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(L,F&E 46) Starlight, Starbright

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 46) Starlight, Starbright

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:37 AM | #1
((This starts eight hours after the end of Tribulations and Trials))

<Bothawui>

Will didn't move. This was getting tiresome. He knew now that Vorren wasn't hunting him. The agent wouldn't have let Will slip through the cordons so easily. So who were these Sith and why the flarg did they seem so all fired determined to corral him? Another figure in black robes appeared ahead and he froze in his hiding spot. The Sith seemed agitated. After a moment, the male human was joined by another figure in Sith robes, a female human. He didn't need the Force to tell him that he was the subject of their low, intense conversation. He didn't move and concentrated on making himself as small as possible as a Jedi had taught him so long ago. He carefully hid his reaction as he recognized the woman from a description. Then he was in slow motion, very slow motion.

“Well, Morgana?” Shult asked with an acid edge to his voice as the small woman swept the area with her scanner. She snarled at him.

“Nothing. Either he isn't here, or he is concealed so well that the best Imperial scanners can't pick him up.” Both of the Sith looked around, but nothing moved, nothing at all. Nothing showed in the Force either, except... Shult was in motion before he registered what he had sensed. He had his lightsaber out to deflect the blasterfire, but it didn't go for him. He watched in shock as Morgana screamed and crumpled. He looked to the source and froze as one of the shadows came alive. His eyes went wide as he saw his prey, stepping out into the alleyway as if he hadn't a care in the world. Shult ignored the soft sounds coming from where Morgana lay and focused his whole being on the black clad form that stood there staring at him. But there was nothing there, almost a hole in the Force and for the first time in a long, long time, Shult felt fear about something other than his master. But then the Sith smiled.

“Well, well, well. It falls out at last. Captain Will Kalenath. Your legend precedes you.” If Will noticed the Sith's words it was unapparent. His focus was on the crumpled woman, who stirred slightly. Shult waved a hand at the fallen Morgana. “By all means, if you want her dead, feel free. Or you could just cripple her like you did Kola.” Now Will looked at the Sith and despite his training and power, Shult took a step back. But he recovered. He was no novice after all. “She hurt your woman. You know you want her dead.” At that, Will actually laughed and Shult snarled at the mocking tone.

“Trying to turn me?” Will snickered. “You will have to do better than that, Sith slime.” Suddenly his form blurred and vanished, leaving Shult to stare angrily at empty space. He snarled at Morgana.

“You are the lousiest actress I have ever met.” The Sith woman shot to her feet, obviously unharmed. But then she froze. Shult followed her line of sight and froze himself. A pair of cloaked figures had entered the alley. He felt fear again as he saw what was under the hood. Without a word, he turned and ran. Morgana was right on his heels. In moments, both were gone.

Will watched the two strangers with interest from his rooftop perch. It wasn't every day one saw Sith flee after all. Anyone they would run from, well... He stiffened. Both of them were looking at him. Not towards him. AT him. Despite the shadows, the range, his stealth, he was sure somehow that they were looking him in the eye. The faces were invisible under the cowls, but...

Join us

The words were in his head. Without a backward glance, he was running. As he ran he activated his best ECM and stealth systems, praying it was enough. As he vanished into the distance he heard it again.

Join us

He shook his head violently as he ran. Then he was gone.

<Back in the alley>

Both of the cloaked figures wavered and vanished, leaving nothing to show they had existed.

<Some time later, on the same planet>

Enough” Shult and Morgana stopped arguing and actually fell back a step as their master literally shouted at them. Morgana winced.

“Master, we have her...” She stopped talking as Ravishaw grabbed her by the throat and held her off the ground. Shult didn't move, not daring to breath as his always mercurial master shook the other Sith like a rag doll.

“First you fail to bring me Will Kalenath, now you bring me this...” He waved his unoccupied hand towards the unopened stasis pod. Morgana choked out words as she scrabbled at Ravishaw's fingers.

“We... We brought... brought you... Nia Korr, master...” Ravishaw snarled and threw the girl across the room. She hit the wall and slid to the floor. She would have risen except a hiss of steel was heard and Ravishaw's blade appeared in his hand. Neither of the apprentices dared to move. Ravishaw snarled.

“You idiots are pathetic. Neither of you sense what is within that shell.” Ravishaw shook his head slowly. Shult stared, first at his master, then at the pod. Ravishaw snarled. “Her body may be there, but SHE is not, fool.” Shult froze as that registered. The Master walked up to where Morgana was lying, petrified, and bent down. She bit back a scream as he trailed a finger across her face and power flared. He smiled. “I think... I think I will play with you for a little while, Morgana.” The woman's eyes went wide, but she couldn't move away from his gaze. Now he spoke to Shult.

“She won't be back soon, I think, and if the Imperials catch us with her... It might be unfortunate, so... Hmmm...” the Master grinned, a malevolent look. “There is a particular Sith who is seeking bodies for his own designs. Send her pod to his agents.” Shult stared at his master and Ravishaw snarled. “Now.” No scream could have been more final than the Sith Lord's soft word and Shult leapt to obey. As he levitated the stasis pod out of the room, he carefully didn't hear the whimpers start behind him. Soon they would turn to screams, but hopefully he would be gone before the master thought to punish his other apprentice as well.

<Somewhere>

Nia wasn't sure where she was. It didn't sound or feel like anywhere she remembered. She sighed inaudible. She must have 'traveled' again. She shook her head slowly. At least this time there were no Sith waiting for her to wake up. Come to think of it...

She couldn't feel anything through the Force. She cracked her eyes and stared around in shock. She was lying on a bed, a medical type bed. She had been in enough that it was instantly recognizable. But the rest... She froze as she felt something odd. When she looked at her arm, she saw a metal bracelet of some kind around her wrist. A short chain connected that bracelet to another that seemed to be locked around the railing of her bed. So she was a prisoner. But such a primitive device? If she had any of her tools she would be out of it in seconds. A quick search however, showed she had none of her gear. Nothing at all. She was wearing some kind of thin gown that did little to cover her or warm her. Her bodysuit was gone, her hidden accessories were gone, she was totally defenseless. She snorted. Like that hadn't happened before? She had gotten out of those situations, she could get out of this. She looked around.

Walls, ceiling, floor, all in medical center white. She focused on herself and blinked as her vision swam a bit. She tried again to focus but the Force didn't answer her. She sighed again and sank back into the bed. Without the Force, she couldn't see what was happening around her, or escape. If that was even the right thing to do. She lacked information, so she would just have to wait and see what happened. Maybe if she husbanded her strength she would be able to escape whoever or whatever had her now. She barely noticed when she dozed off.

When Nia woke again, she wasn't alone for long. A woman in some kind of uniform entered the room. It wasn't any uniform Nia had ever seen before. It looked distinctly low tech. But the body armor vest and the weapon at the woman's hip were functional looking, if also decidedly on the primitive side. If Nia wasn't mistaken, the weapon was a low tech slugthrower. The woman spoke.

“Good morning.” Nia nodded.

“Morning.” Her noncommital tone had the other woman raising an eyebrow. But then the armed woman smiled slightly.

“Hungry?” Nia's stomach rumbled but she didn't answer, she looked the woman over slowly. The woman didn't stand like a soldier. So... Nia didn't move, but looked at her wrist.

“Am I under arrest?” The woman looked a bit troubled.

“You are in protective custody until we can figure out what to do with you.” Nia raised an eyebrow at that and the woman shook her head. “We need some answers.

Nia snorted at that. “Well, it doesn't look like I am going to run away, now does it?” The woman didn't crack a smile.

“We need to know how you got into the corridor you were found in.” Nia shrugged.

“I have no idea. I don't know where I am, or what happened.” The strange woman looked at her and then sighed.

“You are in the security wing of Corith Naval Hospital. You were found unconscious in a high security area and brought here for treatment. We need to know how you got in there.” Nia shook her head slowly.

“Well, I have no idea at all where that is you are talking about, so, let me start small. What planet am I on?” the woman stared at her.

“What planet?” The woman snorted. When she spoke it was in a very dry tone, obviously humoring Nia. “Our planet. Only one we have. Where else would you be?”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:38 AM | #2
<Space>

Will shivered a bit as he fled Bothan space. Of course he did so with the speed of a fast moving glacier. Or so it seemed to him.

With the amazing increase in Sith activity in the area -probably due to his antics-, he was denied most of his usual tactics. But he had tricks stored up from a lifetime of combat and sneaking. So he had reached into his past and pulled out a trick. The automated ore freighter didn't care if he attached his small transport to its underside. And with all systems powered down, it was almost impossible to detect on sensors. It would take an actual visual inspection of the freighter to detect his ship and most Sith wouldn't take the time to do that. He knew that he was in the clear. So why did he feel like some kind of noose was closing in on him?

<The same system, but a long ways away>

Vorren sat at his command chair and shivered a bit. Being told about it hadn't prepared him. At all. Will was bad enough, he readily admitted, in the deepest recesses of his mind anyway. He spared a glance at the screen that showed the freighter Will had secreted himself on. Vorren knew many of Will's tricks, so he hadn't really been surprised that Will used that one. After all, the man had faced a hell of a shock. Did he know what had happened? Probably not. Vorren didn't really know what had happened, and it bothered him. Of course his job at the moment was to keep the other Sith from catching Will. He wasn't totally sure of the reasoning behind his orders, but there was no doubt that the origination of them was the very top of the Sith Empire. But he shivered anyway.

He had been watching, and had fought hard not to crow in triumph when Will had literally laughed in that arrogant Sith's face. Then the man had done his patented disappearing act. But then... Cloaks were common. Many beings wore cloaks. But Vorren had the disturbing feeling that whatever was under the cloaks of the beings that had chased Morgana and Shult off had not been human. Even remotely. He usually was a good judge of body language, and... they hadn't moved right. They hadn't moved like any race he had encountered. He shook his head. He had been warned, but... it hadn't prepared him. An alert chimed and he smile as the drone freighter made it to hyperspace. Will was away. Vorren sighed. Time to wait an hour or so, then he could jump. Following that man through a hyperspace jump was a good way to wind up dead. And right now, his mission was to keep himself and Will alive. For now anyway.

<Hyperspace>

Will relaxed. Finally he was free of whatever had lurked there in that system. He looked at his chrono and smiled a bit. Eighteen hours in hyper, plenty of time for a nap. He lay back and closed his eyes.

He was dreaming., He had to be dreaming, but... He was on a hard surface with cold objects touching him. A female voice came to him. He bit back a sob as he recognized it.

“Do not struggle.” Of course he did. Tried anyway. But he was totally restrained. He couldn't move a muscle. Now the voice was exasperated. “Come on Will, you know you are not going to get away... please...?” He shook his head and closed his eyes. But the voice was relentless. “I am not your enemy Will, let us help you.” At that he snarled wordlessly and then clamped his jaw shut. Something touched his forehead and he controlled a wince. But instead of pain, a gentle hand stroked his head. And now the voice was sad.

“You shouldn't have run Will. I know its what you are, but you shouldn't have. They won't take kindly to it. Give me something I can use to trade for your life. Talk to me soldier boy. Please?” At that, his heart seemed to clench, but he didn't speak. He couldn't. Everything he had known had turned upside down. All he had now was his anger, his rage. The voice sighed and the hand moved to his jaw. He didn't open his eyes, and when he spoke it was as cold as pace itself.

“I have nothing to say to Sith.” Then his jaw was shut tight again. A sigh came from nearby.

“Will, don't do this. I know we lied to you. I know we misled you. But...” He could hear tears in her voice, and it hurt. By the Force it hurt. But he couldn't trust them. He couldn't trust her. That same gentle hand stroked his jaw again and he felt warmth beside his ear. When the woman spoke again, it was quiet. So quite as to be almost inaudible to any but the most sensitive microphones. “They succeeded.”

At that, his guts clenched tight. But he didn't respond. The woman sighed again and the presence withdrew. Another female voice came, older, harder.

“You done?” He didn't need to see to know the woman had nodded. “Then leave.” He heard a hatch and then he was alone. The second voice spoke. “You have the brains of a lobotomized nerf, boy.” now the second voice sighed. When she spoke again, it was kinder and much sadder.

“Jainine has a good heart, boy. Part of this mess is my fault. I should have kept a closer eye on you. But I was so happy she had found somebody she cared about. I never expected you to be who you are. You were just a foundling. We take those in a lot. You are older than most of the ones we find, but no less hurt. We are not your enemies. Why can't you believe that?” He didn't respond and the voice sighed.

“We have disabled the tracker nodes. Hopefully that will keep them from following you. But you can't stay here.” Will snorted.

“Unmarked grave then?” He asked, trying the restraints that held him again. The female laughed sourly.

“Yeah, right. Do you have any idea at all what Janine would do? It would solve a few problems and cause all kinds of bigger ones. No... You are going to forget.” At that Will froze, but she was speaking again. “It won't hurt, I swear.” He didn't react and her voice was pensive when she spoke again. “I wish the master were here. He is much better at this than nay of the rest of us, but he was called away. I give you my word, Will Kalenath, you will not feel a thing.” something cold touched his arm and he was falling. Words came to him from a long ways away. “For what it is worth, we will take care of your kid.”


He woke screaming, sure at that moment that something was wrong. He shuddered and then opened his eyes and froze. The figure wearing the cloak was standing beside his seat. There wasn't space for a humanoid sized being to stand, but just looking at the being, it was solid.

“This... This isn't possible. We are in hyperspace. You are not real. You can't be real.” The figure looked at him and he shivered. The figure reached up and threw back its hood and Will screamed. The screams lasted a long, long time.

<Eighteen hours later>

Vorren stared at the small transport that drifted on his screen and shook his head slowly. No one aboard, no sign of any intrusion. No sign of Will.

“It's begun...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:43 AM | #3
<Somewhere far far away from the rest of the story>

Nia sat and tried not to stew. She didn't understand this. These people were completely clueless. It didn't help that they all thought she was nuts. After the third doctor had recommended drug therapy for her 'psychosis', she had just stopped responding to the less than subtle hints. She was reasonably sure that the official types had not given up, after all, her ever present shadow was still here. She smiled a bit at the woman who entered carrying a tray.

“Good afternoon, Agent Morgan.” The agent of the FBI, whatever that was, smiled back and set the tray down on the table. Nia was almost sure that Morgan was an attempt at subtle interrogation, since the stronger forms hadn't worked. While she lacked the Force here, wherever here was, she didn't lack for willpower. She knew that she would break eventually, no one could withstand interrogation forever. Unfortunately, since she couldn't tell them what they wanted to know, that left her in trouble. Big trouble. The only bright side was that she knew eventually her ability would kick in again, sending her back to the stasis pod. She hoped so anyway, the pod would be an improvement over the blatant suspicion and disbelief she could see on people's faces. And at least Morgan was nice. Unlike a bunch of the others.

“Good afternoon, Nia. How did it go today?” Nia shook her head and groaned a bit and Agent Morgan grinned. The older woman was competent and professional, but that didn't stop her from being likeable as well. “You could just tell them...” Morgan broke off as Nia grimaced.

“Tell them what? That I am a visitor from another planet?” Her sour tone brought a grin to agent Morgan's face, but the the agent sighed.

“Nia... You were found in a highly secure area. You say you don't know how you got in there. And there are no records of you entering, and no sign of tampering. As far as anyone is concerned, yes, you 'beamed' down from another planet into one of the most highly secure facilities on this one. And that scares people.” Now Nia sighed, but Morgan wasn't done. “And your... um... lack of forthrightness is making people talk too.” Nia shook her head slowly. When she spoke it was quiet.

“I can understand that. When do I start interrogation again?” Nia asked softly. Morgan shook her head.

“You are lucky this isn't five years ago. The current government administration is somewhat less lenient when it comes to out of the box ideas for interrogations. Basically, a number of other people have questions for you. Apparently, the few you answered before stood a few things on their ears.” Nia winced at that. She hadn't been very circumspect. Then again, she had just woken up on a strange planet filled with very strange people. Who had learned quickly not to take her for granted. Two soldier types had tried to move her less than politely at one point and she had given them both pointed lessons in manners, Mandalorian style. When the other guards had arrived, she had been explaining to the conscious one why people with manners didn't grab women that way. Morgan had been one of the first agents on scene and she had burst out laughing at the sheer absurdity of it. Here was Nia, a little slip of a girl who had wiped the floor with two SEALs, whatever the flarg that meant besides inconsiderate and impolite, and she was instructing them in manners?

Morgan had been assigned to Nia at that point and both had been remarkably polite to each other. Nia was sure that Morgan was no ordinary agent, the woman didn't move like a cop. But she liked Morgan, and that was probably the point. It made sense, from an interrogation standpoint anyway, to build a rapport with a prisoner. Nia sighed deeply as she picked up her utensils. One good thing was they didn't bother with cuffs, probably because she had no idea where she was, or how to get out.

“I wasn't trained for this, but you already figured that out.” It wasn't a question, and Agent Morgan nodded slowly.

“It was fairly obvious what you were trained for.” She laughed. “But to see the look on their faces... Thank you Nia, From the bottom of my heart, thank you. They have been very polite to all of us non-male agents for a while now.” Nia snorted and barely managed not to spit out her bite as she laughed as well. Morgan shook her head. When she spoke again it was serious. “Eat up, Nia. They start tomorrow morning.”

Nia nodded, she hadn't expected anything else. Matter of fact... “Tell whoever prepared this that the drug's aftertaste is noticeable.” Morgan froze, but Nia just shook her head. “I know its just business, and likely orders from a higher paygrade than yours. I don't blame you. Do what you have to.”

Morgan stared at the younger girl for a long moment before walking to the door swiftly and leaving. Nia finished her meal and, feeling something that she was sure was from whatever the food had been dosed with, lay down on her bed. It was fairly comfortable. Maybe a holo-vid terminal in the corner and it might have been a decent room at any low level hotel in the galaxy. She was asleep before she could frame another thought.

<Nearby>

Agent Morgan stood at the one way mirror and shook her head slowly as she looked at the slumbering girl. A man in a suit came up beside her and she nodded to him. When she spoke, it was sad.

“You heard.” It wasn't a question. The man sighed as well.

“Yeah, I did. She's good, no question. What I would give to have her on the Detail. But...” He shook his head. Morgan nodded slowly.

“Anyone been able to figure out why that camera went offline?” The man in the suit shook his head.

The chances of the one security camera that showed the area that Nia had been found in being offline at the same time she had been in that hallway were slim to say the least. It couldn't be a coincidence. And Nia was not talking now. To anyone but Morgan, and her conversations with Morgan were guarded to say the least. They needed answers, they both knew that. The man in the suit spoke first.

“I know this is rough for you. Do you want relief?” Morgan stared at the sleeping girl and shook her head. “Morgan, be careful...” The woman sighed.

“I know. But... You and I both know she isn't a spy. She either is a much better actor than anyone I have ever met, or she isn't a spy.” The man in the suit looked through the glass and sighed again.

“She could be an assassin.” Morgan nodded.

“She could be. You know how she looks at people.” The man nodded slowly, but didn't speak. “She has killed before. Probably more than once, but... I don't think in cold blood. As to whether she could or not, I don't know. But she has more of a soldier feel than a sniper one.” Now the man snorted.

“And a short way with people being impolite.” Morgan had to laugh at that.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:45 AM | #4
<Somewhere else>

When Will woke, he wished he hadn't. His mind was blurry and his stomach was roiling. But training held and he regulated his breathing in sleep rhythms. He had to take several breaths before feeling of impending gastrological disaster subsided. But he still felt odd. He didn't open his eyes, instead, he concentrated on his other senses. He heard machinery in the distance, unidentifiable, but strangely familiar. Nearby he heard the sounds of medical gear closer. No matter who made it, it almost always had similar sounds for some funny reason. Then he thought about what he could feel. The surface he was lying on was firm, but yielding. Much like a mattress. Matter of fact, it probably was a mattress. He wasn't restrained, that was always a plus in his book. He tasted the air and it was the familiar scent of somewhat canned air that permeated spacecraft.

“I know you are awake.” His thoughts slithered to an abrupt halt as the tart female voice sounded nearby. It was familiar. He didn't move and concentrated on his breathing. The voice sighed. “Always you have to find the hardest way, Will...” He couldn't help it, a smile quirked his lips and he opened his eyes. What greeted his blurred vision had him freezing. He knew where he was. What was her name? It had been so long and people had wanted him to forget. He searched his memory and pulled it out.

He was alone in a very small compartment on a ship. He was lying on a mattress all right, but it was inside a clear pod of some kind. One he recognized. He shook his head slowly. Then he sighed.

“I should have known.” He said, resigned. There was no way to escape this as he was. “Hello, Michelle.” A snort came out of nowhere and the female voice responded, this time with relief.

“You had me scared. What possessed you to fight the trackers? All they wanted to do was bring you back.” At that Will stiffened. Memory, long buried came back. He sat up and bumped his head on the clear cover over the pod. “Stop that.” Michelle's voice was worried again as Will arced his body, trying to see how the pod was secured. “You are not getting out of there. And even of you do, the tracker implants are online again.” At that Will froze. Tracker implants both tracked and punished. He slumped, just for a moment.

“Michelle, I... I can't...” He said slowly. “Things have changed.” A sniff came from nowhere and Will shook his head.

“You gave your word.” She said coldly. At that Will froze solid. Yes, yes he had, but...

“I did.” Will admitted. “But... I told you about the girl I was in love with.” The female voice was soft and comforting when she spoke again.

“Will...” The voice of the being he called Michelle was sad now. “You made a promise. We held you to it, and you ran.” At that Will shook his head.

“It wasn't that simple.” Will said soberly. “I... I just wanted to say goodbye to her. Please, Michelle… I didn't know she was Sith. I thought she was a prisoner like me. I goofed... They caught me and made me forget.” The female voice was kind now.

“I understand. I saw it in your memories. As messed up as they are.” Will stiffened and the female voice was kinder. “We all make mistakes, Will.” Will bowed his head.

“If you have read my memories, then you know what I have to do.” A long silence followed his words and then Michelle's voice was small.

“My judgement is skewed on this Will. I need to consult.” Will stiffened, but Michelle was talking again. “Sleep brother, you still have healing to do. And... Welcome home, my battle commander...” Will felt sleep coming for him. He tried to fight it, but as always, whatever she did was stronger than anything he could do.

The being known to Will as Michelle watched with a maternal feeling as her partner fell asleep. After so long, to be whole again. It felt... good. Which only stood to reason, she supposed. After all, she had been designed and built as a warship, and any warship needed someone to tell it where to go and what to fight. The STORM Phantom Michelle arced through space towards her rendezvous with the rest of her extended clan and hopefully, long awaited revelations of what was coming. Hopefully the culmination of their long wait. And the war to end all wars. It would be... glorious...

<Somewhere else>

Commander Vorren stood at attention before the holoscreen and his face was impassive. But inside, he was worried. Very worried.

“We are displeased, commander.” There was no image on the holo, just darkness. But that suited Vorren just fine. He wasn't sure exactly who he was talking to, but if he didn't know, then , well... he had suspicions and if they were true, he really didn't want to know. It was probably for the best. “When that idiot Kolan got himself and his squadron slaughtered at Tython, we simply assumed his desire for vengeance had overridden his sense of duty or his brains. What little there were. Apparently, that was not the case.” Vorren stiffened. The voice modulated, a bit less angry now. “You have a question, commander?” Vorren nodded. “Speak.”

“If Captain Kolan was not acting under the orders of the Empire, then whose orders was he acting under? I saw the disposition orders. They appeared genuine.” A sigh came from the holo and Vorren tensed. But when the voice continued, it was not angry, no, it held worry.

“According to every test we have run, every trace we have done, those orders are genuine. But no one in the High Command gave them.” Vorren snorted and caught himself. He was ready for a rebuke, but the voice laughed. “Indeed. That was my thought as well, that someone was simply covering themselves well. But that is not the case.” At that, Vorren felt something he hadn't felt in a while. Fear. For all his faults, and he had many, he was a loyal son of the Empire. The voice was soft when it continued. “Indeed commander. Indeed. What are your thoughts?” Vorren shook his head slowly.

“Not the Republic. Some of their people are good, but not good enough to hide from a determined probe. So... another group. One good enough to slice into our systems without... a trace...” Vorren broke off, remembering how Will escaped without a trace from the Sith cruiser over Jodaka.

“Yes Commander. That report was thorough. Which is the only reason you still live.” Vorren didn't flinch. That was no more than the truth. He truly hadn't expected to survive failing that mission. “Will Kalenath is not a slicer, not in the usual sense. I will have a record sent to you. It shows the records of an incident in Korriban space shortly before the debacle at Tython. You are to find Will Kalenath and capture and interrogate him if possible. He was always a threat to the Empire. But now, he may be a threat to everything. The seers are unclear as to his exact role in what is to come. We cannot take the chance. You will execute him.” Vorren nodded and the holo vanished. For a long moment, Vorren stood motionless. Then he turned to the door of the secure room and froze. A female figure stood there, composed completely of blue energy. He shook his head slowly. He wasn't Force sensitive. So how...? The figure spoke.

“We need to talk." The figure removed her cowl. She was a human, not young, but not elderly either. He looked at her, did he know her? “My name is Jainine, Commander. And we may be able to help one another.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:48 AM | #5
<Elsewhere>

When Nia woke, she felt okay. She had woken so many times in pain in her life that the minor discomforts that she felt were inconsequential. She moved a bit and then froze as a quiet voice came to her ears.

“Nia?” Nia smiled a bit at the worry in Morgan's tone and opened her eyes. She immediately closed them. Somebody had dilated her pupils while she had been unconscious. She sighed.

“You know... they could have just asked. It's not like I am in any position to say no.” Her tone was plaintive and she heard Morgan stifle a laugh. A hand took one of hers and gave it a gentle squeeze before releasing it.

“Yeah, they could have. But you scared people when you dropped those idiots. I know very well you could have killed them. But the science types felt threatened. And right now, they have the precedence.” Nia pursed her lips and sighed.

“How long was I out?” She opened her eyes a crack and sighed again as the world around her remained blurry and unfocused. If only she had the Force... But no matter.

“Eighteen and a half hours. They wanted to dose you more. But others prevailed on them to let you recover. Especially some of us...” Nia turned her head towards the woman's voice and smiled. But then Morgan's voice was quiet, concerned. “I saw the scars Nia. What happened to you?” The agent's voice seemed to hold genuine concern. For Nia? Nia pursed her lips, but she was sort of stuck. These people wanted answers, and if they didn't have to be polite about it. When she spoke it was quiet.

“Some doctors wanted to make a me a better soldier. Without my permission.” A horrified gasp came from Morgan and then hands took hers in a gentle grip. Morgan spoke quietly, with horror and conviction.

“And then we drugged you... That won't happen again. I swear it to you.” Nia sighed.

“I don't want to get you in trouble. I know this is very strange. It's even stranger from my end. ”Then she snorted. “At least I didn't wake up puking this time.” A strange sound, almost a strangled laugh, came from Morgan. Morgan released Nia's hands and when the woman spoke again there was laughter under it.

“No, you did that earlier. And you got one of the docs square. I wish I had taken a picture, the look on his face was priceless.” Nia had to laugh at that.

“Well, you had security cameras going, right? Can you pull it off of there?” A sudden silence had Nia grinning without humor. “Hey, I am not stupid. I know I am a security risk. You don't know me. OF COURSE you are going to have me monitored.” But the silence continued and Nia wondered what she had said. Her perplexity must have showed because Morgan spoke again.

“Nia... We have some problems. And by we, I mean you and me and my agency.” Nia tensed. This she hadn't expected.

“What do you mean?” Morgan sighed.

“The agent who was here when you woke up the second time thought it was a joke when you asked what planet you were on. It wasn't, was it?” The tone of Morgan's voice suggested the woman knew the answer and Nia didn't speak. The older woman sighed. “There are several things that came back from the tests they ran on you that are flatly impossible for someone born on this planet.” The woman's quiet voice held worry as well as wonder. “You are not from our world.” Nia bowed her head and didn't speak. “Look, Nia, you have to give me something... We want to be polite, we really do.” Nia shook her head slowly.

“You know... I have wondered a few things. Ever since I woke up. But the biggest thing, with the low level of technology, the lack of various things I recognize, and all... Well... How is it that a woman from a low tech planet, from a planet with no contact at all with anywhere I have been, speaks perfect Galactic Basic?” This time when she opened her eyes, they were clear. Morgan sat frozen just a little ways away from her. Nia grinned. “You are good, is your name really Morgan?” The door opened and a man in a suit entered. He was smiling.

“Pay up Morgan.” Nia watched as Morgan shook her head, reached into a pocket and pulled out a standard credchip. Nia shook her head.

“I am assuming this is all a sham then?” Nia asked softly. The suited man nodded as he took the credchip from Morgan. “May I ask why?”

“Certainly. My name is Franj Kotlera and I am an underdirector with the Corporate Sector Authority.” Nia's eyes narrowed and Franj raised his hands in a placating gesture. “I apologize for our staff. The Special Enforcement Armed Local troops who were moving you had no idea what they were doing. I assumed that our people would at least have a clue what they were doing and I apologize for them. They were punished.” Nia nodded.

“You still haven't answered my question.” Morgan sighed.

“You were found in the single most secure area in the CSA." Morgan explained. "A hallway just outside a computer server room. What would you have done?” Nia snorted at that.

“Nothing polite.” Nia said with a snort. Both Franj and Morgan laughed. “So you are an agent of this CSA?” Morgan nodded.

“Supervisor Agent Morgan Gainal, Foreign Body Investigation Department, CSA. Sorry. Usually, my investigations are nowhere near as...” She broke off, trying to find a word and Nia laughed.

“Mouthy?” Nia said with an impish smile. Both Franj and Morgan laughed at that.

“Yeah, that will do.” Morgan helped Nia sit up and Nia shook her head slowly.

“So now what?” Franj sighed.

“Now, I tell my bosses that you are not a threat. They would have preferred to dissect you, but I am glad I put them off. Jedi don't take kindly to people doing that to their number.” At that Nia froze. Franj smiled. “We didn't know you were a Jedi until we got a response from them. While we did find you in a restricted area, there was literally no way at all that you got in there on your own.” Nia blinked. “We sent off a request for ID, since you had none on you. And we got back some rather... odd remarks from the Jedi. Even for the Jedi. Basically to leave you alone. And wait for a representative.” Nia sat back at that. Who...? Morgan smiled.

“Lets get you cleaned up and a bit more comfortable.”
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06.29.2012 , 08:51 AM | #6
<Somewhere else, a long ways away>

Will slumbered, unaware of the controversy that his presence had caused. Virtual environments could take any form known, and these cybernetic entities had long ago chosen to meet in a natural type setting. The open air auditorium was ringed with comfortable seats, but no one in the assembly was comfortable now. All of the avatars took humanoid forms. Twileks, Wookiees, humans, Bothans, even a Mon Calamari, but all were glowering at the one who stood in the middle, as another spoke sharply.

“Have you lost your mind, Michelle? Or are you just being a complete idiot?” One of them demanded. The avatar of the starship that called herself Michelle didn't flinch. But it was hard. Being called a moron hurt at any time. Being called a moron by most of the assembly of her peers stung, badly. She wasn't really female, not anymore. But she still felt like a female. She didn't move from her spot, well aware of the scrutiny of her peers and the appointed watchdogs of this assembly. Her form crackled with energy as she thought hard before answering.

She had known this was going to be bad. Will had been such a godsend to them when he had appeared twenty four years in the past. Then he had vanished without a trace. It had taken them all searching literally decades to find out that he still lived. And it had taken them even more time to discover that he didn't remember them, and still more time to find out why. Needless to say, none of them were happy. Finally, she spoke slowly.

“I know I messed up." Michelle admitted. "But... What was I to do? He was dying. I never would have believed that anyone would, or could, fight the trackers. His rhythms were failing. I couldn't... I couldn't let him die.” One of the others spoke up. A male tone, hard and sure.

“So instead, you forced him?” The incredulous tone had Michelle flinching. Instead of replying, she simply nodded. The voice continued. “Let me be sure I understand. The trackers found him. They brought him to you, you didn't know how badly he was hurt until he arrived. So instead of putting him into stasis or some other form of life support to bring him to us, you force linked with him.” Michelle nodded again. The male sighed. “Michelle... Why? If his body had died, he would have joined us. Which was what he wanted, if you recall...” When Michelle raised her avatar's head, more than one in the audience flinched back from her gaze.

“Yes, that was what he wanted. At that time. He was a child, hurt and alone. We offered him the chance to fly. The only catch...” Her voice took on a soft but sharp edge. “Slavery.” More than one of the audience stared at her in shock, but she wasn't done. “Let’s not sugar coat it. That is what this is. We have the freedom to go where we wish and do what we wish as long as we obey all of the rules. When we don't...” Another voice cut her off.

“Stop.” Every avatar's sense went to another form that sat high up on one side. The avatar that was there looked... old. It also didn't look quite like any species of the galaxy. All of the avatars bowed to her as she stood. “We are not here to get embroiled in another debate about our existence. We are here to determine what to do about his.” Michelle bowed as well. But when she spoke, it was quiet. Fearful, but not for her own sake...?

“Athena... please... Hear me out.” The older avatar came down to the middle and stood beside Michelle's human avatar. Up close, the old avatar was more insectoid than humanoid, but her features were kind. As was her smile. The old avatar sighed.

“Daughter... why? You violated at least five of our core precepts in doing what you did.” The old avatar said slowly, unsure. “You are not impulsive. You must have had a reason. The grilling we have given you has not helped, so, I ask you directly. Why did you force him to bond with you?” Michele knelt before the other avatar.

“To save his life. To find out what happened to him.” Michelle replied slowly. “And in reading him, I saw much. Much I had not expected. He has two daughters now, one of whom is missing. His mother and sister live, hunted by his enemies. He has a wife, whom he loves more than life itself. Who even now fights to hold onto her sanity from torture done to her by his enemies. But the main reason was because he didn't remember his oath to us.” At each of these items every avatar hissed slightly. It might have been electrical disturbances, or it might have been shock. Finally, Michelle raised her head and met the older avatar's eyes. “He will try and go back, to save his daughter, to help his family. No matter what we do, we wouldn't be able to hold him. And... Because no matter what, you won't blame him for what I did.”

At the last, Athena recoiled, just a bit. Then she slumped. Then she smiled. “Ah child... It has been thousands of years. But I do remember what love sounds like. It was you wasn't it? Who took him back to Kuria?” Michelle nodded, silent. Athena sighed. “This is a matter for deliberation. For now, you will be held while we parse your memories. But you are right. He is not to blame for your actions, and we will remember that.” Michelle nodded and then she screamed as the older avatar laid a hand on her electronic head. The scream tapered off as Michelle's avatar vanished. Athena sighed, then looked to the others.

“This complicates things...”

<Later>

When Will woke, he was unsurprised to find he couldn't see. He tried his fingers and toes and they all worked. But he couldn't move his arms or legs. Restrained then. A voice he remembered came to him.

“Hello brat.” He had to smile. He remembered the voice.

“Hello, Athena.” He sighed. He was screwed. “Long time.” A snort came from somewhere nearby.

“Indeed.” The sour tone reminded him of old times, good times, but... he flinched as something touched his head. He didn't move and whatever was touching him retreated after a moment. “You are mess, boy.” Will nodded. There really wasn't anything he could say to that. Not to this being. Athena sighed.

“They blocked your memories, I understand that. So you didn't even remember we existed until Michelle broke the blocks.” Will would have shaken his head, but it didn't move. “No, don't struggle. The autodocs are still working on you.” Will frowned.

“I would have thought you would have downloaded me into a ship by now.” Even now, he couldn't keep the fear, the horror out of his voice. Athena's voice was sad when she spoke again.

“Why the fear, boy? You asked us, you begged us to do it to you.” Will bit his lip, hard. Something beeped and it sounded aggravated. “Don't do that, boy. You tick them off.” Will had to laugh at that. The autodocs were true artificial intelligences. With all the idiosyncrasies that implied. When he spoke, it was quiet.

“I was young and dumb. There had to be a catch, but I was too thrilled by the chance to fly.” something touched him on the shoulder and the pain he had barely begun to feel in his chest faded. “Are you going to hurt Michelle?”

When Athena spoke it was sad. “Probably. She broke the rules. So did you, but... Both of you did it for love. I may be old, but I do remember love. So neither of you is going to die. You however... We are finally in position to defend the Protectorate. To avenge Islan.” At that Will froze. He knew that name.

“You never said… The... The Islanian Protectorate? You... You are servants of the Islanians?” His voice held fear now and a touch caressed his forehead. Athena's voice was gentle.

“Yes, I am the last of my kind, Will Kalenath. But while I live, the Protectorate will not fall.” He was shuddering now, trying to move, trying to fight, but his body didn't respond. “You are the key, Will Kalenath. You are the means by which we will have our vengeance against the Sith and the Republic for what they did to my world.” Will grated words out.

“I won't help you.” Athena's voice was sad when she spoke.

“Oh, yes you will.” Then pain came. It seemed to come from within his skull, he waited for unconsciousness, but it didn't come. After a long moment, he was left panting. "You will serve us." Then the pain came again.
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06.29.2012 , 08:55 AM | #7
<Later>

Will had known, as soon as he had woken in Athena's tender mercy, that he was in trouble. But this, whatever it was, was steadily eroding his control. After an eternity, the pain stopped. Athena's voice was sad.

“It doesn't have to be this way. All you have to do is help us, I can even promise to take care of your family.” Will snarled at her.

“Like you took care of K'tavu?” Will snapped. The planet K'tavu had defied the Protectorate and been devastated by a series of asteroid impacts. So many in fact that the entire planet had fractured into an asteroid field. Now Athena sighed.

“That was an extreme case. They wouldn't see reason.” Athena said sadly. “You know we take care of our own. We are a protectorate after all. All you have to do is join us, and we will take care of your family.” Will would have shaken his head, but it didn't move. His snarl was definite though. Athena sighed again. “Resistance is futile, boy. We are going to use you, one way or another. I will be back in an hour. Think about it, Will...” Then her presence was gone and he slumped back in his bonds. He tried to control his despair, but now that he knew what was going on, it was hard.

It had been almost a thousand years before he had been born. The Islanian Protectorate had been a small empire of sorts near Republic space in the Unknown regions. Their small size and relative isolation had been major factors in preventing their assimilation into either the Sith Empire or the Republic. Another major factor had been their fleet. He kicked himself for forgetting about them. Their ships had all been small, fast, highly maneuverable and almost invisible to sensors. The Sith had tried several times to conquer the Protectorate, and been repulsed each time. Then they had encountered the Republic. They had attacked the Republic ship that had been exploring the area. Unfortunately for them, the ship had carried a contingent of Jedi knights. He wasn’t sure what had happened, but whatever it was had devastated the small Islanian navy. Then the Republic forces had left, not knowing that their actions had left the Islanians wide open to attack. Something had happened and when the Sith had returned all the Islanians had been dead, wiped out by something. Or so he had been taught. If Athena was one... He felt something and tensed, but a soft voice came to him. Inside his head.

Will? He froze. Why would Michelle be talking to him? And how? He didn't respond and her voice was sorrowful. I'm sorry Will. She won't kill you. But she will hurt you. I will help as I can. I was afraid of this. This is my fault.

No it's not. He replied. She had been so kind to him, a scared, hurting, lonely boy. It's just as much mine. Are you okay?

No. Her voice was worried. They have me sequestered. But I can still contact you this way. For now anyway. I shouldn't have brought you here. I should have... Will snorted.

What else could you have done? He asked. Michelle's voice was even lower when she spoke again.

I have to tell you something... I bonded to you. That is how I can talk to you now. A feeling of pain came from her and Will tensed. Michelle spoke fast. Don't worry about me. Focus on yourself. Remember Jainine. Focus on how you felt about her and how you feel about Sharra. I think... I think that will help... Ugh... The voice broke off. He listened with all his might, but nothing further came. Per her instructions, he focused on his memories of the two women he loved. As she had promised, it helped.

Will tensed as he felt Athena's presence again. “Well, brat?”

“Insert it in your cargo hold, shutta.” He replied easily. Athena sighed.

“Okay, the hard way it is.” He felt something come down over his nose and mouth. “When you wake up, you will think differently.” He tried to keep from breathing, but eventually, he had to take a breath and whatever was flowing through the mask immediately made him dizzy. “Don't worry. It won't hurt.”

He was cursing her as he fell unconscious.

<Outside of time and space>

He was crying. He knew, he didn't think, he knew what they were doing to him. Implanting him like Nia had been, if in a slightly different fashion. Islanians had never gone for implants per say. Most of their control devices had remained outside of their slaves. What they did implant was wires into certain parts of the brain. Some to generate pain, others to generate pleasure, some for other things. Not as invasive as what was done to Nia, but no less controlling. Suddenly, he started as warm arms enveloped him.

“It's okay Will. No one can hear you cry now.” He looked up into eyes he had been sure he would never see again.

“Jainine...?” He asked, stunned. The shade of Nia's mother smiled at him as she held him.

“It's okay Will.” She repeated. But he shook his head.

“They will use me.” Will said slowly. “To kill everything. I... Can you stop me?” He felt her stiffen. “Tell me you can stop me...”

“I can't Will.” She shook her head. “I'm sorry. This isn’t real. It’s a dream of sorts.” He slumped.

“Jainine...” Will asked, hope fleeing. “What do I do then? They will use me...” Jainine smiled at him.

“Then don't let them.” Jainine said soberly. “You have an ally. Use her. She wants to help.” Will stared at her. Then he shook his head.

“I don't want to know how you know that.” Will sighed. “Do I?” Jainine smiled.

“No, you don't. Just remember, Will. We do love you. We always have, and we always will. Remember Will...”

<Back in the real world>

He came back to himself sputtering curses. Athena's voice was rock hard now.

“Be silent.” And he couldn't speak. “Stand.” He did, aware that all the bonds had been removed. “Open your eyes.” he did and she was standing in front of him, an Islanian Matriarch, ancient but still strong.

“Well met, slave.” He wanted to weep, to rage, to fight. But he couldn't.
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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 08:56 AM | #8
<Nearby>

Michelle wanted to weep. But it wasn't possible. She wasn't organic, anymore anyway. As well, all of her core systems were under the control of the being who stood beside her. She didn't look at the cloaked being. She didn't need to. She knew what the trackers looked like. She screamed again as pain analogues shot through her system. She couldn't actually feel pain, but the Islanians had spend millennia working to improve their control over their slaves. Sow hat she felt was close enough as to be indistinguishable from her memories of organic pain. She barely remembered her life as a human. She had been young, she remembered that. The records she had seen showed that the Islanian fleet had captured a ship full of slaves destined a Hutt's factories, of which she had been one. So she had memories of pain. But this was worse. The feelings arced through her avatar at lightspeed, allowing her no time to recover between pulses. Eventually they were coming with such speed that she was unable to distinguish the walls of her prison, and then, it happened...

It all stopped. Everything. She blinked, and then froze. She didn't have eyelids. Did she? She looked down at herself, and instead of the cybernetic form that was all she had to show the world, her body was made of flesh. She blinked again. She held hand up to her face, she could feel the breath on it. When she pinched the flesh between her fingers, it hurt.

“What... the...?” She froze as a voice came to her. She looked up to see a female human she didn't know smiling at her. But this human was composed of blue energy? She didn't know why, but suddenly she was crying. She started as warmth surrounded her. As she looked through tear filled eyes, she found the blue form had embraced her. As always, her analytical mind had trouble with the unknown. “If you are composed completely of energy, how can you touch me here?”

The woman laughed. It was sad and proud. “Ah, child. The Force is in all of us.” At the word Force, Michelle froze. Jedi and Sith had been of the worst enemies that the Islanians had ever faced. The woman hugged her again. “You have nothing to fear from me, Michelle.”

The fact that this strange woman knew her name sent alarm bells ringing in Michelle's brain, but... “I am not... I am not organic anymore. How can I feel an energy field that is supposed to permeate living things if I am not any more?” The woman laughed again.

“Always the scholar. Oh girl, I am sorry for what you have endured.” Michelle felt something odd. They were not alone! She spun to see another form coalesce nearby, but instead of one of her people...

“YOU!” Michelle shouted as she threw herself at the small form that stood in front of her. The female Twilek didn't move and Michelle bowled into her, punching and kicking. “Traitor! You hurt him!” Then she was held off the ground by something she couldn't see. She flailed around, trying to reach the Twilek girl who lay at her feet, unmoving. It took a few moments for Michelle to realize that the Force user was talking to her and another few for her to calm down enough to hear.

“It's not her fault. She couldn't leave the planet. You know this.” Michelle snarled at the woman, but all of her focus was on the Twilek who was just out of reach.

“You took him away from me! You lied to me! You hurt him! I swear if I get loose I will kill you, Mission!” A sigh came from the force user.

“She won't hear you. Or me while you are here. Go.” The Twilek nodded and vanished. Michelle was dumped unceremoniously onto her rump and then she was crying again. This time, the Force user let her cry. After a few moment, the Force user spoke again.

“Don't talk to me about hurting him. My name is Jainine.” At that name, Michelle froze. Jainine had been the girl that Will had been in love with on the hidden colony of Kuria. He hadn't known at the time that the colony had been a Sith one. Sort of anyway. She was shocked out of her tears, and stared at the woman who might have been a rival once. Jainine made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a groan.

“We have a very large problem at the moment.” Michelle nodded. Will in the hands of Athena was not a small problem by anyone's reckoning. Will compelled to serve the Islanian... That was worse.

“Can you stop him, us?” Michelle's quiet question brought the Force user up short. Then Jainine shook her head and her voice held sorrow.

“I can touch you through the link you have with him. But I can't affect him. Talk to him, while his body is asleep, yes. Change him? Or alter his body...? No. the defenses they have around him are too strong.” Michelle was trying hard not to start crying again.

“Then how can I help him?” She almost begged. Jainine sat down beside where the avatar lay and nodded.

“Why do you want to help him?” Jainine asked softly. Michelle blinked at that. She hadn't expected the question.

“Um... What?” Michelle stammered.

“This is very important, Michelle. Why do you want to help him?” Michelle shook her head slowly. Jainine spoke carefully. “Islanian slaves cannot disobey their masters. So... I ask again. Why do you want to help him?” Michelle thought about it for a long moment. When she spoke it was quiet.

“Because I love him.” Michelle admitted and it was as if dam burst. “I loved him the moment I found him. I loved him when he was healed and learned to fly from me. I loved him when he wanted to become… like me…” She gulped. Jainine enfolded the girl in her arms and gave her a hug.

“Then you know what you have to do.” Jainine said sadly. “I can't help you. I want to, but I can't. I can't affect the material world any more. All I can do is advise.” Michelle nodded slowly.

“Then what advice can you give me?” The bereft ship asked sadly. Jainine slumped and then stood up, pulling the girl to her feet.

“This will not be easy. It will not be painless. It may not even work. But... what are your choices?” Michelle shook her head.

“Help him. Watch him die slowly, fighting their control. Or help them subvert him, which I won't do. I have to help him. I have to.” There was iron in her words. Jainine spoke.

“Then this is what you have to do...”

<Back in the torture chamber>

Michelle suddenly stopped screaming. The pain continued, but she showed no sign of it. It stopped with no warning at all and a voice came to her.

“Well, child?” Athena's voice was kind. When Michelle spoke, it was robotic, lifeless.

“At your command, Matriarch.” The bonds that had held her released and she was standing before her commander. Will stood, stiff. If she noticed the wires that ran from his skull to the boxes on his back, or even cared, it was unapparent. Athena smiled evilly.

“We shall see...”
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06.29.2012 , 08:57 AM | #9
<Two days later>

The Sith battle fleet had no inkling at all what was about to happen to it. One moment, all was calm, serene even as they paced through the Endor system on their patrol path. Odd things had been happening in the area recently so the Imperial High Command had increased patrols. Little did they know that what they had actually done was simply increase the numbers of nerfs to the slaughter. The first sign of trouble was when half of the escorting fighters blew up, almost simultaneously. Then their day got worse. No less than six Islanian ships tore into them. And these were not fighting as six separate ships, no, these fought in concert. A unified, deadly squadron of almost invisible ships. And at their head, an angel of death named Michelle.

“...watch that frigate at point nine. Their shields will be up in ten seconds.” Will's voice was unemotional as he concentrated on the overall battle.

“Roger.” Michelle's voice was cool and just as unemotional as she fired her primary weapons and the frigate in question took serious damage. The Islanian ships used plasma weapons for their main punch. This alleviated the need for ammunition, as well as giving their tiny craft one heck of a long range strike ability. The guns were nowhere near the size of the main gun of the Stormhawk, but then again, they didn't really need to be. The frigate in question shuddered in space and then exploded.

“Fighters, point three.” Michelle spun herself into an evasive course that somehow managed to get her secondaries pointed the right direction. The entire wing of twenty five fighters that had just launched from the flagship turned to chase her, her proximity to the larger vessels overcoming her stealth. But she wasn't alone...

Space lit up as fire from two other STORM Phantoms joined with Michelle and wiped that wing of ships from the sky. The analytical part of Will's mind noted that he didn't feel nauseated. Such intense maneuvers should have made him lose consciousness or at least feel his stomach roiling, but... nothing. He felt wrong, he knew this was wrong, but he couldn't stop himself. Plans and strategies flowed across his mind, he picked them, changed them, discarded some and implemented others in milliseconds. Any commander would have been awed by the sheer amount of multitasking that he was doing so effortlessly. And anyone able to feel his sense in the force would have heard his screaming in the recesses of his mind.

The Sith had no chance at all. In less than ten minutes the main battle was over. Less than five minutes after that, the last stragglers were gone. A last spray of plasma wiped the flagship clean of life and all six ships vanished into the deep black. Gone, but not unobserved.

<Aboard a small, well hidden scout ship>

“Holy osik...” Vorren sat at his command console and shivered. An entire fleet wiped away in less than twenty minutes. He hadn't really believed. Oh he had seen the reports, but to actually SEE it first hand... This was beyond terrifying. His ship drifted, completely powered down in the midst of a pile of rock. As far as any sensors would be able to detect, it was just another lump of metallic rock. He prayed so anyway. He turned to the being sitting beside him and spoke quietly. “Anything?”

The black clad form nodded. “I can feel his pain, his rage....” He broke off. “They have jumped, but... From what I can feel, its a waypoint, not their destination.” Vorren sighed. That would have been too easy. As it was, the fleet he had available was mighty indeed, but... After what he had just seen, he wondered if ANY fleet could do the job. As if sensing his disquiet, the cloaked form nodded.

“I don't think we can match these... these... things... ship to ship, no matter our numbers.” Vorren looked at him and then nodded himself. He shook himself slightly.

“That certainly explains Ravishaw's interest.” Vorren said slowly. “If he had managed to implant Will with something undetectable to Islanian science, then HE would be in control of this.” Vorren winced a bit as one of the hulks of the fleet exploded. He was observing on passive sensors. Anything else would give away his position and he had no idea at all if any of the Islanian ships were still around. It would make sense for them to leave a ship to observe just as he and his companion were.

“Dangerous to play with, but... Very powerful.” Vorren looked at his companion and the man's bandaged eyes turned to him. Idjit of the Bladeborn shrugged. “I can't 'see' Will now. Whatever they did to him is blocking me again. Drat...” Vorren nodded.

“We will wait here for a few hours, then slowly ease our way clear of here. But at least now we know what we are up against. What do you think...?” He broke off as Idjit shook his head. “Yeah, me either...”

<Somewhere>

Will screamed again as the current flowed through his body. Athena's voice was calm and sad.

“It doesn't have to be this way Will. Come on, boy. You know you want to let go. You know that it will happen. Eventually. All you do is prolong your pain now. All you have to do is accept it.” Will would have shaken his head, except the restraints didn't allow it. He snarled at her.

“Flarg you, shutta.” His voice was weak though and Athena sighed.

“Michelle. Again.” Will couldn't even close his eyes as the avatar of the ship he was bonded to poured power through their bond. The pain was indescribable. After an eternity, it stopped. Then the pain came from elsewhere as Athena started tweaking the implants that had been inserted into his body. But it wasn't just pain. The wires extended into other portions of the brain besides the pain centers. He struggled against the feelings that were coursing through him. He knew it was drugs as well as implants, but he couldn't fight it. When the feelings finally stopped, he lay, panting from exertion, actually grateful for the bonds that held him against the table. If not for them, he likely would have curled into a ball and sobbed. A gentle touch stroked his forehead. “I can give you freedom, boy. All you have to do is reach out and take it.”

“Freedom to be your puppet for eternity? No thanks.” The gentle touch turned into a slap.

“You are quite aggravating, boy.” Athena snapped. “But you won't aggravate me into killing you. No. I have something better in mind. Sleep.” He fought it, but as always, whatever they used was too strong.

Michelle watched impassive as the autodocs worked on her partner. He was quite stubborn. She didn't react as Athena turned to her.

“Time to try and alternate form of persuasion. We are going on a trip, you and I. And the family.” Michelle didn't react, and Athena smiled. She stroked the avatar's head. “So biddable. Set your course for Nova Ordo.” Michelle nodded. “We can remove all of his inhibitions in one swift stroke. Then we will be free to do as we wish. And we wish... vengeance...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
06.29.2012 , 09:02 AM | #10
<Some time later>

This time when Will awoke, he was lying on his small bunk. Michelle didn't have a lot of space inside her. But this was a fairly comfortable bed. And he wasn't strapped in. There was a harness over him, but that was normal for when the ship was underway. And he didn't really need to move. The ship was designed so that he could do everything from anywhere aboard it. He took care of bodily functions and then he spoke.

“Michelle.” His voice was unemotional. And Michelle's was just as cool when she responded.

“Yes, commander?” He pulled a ration bar out of a compartment, looked at it and then shook his head. He wasn't hungry. “You should eat commander.” Michelle might have been discussing the weather on Coruscant for all the emotion she was showing.

“I am not hungry.” His tone was just as cool. A tingle ran through his implants and he suddenly was. But his voice was still cool. “I am not hungry.” He repeated, still cool. Now Michelle showed the first sign of emotion, worry.

“You should not resist. It is futile. You only cause yourself pain.” Will didn't touch the bar again. Instead he spoke slowly.

“Who are we killing today?” His voice was still unemotional. Michelle brought up a starchart and Will froze.

“I don't know.” Michelle said. “We are meeting the entire force at a system called...” She broke off as Will spoke sad, and lost.

“Nova Ordo...” He slumped. When Michelle spoke, it was quiet, but not cool.

“What's there, Will?” He bowed his head.

“My family.” A horrified sound came from Michelle as she realized what that meant. Athena wanted to remove the blocks that Will had to her control. His family, the love for them was one of the major blocks. The old Islanian was fully capable of ordering a planet destroyed, she had done it before. Now when Michelle spoke it was directly into Will's mind.

I won't let her. Will shook his head.

Kill me. Please. Now. If I am dead... She won't have any reason to... But Michelle made a small sound.

I can't. It's hardwired into me. I can't hurt you, not without her orders.

Will was crying now. His control slowly slipping. Michelle spoke softly in his mind. Her voice was gentle, kind even.

It is all right Will. It will be all right. Rest, eat. Regain your control. We are two hours out. You will need your strength. Will stared at the command console.

What are you going to do? He asked. There was no answer. He shook himself and started munching on the bar.

<Nova Ordo system>

Michelle screamed into normal space and immediately resumed her stealth. Around her she felt rather than sensed the arrival of the others. Five, ten, twelve total. The entire force of Islanian ships had come at Athena's call. Will stood in the main cabin and saw the world he called home laid out before him. He wept. Athena's presence shimmered into being in front of him.

“Welcome home boy. Look close at it. Enjoy the sight.” Will focused on her face. “Watch it burn.”

“It won't work witch. I won't serve you.” At that, Athena actually laughed.

“Yes you will.” Something changed and he felt odd. Then he realized, the drug injector had dosed him with something. He was weaving on his feet.

“No...” A chair unfolded from the floor and he found himself strapped in it. A mask covered his nose and mouth. Athena sighed.

“It is so much easier when you don't resist. But we don't need you for this. There is nothing here to stop us.”

Nothing here... Nothing here... The words rang in Will's brain as the drugs he had been given worked their way through his system. His body relaxed as the muscles were loosened. His eyes moved from the avatar of his hated controller to the console. But his mind was slow, sluggish. He watched on the screen as the other ships in the formation moved towards the planet. He wanted to fall asleep. But he couldn't. Athena smirked at him.

“Oh no, you will remain awake for this. See the fate of those who...” She froze as the screen lit up. “What the...?”

<Nearby>

“It's time.” Came a quiet female voice out of the darkness and lights started appearing around the area.

“OYA!” Came the jubilant cry from hundreds of throats simultaneously. The bridge crew of the Nova Ordo Battleship Mand'lore powered up their systems in record time. Her escorts also started powering up. And the Islanians, realizing they had been ambushed, turned to engage the Mandalorians. But other ships were already arcing out of the asteroid field that had hidden their minuscule emissions from the enemy. Jedi starfighters. And at their lead, one non Jedi in a Chela.

Stormhawk Nine watched with something akin to awe as her wingmates maintained a precise close order formation with her. She hadn't known exactly what to expect. She had seen Kirin fly of course. But that woman was something else. This... this was uncanny. Then, the formation broke up as fire came in from the enemy and she smiled as not a single ally took damage. That wouldn't last, but they would make these scum hurt.

<Aboard the STORM phantom Michelle>

“It's a trap!” Athena snarled as she turned to Will, who was... smiling?

“Gotcha shutta.” He felt something and smiled wider as he recognized the feelings from the ship's sensors. Interdiction field. No one would be escaping to hyperspace. Athena stared at him and then laughed coldly again.

“Handy that they all gathered in one place. No matter. We can take them.” Will would have tensed if his body had allowed it. “Michelle, activate the override. Merge us.” Will waited for his free will to fade as it did when Michelle had done something to him before. But it didn't. Athena turned to the console. “Michelle, activate the override. Give us our battle commander.” But when Michelle spoke, it was cold, hard and triumphant.

“No.” Michelle said with a snarl. Athena froze.

“What did you say?” The old Avatar asked, dumbfounded. Michelle's avatar appeared in the cabin, standing beside Will's chair.

“I said no. You don't own me anymore you barvette!” With that, something happened and Athena screamed and vanished. Will blinked as his mind cleared. Michelle shook her head. “I don't know how long I can hold her out, but it was worth it. Will, get to the bed and lie down...” He stumbled to the bed, dazed by what he had just experienced. She had... disobeyed? How could she have? He lay back and froze as the autodoc slid out of the wall. It spoke in Basic! And in another voice he recognized!

“This is going to be fast and dirty.” He knew that voice, it had been on Kuria. The doctor there who had wiped his memory! He would have risen, except a band snapped into place restraining his head.

“Wait a sec..." He snapped. "Why is she here? How is she here?” He demanded. Michele's voice was worried now.

“Later Will, can you...? I need...” She groaned. “I need... Help…?” She begged, pain coloring her voice. Will tensed, but, his options were limited. He opened his mind to her for the first time willingly since he had arrived aboard her. Then...

<Out of time and space>

Will shimmered into being to a scene of horror. Michelle's avatar was surrounded by ten others, all grabbing her, clawing at her, pulling at her. She was surrounded by a shimmering field of light, but it was visibly dimming. Then it failed. Michelle screamed as they piled onto her. To one side, the avatar of the Islanian stood impassive. Will shook his head.

“Oh no you don't.” In an instant, weapons appeared in his hands, representative of his thoughts and desires, now that he was free of the controls. As well, he was covered in Republic Special Forces armor. Athena saw him first and would have spoken. But the bark of his weapons silenced her. His first bursts tore into the pile of bodies that surrounded Michelle. Every shot did damage. And not just on this plane.

<The space battle>

Stormhawk Nine winced as another ally blew up, but then, the ship she was chasing shuddered. It seemed to pause, and then, it exploded!

“Did you do that, Nine?” Came the question from her wing, and she could only shake her head. Others were exploding now. They had the evil scum now. They had them!

<Back in the mindscape>

Will continued firing and now Michelle was back on her feet. She screamed an obscenity as she charged Athena, but then the younger avatar was hurled back to land in a crumbled heap at Will's feet. All of the other avatars were down now, but Athena was smiling.

“Well, done. But now you face me. Do you think you can?” He watched, impassive as the avatar grew huge. Then he smiled, and his grin was just as evil.

“I don't have to.” Will smiled, a death’s head smile and his laugh was a cold echo of hers. “All I have to do is keep you busy for a few more seconds.” She stared at him and then her focus shifted, and he opened fire.

<The space battle>

“Only two left. This is odd...” The sensor tech shook her head at the readings. “They seem to be fighting each other.” Trava looked at the woman who stood beside her. Kona Lislaw, formerly the Jedi Master Jina Darkstorm, shook her head.

“We can't take the chance. Take them down.” Trava slumped and nodded. A wave and the full firepower of the fleet of remaining Mandalorian ships, they had lost a few, saturated the area.

<The mindscape>

Athena screamed as Will's fire hit her. He screamed as her tentacles slammed into his avatar and lifted it high. His weapons fell way and pain came. After a few moments of bashing the soldier, Athena froze. A peculiar expression crossed her face, and then Will was falling. He braced for an impact, but it never came. He opened his eyes, and found himself in Michelle's grasp. He stared around. Nothing. No bodies, no sign of the struggle that had taken place.

“Michelle...?” He managed to get out. She laid him on the ground gently. Then she knelt beside him. “Michelle?” He gasped.

“It's all right Will. I think... I think this is for the best.” He stared at her. “I am not human anymore Will. I remember being human, but... I am not.” He shook his head, somehow, he knew what she planned. “Give Sharra a kiss for me Will. Good luck, battle brother...” With that, he was falling into blackness.
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