job. Watching a bona fide hero simply walk to his own execution without even defending his actions was shaping up to be one of those times...

“I don't know if we can Ma'am." The lawyer said sadly. "Even if he was talking to us. I mean... he is guilty, on multiple counts, of mutiny, desertion, disobeying orders and murder.” Captain Brun nodded slowly.

“I know. I also know he saved my ship and many of my pilots. And not just today. I am too close to this counselor, after Coruscant... I...” She slumped. “I would have joined him and them, gladly. But they said no.” The counselor stared at her. She shrugged. “I think, now, it was the right thing for me, but it took me a long time to see that.” The counselor just stared at her and she shrugged. It didn't really matter to her, it wasn't like he was going to tell HSN what she said after all. And if they were to save Will and the Stormhawk crew, they needed to trust one another. Even if it went seriously against the grain to trust a lawyer.

“They said I was needed with the Republic, to keep it solid. To help keep the Fleet stable. And they were right. The Fleet got kicked in the crotch at Coruscant. It took years of rebuilding before we were able to recover from the morale damage alone...” The counselor nodded. He had joined up shortly after that, and had spent his whole career dealing with the aftereffects. The rage, depression and other emotions still ran high in the Fleet. And that led to all kinds of... He shook his head. This was getting him nowhere. Ha Ar Munda spoke softly.

“Ma'am...” The lawyer said gently. She slumped even further. “We are going to have to talk about Coruscant.” She bit her lip and nodded slowly.

“I know.” She shook her head slowly. “We have run from the issue too long though. You saw the board listing though didn't you?” He stiffened. Officers to sit on court martial boards were supposed to be selected for impartiality, clear headedness and at random. This board had none of the above.

“Yes, Ma'am.” His quiet voice held sadness and more than a trace of worry. “Klicson, Gron, Julian, Vorcan, and Hollice.” Five staff officers, the idea was that there would be an odd number to swing any votes. And these officers... He shook his head again. “HQ is trying to whitewash this.”

Catain Brun smiled. Only an aquatic predator might call it nice. “Key word there is 'trying'.”

The counselor found himself grinning as well. No matter if they all did go down in flames, the Senate and its lapdogs at Fleet HQ would not enjoy this experience.

<On a shuttle>

“Are you sure about this?” The elderly Togruta asked the young Kel Dor who sat beside her. Both wore Jedi robes. The Kel Dor nodded.

“Yes, I owe him, and her. But more importantly, it is the right thing to do.” the Togruta turned to the other occupant of the shuttle's passenger compartment.

“Are you okay with this?” The male wearing Jedi attire shook his head slowly. She looked at him and he sighed.

“I caused all of this. How can I be okay with it?” She sat back at his sad tone. But he spoke again, a calmer. “I made a mistake, I have to fix it.” The Togruta sighed.

“Markus, you may not be able to.” She said sadly. He nodded.

“I know. The Jedi replied. "But I will do what I have to. I have to try.” The girl spoke softly.

“Do or do not." Diseree said slowly, then smiled a little with the others. "There is no try.” He nodded at her words and then bowed his head to her. When he spoke, it was quiet.

“Do you think you can break him out of this... this...” He broke off, at a loss for words.

“He doesn't care. As far as he knows, he just lost everything that mattered to him. His daughter, his wife, his friends and his ship. All the things that defined him. He as nothing left to fight for.” The young Kel Dor girl's words were clear and sad. The man nodded.

“Then we have to show him that he does. And why.” At those final word both the Togruta and the Kel Dor stiffened. He grinned mirthlessly. “Keeping that man in the dark was a bad idea. Vandar said so at the time. Gorral did as well.” The two females exchanged a long look. Finally, the Togruta spoke, slowly and carefully.

“Markus..." The Togruta shook her head, but her voice held warning. "We agree that the Council made a decision that was... flawed. They didn't have all the information. We have more now, but...” Markus nodded. And then he sighed.

“I know. I am more worried about what this Fleet situation is going to wind up causing. The Fleet is...” He shook his head. “I don't know... 'Confused' is probably the right word. Their leaders, people they are trained to trust, are saying this man, this hero, is a traitor. Which he is, due to my own ignorance and mishandling of situations. I...” He looked at the two females. “Ashla Ti, Diseree... What can you tell me?” There was a note of deference in his tone. Not subservience, just an acknowledgment that he could not do what they could. Ashla Ti looked at him and sighed.

“The future is always in motion." Ashla TI said after a moment. "But... Whatever you do, do not get within his reach.” He stared at her, then nodded. Will hated him more than anyone else in the galaxy right at this moment.

“The Republic Fleet Headquarters is trying to deny this whole mess. Which will make it worse when the truth gets out, which it will.” Diseree spoke slowly, carefully. Markus nodded slowly. “I think...” She sat, obviously considering her thoughts. “I think they will not go for immediate executions, no matter what some of their... patrons may want. And of course we know what is actually going on here, even if no one else does.” Markus sighed.

“There are days when I really hate being a Jedi.” He said with conviction. Diseree and Ashla Ti nodded.
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06.27.2012 , 08:30 AM | #9
<Two hours later>

Will sat, impassive, in his cell. He hadn't moved since they had brought him in. The Marines had been efficient and professional. And polite. While they had bound his wrists, they hadn't used the stun cuffs or even turned them on. And once he had been within the cell, they had removed his binders. A plate of food sat near the force field, untouched. He didn't move even when raised voices were heard. They were unintelligible through the bulkheads, but then the hatch opened. He didn't look up. Until he heard a small voice gasp in shock. His eyes shot up and he goggled at the young Kel Dor girl who was almost pressing her face against the force field. She relaxed as he met her gaze, but then he lowered it again.

“Deactivate it.” Came another voice. Female, older. And immediately a storm of denials and protests from someone who sounded like a Marine. A Marine who was trying to be polite, but still a Marine. But the female voice replied in a soothing tone. “He is not going to try and escape corporal. And he wouldn't be able to anyway. Let us talk to him.” A mutter sounded but the force field deactivated. He didn't look up. The Marine spoke up.

“You can enter Ma'am, but then I have to reactivate it. Regulations. Tell me when you want to leave.” Will heard the older woman sigh and then Diseree was swarming into his lap. He didn't want to look at her. He didn't. But she grasped his face and pulled it up until he was looking her in the eyes. And she was crying. Maker, he hated seeing kids cry. He had hurt way too many over the years... He slumped and reached out a slow hand to her, which she took in a fierce grip. He heard the force field reactivate and saw out of the corner of his eye a female Togruta, one he had seen once before, standing near the field. The corner of his mouth twitched. Even here -locked up, even now -completely unarmed, he scared people.

“Yes you do. And with good reason.” The young Kel Dor said with a smile. He would have scowled but Diseree was hugging him tight. And she was speaking.

“I thought you were dead. I couldn't 'see' you. I...” She broke down again and he found himself holding her trying to comfort her as she cried. The female Togruta looked as if she wanted to come closer, but didn't dare. Will shook his head slowly and moved on the cell's bunk, leaving space for the Togruta to sit. He was no expert on Togruta facial expressions, but he thought the older seer looked relieved as she sat. Diseree was speaking again. “Sharra is alive, she will recover, don't give up. Please...” He shook his head slowly and stayed silent. The female Togruta, he remembered finally that her name was Ashla Ti, spoke again, quietly.

“Will Kalenath, you must not falter in your path. You must remain strong.” He looked at her and she seemed to slump a bit. “You are far more important than you know.” At that he snorted quietly and returned his gaze to the younger Jedi on his lap. But her next words had him jerking. “What did they say to you?” He stared at her, baffled, and she shook her head slowly. “The beings you faced were not Sith.”

At that, he snorted derisively. That had been obvious when they had appeared. Normal Sith pilots didn't break formation for anything. Their discipline was just too strong for anything, even self preservation, to break. And these had come after him as soon as they had seen him. But she was speaking again.

“What did they say to you?” He looked her in the eyes and was shocked to see fear there. Not of him. For him? Or... He shook his head slowly. When he spoke it was so quiet the microphones in the room would have had to be set at their highest gain to hear him.

“They said 'Join us.'” Whatever response he might have expected the emotion that crossed the Jedi's face hadn't been it. She schooled her features quickly, but he knew what he had seen. Terror. Diseree spoke quietly.

“But you didn't. And won't.” Her unquestioning faith in him seemed absurd to his ears, but looking in her eyes, she was serious. Deadly serious. He shook his head and sat quietly. The girl and older Jedi didn't press, just sat with him. Trying to help him hold his darkness at bay for a time by their presence alone. And he did feel better. If just a little bit.

<On planet>

Nolikas sighed. Sharra simply wasn't getting any better. If anything the personalities were becoming more concrete, not less. They should have been fading as the foreign chemicals in Sharra's brain were drained and removed, but it was as if...

The healer shook her huge head. Speculation was pointless. She took another look at the slumbering form and then nodded to her assistant and walked to the door. When she spoke, she couldn't keep the fatigue out of her voice. It had been a series of very long days.

“I will be back in about an hour. I need to make a call.” Jrick nodded to her as he perused the readouts, seeking to understand the problem so they could fix it. But Nolikas knew this was more than a physical or chemical problem. This involved the Force somehow, and that meant she needed to consult. And with some rather eclectic sources.

She walked quickly through the halls of the Enclave, returning greetings and answering questions as she could. There was no hiding the fact that Sharra was in medical in critical condition. And many of the Jedi present had been at the Enclave when Will had arrived to reclaim his daughter. And were justifiably nervous about a repeat of that insanity. It wasn't every day that the council and entire enclave were threatened with extinction. He said after wards that it had been a bluff, but she knew the man now. And knew he would have detonated the baradium bomb if he had been forced to. Luckily, it hadn't come to that. And now, here she was trying to save another of his kin.

She made it to her destination and smiled to the Jedi Knight on duty in the communications center. He smiled back and left her to a secure room where she sat in front of the terminal for a long moment before keying in a code that a friend had given her. It took a while. The recipient of the code was probably not in a civilized system, after all, she as on a hunt. She smiled as the screen showed the symbol for connection established and then tensed just a bit as the persons he needed to talk to appeared in a small holo.

“Nolikas. This is unexpected.” Sara Kalenath smiled at the healer she had met just recently, but grown to trust in many ways. She tensed as Nolikas did not smile back.

“I need to talk to you, in person.” Nolikas was sure she had startled the girl, but then the young human female clammed up again. Sara looked at the Jedi healer and shook her head slowly.

“If I come anywhere near that area, you know what the Republic Fleet will try and do.” Sara said slowly. Nolikas nodded slowly. Sara's ship was not a Republic ship, anymore anyway. And while the Intel people who had used it were no longer in the picture, their backers and superiors likely were. Add to that the fact that Sara and her 'crew' were hot commodities at the moment... Nolikas shook her head. “You heard.”

It wasn't a question, but Sara nodded anyway. The girl's face was sad. Nolikas felt the same way. She liked Will and the Stormhawk crew. A lot. Nolikas shook her head slowly and spoke carefully. There was literally no way at all that this transmission was not being monitored.

“I need to talk to someone on your ship. Someone who has experience in multiple personality disorders among soldiers.” At that Sara froze. Then she nodded slowly.

“I will get back to you.” With that the connection cut and Nolikas sighed as she walked out, nodding to the Jedi on station. She just hoped she hadn't just endangered yet another friend.

<A long ways away>

“You have got to be kidding...” Sara shook her head as she conversed with empty air. But a voice came back from the empty air.

“If she has regressed, then she needs whatever help we an give." The disembodied voice of a dead Jedi had taken quite a bit of getting used to, but now it was nowhere NEAR the weirdest thing aboard. Not even close. If I hurt her...” Sara snarled.

“Don't give me that, Dia. You helped her. Without you, she would have either killed Will or you, and then gone mad from whatever they did to her. You got her mind back together then to the J'ron surgeons and they removed the implant. The first one anyway.” Sara shook her head. The reports she had received from the Stormhawk before Boss and Co had jumped to Tython had made her blood boil. She shook her head, trying to lose her anger. “Time to Tython?”

“We can be there in 14 hours Sara, but...” Sara nodded.

“We are not going alone.” She keyed her comlink. “Elder Trava, we have a problem...”
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kalenath's Avatar

06.27.2012 , 08:33 AM | #10
<Two days later>

“This court martial is now in session.” The stentorian voice of the head judge resonated through the chamber and Captain Brun bit back a frown. It wouldn't do to let theses desk bound bought and paid for paper pushers know exactly what she thought of them.

It had been an interesting time, with all kinds of connotations on the word interesting. First, having a flag officer aboard her ship was always a bit stressful. Having five at once would have stressed her a great deal more in the best of times. And these flag officers... Surreptitiously, she scrutinized each of the beings who sat in full uniform as they prepared to hear opening arguments. Admirals Klicson, Gron, Julian, Vorcan, and Hollice. She had known when the Stormhawk had arrived in system that the situation would get bad. But she hadn't had any idea at all just how bad. Adar Klicson was a human, a man who probably had to have a float to move around. He was the only human she had ever seen who might outweigh a Hutt. And his demeanor said it all. He wanted the Stormhawk and her crew dead, preferably burned at the stake. Scuttlebutt said he enforced all of the regs on his command impartially. Giving the same punishment for all minor crimes cut down on his workload probably, but... She shook her head minutely. Some crimes didn't merit a full court, and Klicson seemed to have one empaneled every week. Once for a soldier who had taken an extra bowl of fruit, strawberries, from the mess hall.

Gron was a bit of a mystery. She didn't deal with many Quarren. But they had always struck her as being a bit on the slimy side, and not just because they were amphibious. But he maintained his appearance of indifference. Of course if he was sent he, he had reason to be. This was not an impartial panel, no matter what High Command might say.

Dara Julian was less of a mystery. She was a quiet sort who put in her time, rose through the ranks by being completely neutral. She never took any chances of she could avoid it. However, if Captain Brun had cherished any hopes that she, of all the panel, might actually see what was going on here and do something about it, her quiet conversation with Stormhawk Boss the night before had put paid to it. Apparently the good admiral had some very expensive habits that never made it to press. And with those expensive habits came expensive debts, to some very unsavory sorts. Some of whom wanted the Stormhawk gone in the worst way possible.

Vorcan was the unquestioned leader of the panel. Loud and obnoxious, the Bothan was pushy, arrogant and obnoxious when he could get away with it. When he faced opposition, he managed to be at east polite until he could slip a dagger into his opponent's back. Scuttlebutt said that in one case, he had done so literally. She shook her head minutely. That left the last member of the panel. A complete unknown.

Admiral Hollice had been promoted recently. She had never met the human before this 'adventure'. While he seemed polite and professional, he also maintained his distance, as if he was afraid to get too close. Of all the panel, she had the most questions about him, he didn't seem to fit in with the others. He had the look of someone who had seen combat, and not from the relative safety of a ship's bridge, but up close and personal. She wondered about that, but shook her head again and looked to the side of the room. The three figures wearing Jedi garb sat alone. The admirals had tried to get them barred from the proceeding, but they had managed to get entry. Brun wasn't sure about bringing a young girl into such a mess, but Diseree had proven to be solid and capable, just as Ashla Ti had. Brun did not look at the third. She was certain what would happen if she did.

While she hadn't known who Markus Sigmundson was until after the battle of Coruscant, the simple fact that he had run for his life and left many of her fellow soldiers to die would have earned her eternal enmity. The fact that he had tried to have the Stormhawk cover him doing so, then blamed that ship and her crew for the resulting debacle were beyond the pale. No one joined the military and expected an even break. But having that Jedi hunt people who had been her friends and comrades before Coruscant had been enough to get her reprimanded three times for 'conduct unbecoming'. Usually when refusing requests of the Jedi for support to hunt the Stormhawk.

Vorcan spoke. “Defense may enter a plea.” Will stayed silent and Ha Ar Mundi simply shook his head. All of the court, with the notable exception of the Jedi froze solid. Brun noticed the Jedi didn't seem to be worried at all. Vorcan shook his head. This was a major breach in tradition, usually the defence made a plea of some kind. Guilty or innocent. But they did neither. The prosecution, a young Twilek, who Brun was sure hadn't had a clue what she was getting into, rose and started her list of charges against Will. Brun tuned it out. She knew them by heart.

Desertion in the face of the enemy. Mutiny. Murder. Treason. Theft. Conduct unbecoming an officer. Insubordination... At that Brun and several other people in the room snickered quietly. Will defined insubordinate. The list of charges took a full five minutes to read. Brun slumped slightly. The problem was that most of them were true. Finally the Twilek finished with. “...Colonel Kalenath is unstable and a danger to everyone around him and should be sentenced to the fullest penalties under the law.”

The Admirals looked at Ha Ar Mundi and he nodded. He rose and spoke slowly. “My client, Captain Kalenath...” At that, a murmur went around the room. Most had heard that Will had refused to be called a colonel, but none knew why. “ neither unstable, nor a danger to anyone who does not threaten him or his family.”

He carefully did not see Admiral Julian wince at that. She knew what happened when people did that, only too well. Her 'patrons' had suffered from some less that intelligent choices in the past. “And I intend to prove it.” His clear and confident voice sped through the courtroom and a murmur swept behind it. Vorcan didn't snarl at the lawyer but it was an obvious struggle for the Bothan not to.

“His rank is Colonel.” Ha Ar Mundi shook his head slowly and spoke in a perfectly respectful tone that somehow managed to convey that he felt he was dealing with a less than intelligent child.

“He declined that promotion.” At that, another murmur swept the room. “As was his right. He was not informed of it, until recently. And as he was not affiliated with the Republic at the time, it was not a lawful action for the Republic Military to take. It was intended to bring pressure against him, which succeeded, just not quite the way that the instigator of that action intended.” At that, all five of the admirals sat back, just a bit.

No matter what anyone thought of him, General Solius Mak had not been an amateur at politiking and shady dealing. What he had been was somewhat unwise in his choice of pawns. Some pawns had a distressing tendency to think for themselves. And that was what had brought the Special Forces General down. Vorcan looked to each other admirals and shook his head.

“Very well, if he refused that promotion, then 'Captain' Kalenath will be charged.” Vorcan said slowly. Ha Ar Mundi nodded.

“Thank you.” The lawyer nodded to the board. “I intend to prove that Captain Kalenath was not a traitor,a murderer, a deserter or a mutineer until he was forced into it by elements within the Republic Military. And the Jedi Order.” At that, a hush swept the room, and all eyes turned to the three Jedi, who just looked impassive. Captain Brun shook her head slowly. Oh man... this is not going to be fun...
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