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(L,F&E 67) Choice - a true double edged sword

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 67) Choice - a true double edged sword

kalenath's Avatar

07.08.2012 , 04:31 AM | #1
<An uncharted system in the Outer Rim>

It was very quiet in the room. In set up, it was almost exactly the same as any other medical lab in existence. The high tech gear all around, the monitors showing esoteric equations and diagrams, the various pieces of scanning apparatus that hummed in readiness… All of these were fairly normal. The large black chitined insect that lay quietly on the examination table however, was one clue that this was not a normal lab. Another was the various pieces of machinery that resonated with energy that would only be detectable by someone who used the Force.

The man in black robes bent over the scanners with an intent discipline that any Jedi could have envied. Every so often he would make a quiet murmur as he jotted a note down in a data pad that he had close by for just such things. He didn’t notice when the door to the room hissed open and a young human female wearing a medical tunic came in. The tray in her hands carried a covered platter and mug that steamed.

“Samuel…? Dinner.” Her voice was a mix of exasperation and worry.

"Ah... Yeah..." The man at the scanner waved absently, not looking away from his work. “Put it down, I will get to it…”

"Samuel..." Jen Ojul shook her head. There were three other trays on the table she had been placing them on. None of them had been touched. “If you don’t eat, your body will run out of fuel. Even the Force can’t keep you going forever without food.”

"I..." Samuel didn’t look up. “Jen, I have this… I have this sequence almost mapped… the third allele is dominant. If I can get that to scan, I can unlock half a hundred more…” He waved his free hand as he fiddled with the controls. “Just put it down, I will get to it…”

"Samuel..." Jen’s voice was completely exasperated now. She shook her head and her long hair flowed in auburn waves. It was odd, most of her life; she had kept her hair cut an inch or so long, for ease of care and less chance of getting caught in things. But now… She had let her hair grow out since she had been inducted into the ranks as an initiate Bladeborn of this sect. Not that she trained with swords or anything. It was mainly honorary, and to keep her out certain people’s hands. She eyed the now healed burn on her forearm and grimaced. He might not listen to HER, but there were people he would listen to. Jen looked at the insect. “Grun’Das? A little help?”

"As you wish, Jen." The large black bug sighed and nodded. “Samuel, enough.”

"No." Samuel shook his head. “I am so close, all I have to do is unlock this section and… hey!” He protested as the bug extended his legs and rose from the table. “Grun’Das… I…”

"Samuel." The insect strode to where Samuel was standing and took the man’s upper arm in a claw that only looked gentle. “You will eat and then you will sleep. The data you seek is not going anywhere.”

Samuel was protesting, but when a six foot tall insect that is three or four times stronger than you even without the Force, which Grun’Das had, decided to move a person, that person was going to move. Jen watched with some amusement as Samuel was forcibly led from the lab equipment and sat down at a table. She moved the tray to in front of Samuel and waited. The man glared at her, but his heart obviously wasn’t in it. She looked pointedly at the plate and then at the man. Grun’Das did likewise. Jen couldn’t sense the insect’s feelings, but was fairly sure that the bug was amused. She took the lid off the platter and a sandwich and a bowl of soup were exposed.

"You..." Samuel snarled. “You two are worse than pair of mother Banthas.” But he did pick up the utensils. He stared at his hand. It was shaking. “What the…?”

"Well." Jen sighed. “Your body has more sense than you do. Samuel you haven’t eaten in fifty six hours. You need the fuel. You can go without sleep, using the Force but you do need food and water.”

Samuel stared at her, then at Grun’Das. “Fifty… Six… Hours…?” His voice was dazed.

"Yes." Grun’Das nodded. “Fifty six hours, forty three minutes, twenty six seconds.”

"Oh." Samuel slumped and rubbed his temples. “No wonder I have a headache. Why didn’t you say something, Grun’Das?”

"I did." Grun’Das snorted. “I did. And you growled at me to remain still. On three different occasions.”

Samuel blinked. “I…” He sighed and then he froze as his stomach growled loudly.

"Samuel." Jen sighed and sat down beside him. She picked up the spoon and, dipping it in the soup, filled it and help it out to him. “Open wide…”

"Jen." Samuel stared at her. “I can feed myself…”

"I know." Jen smiled mirthlessly. “I know you can. But I have my own orders. I was told to make sure you ate this time.” She shivered slightly. Samuel looked at her, sighed and then opened his mouth as directed. She put the spoon in his mouth and he cleaned it off. “Good boy…” Jen said in a motherly voice.

"Jen?" Samuel looked at her closely and his eyes went hard. “He has been at you again, hasn’t he?” Jen stiffened, but then filled the spoon again, silently. Samuel took another bite and spoke softly. “He ordered you not to tell me, didn’t he? No… No, you can’t answer can you…? Son of a barve!” He did as instructed, letting her feed him. Only when the soup was done did he speak again. “Jen… How do you feel at the moment?”

"I..." Jen thought about that, but nothing in the instructions she had been given said anything about health questions. “Weak, sick, scared, I…” She broke off as Samuel laid a finger over her lips.

"Jen." His voice was gentle as he touched her on the side of the head. “He put a compulsion in your mind. I can see that. I can break it.” Jen shook her head savagely but didn’t speak. “What… wait…? Oh no… Oh Jen… He did it to you again, didn’t he?” She was crying now, and Samuel, ignoring his body’s complaint, took her in his arms. “I am sorry Jen, I shouldn’t have been so wrapped up in my work. You sleep here tonight.”

"No..." Jen shook her head. “I… I have to go back… he will kill her…”

"What?" Samuel stared at her. “Who Jen?” Jen opened her mouth but then shivered. Samuel sighed. “Her told you not to talk about that either, didn’t he?” He shook his head. “Enough is enough… Grun’Das?”

"Come." The insect made a growling noise. He liked Jen. And while she still had…episodes…, she was coping remarkably well, considering what she had gone through. When crazy people didn’t hurt her that was. “We must tell the Master.”

"Right." Samuel nodded slowly. “Jen, come with me.” Jen was shaking her head, but Samuel rose, his hands were steady and sure now as he took her hands in gentle grips. “Jen it will be okay.”

"I..." Jen was shaking like leaf as the two odd friends led her from the room. “He will kill her…”

Samuel’s smile was as cold as space itself, and for a moment, there was a distinct similarity between the man in black robes and his son. “No he won’t.”

<A few minutes later>

“That’s a girl…” The black cloaked figure ran a slow finger over the bound woman’s head. “Give me your fear… Give me your anger… That’s a girl…” The man’s voice was a low purr as something passed between the two of them, something intangible, but powerful. “Give me your pain…” Power flared from his finger and the woman shrieked in agony and fought her bonds. He smiled as he drank in the power that flowed from her and then sat back, his hands wandering over the unclothed body. “So perfect… Come… Come share…” Three black cloaked forms moved closer to the throne and the table where the woman was lying.

"Geez..." Everything stopped at a cold voice. “Even for you Ravishaw, this is a new low.”

"Ah..." Ravishaw smiled widely as he turned to see the man framed in the doorway. “Samuel, come to join us at last? Come to partake?”

Samuel shook his head and without another word, waved his hand and threw Ravishaw across the room. All three of the apprentices froze. Ravishaw landed nimbly, and smiled widely. “Ah, so that is the way it is going to be. Good.” He laughed and all warmth seemed to flee the man’s insane chuckling. A sword appeared in his hands and he was in motion. Samuel was as well, a red blade igniting in his own hands.

It was quickly obvious that Samuel was outclassed as a fighter. Ravishaw toyed with the man for a few strokes, then seemed to bore of it and started fighting in earnest. Every attack forced Samuel back a pace or two. “Come on Samuel, make this hard… Give in to your rage. I can feel it, scrabbling behind the walls you make. Let it out… Let it out, my brother, you will feel so much better…”

"No." Samuel shook his head as he fought. “I will never become you. I will not fall prey to my own hungers as you did. I will not kill you, ‘brother’ no matter how much I want to. No matter how much you disgust me. Because I know.”

"Oh?" Ravishaw bound Samuel’s lightsaber for a moment and smirked. “And what do you know?”

"Ah Ravishaw..." Samuel met the insane Bladeborn’s eyes with something odd in his. Compassion. “I know on some level, he still loves you.”

Ravisaw went… well, not nuts, because he already was. More. He screamed, a wordless cry of rage and hate. But his attacks suddenly became faster and stronger than before and it was all Samuel could do to keep the ancient Sith sword from slicing deep into his vitals. Finally, Samuel missed a block and Ravishaw batted the lightsaber aside and went for the kill, only to find himself suspended in midair as Samuel grabbed him with the Force. No matter how the insane Sith fought, clawed or threw Force energy, Samuel held him off the ground. While Ravishaw had been playing with Samuel, Samuel had been playing with him. He couldn’t match Ravishaw blade to blade and it didn’t matter in the slightest. Samuel clenched his hand slightly and Ravishaw…smiled as the Force pressed in on him.

“You are going to have to do better than that, ‘brother’.” Ravishaw snapped with a grin.

"Okay. I will." Samuel just clenched harder. And then… Everything stopped at a new quiet voice.

“Samuel… Enough…” Samuel turned to see the cowled form of his master enter the room, followed by Grun’Das and the quivering form of Jen. The being who called himself Bob sighed as he took in the scene. “Release her.”

The quiet words were a command and the three apprentices in the room jumped to obey. The woman screamed as hands touched her again, but then stiffened in shock as Jen came into her line of sight and soothed the hurt woman as best she could. They had the same face.

"Of all the..." Bob’s voice was quiet. “Ravishaw… What did I tell you about cloning Jen?” Ravishaw stared at his master and his mouth worked, but no sound came out. Bob’s voice was sad now. “Give him to me, Samuel.” Samuel nodded and released the bonds that held Ravishaw. Other bonds, darker, almost visible ones, circled around the insane being now. Bob’s voice was still that quiet tone of command. “Samuel, get her to medical and tended. Then get some rest, you have been pushing yourself to hard. Apprentices…attend. One of our number has transgressed against us. Against the Order…”

Samuel swallowed and then moved to assist Jen. The Master’s punishments were not for the faint of heart. He wept the shivering form into his arms and left the room. Jen and Grun’Das followed. Behind, grunts started, grunts that would soon turn to screams…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.08.2012 , 05:50 AM | #2
Samuel slumped back from the bed and sighed. The wounded woman, girl really, was sleeping at last. Her injuries had been tended. She was very confused, but Samuel had been patient and kind as he had cleaned and bandaged her wounds. Then he had given her enough painkillers to make a Ronto happy. Physically, she was not very badly, mainly abrasions from the straps that had held her to Ravishaw’s table of horrors. Mentally? Emotionally? She was a mess. Ravishaw had been very careful not to do anything physical, not leave marks. After the last time the insane man had done something like this, the master had made his displeasure felt. But Ravishaw just wouldn’t stop. Samuel wondered sometimes if Ravishaw could stop. Was he addicted to pain and suffering? It sure seemed like it at times. He shook his head and stood up a bit shaky. He really did need to rest, but so much had happened so fast. He had come closer today than ever before to using the Dark side. Which had probably been one of the reasons Ravishaw had done this. Samuel was a rival and Sith defeated their rivals any way they could.

He stroked the woman’s short hair and she sighed in her sleep. Barring her injuries, she looked exactly like Jen. Which was not surprising. The cloning tech that his master had perfected was incredible to say the least. It was unlike any Republic tech Samuel had ever seen. But like all cloning tech, it had its limits. Samuel figured that someday someone would figure out how to get around the enforced sterility that flash grown clones all had. It was something about the acceleration of the natural order upsetting delicate balances. Bob had explained the problem at one point, but even as skilled and educated as Samuel was, his master’s explanation had gone right over his head. Samuel smiled as he set the monitors and walked carefully out of the room.

As he had expected, Jen hadn’t moved from the chair she had been sitting in. As soon as they had gotten to Medical, she had tried to stay within reach of the other woman. He had barred her from the room, her presence disturbed the other woman. Of course it disturbed Jen too, greatly. So he had sent her to tend the other patients, which she had, and then she had sat down outside the private room her double was in and hadn’t moved. He nodded to her as she looked up and flashed a small smile.

"Jen." Samuel sat down beside his fellow medic. “She will be okay.”

Jen looked away. “Will she?” Her voice held something odd.

"Jen, be at ease..." Samuel sighed. “She is hurt, scared and alone. Like you. Will it be easy? No. But she will recover, given time and care.”

"I... No..." Jen slumped. “That wasn’t what I meant. The master’s decree is clear. No clones.”

“Jen…" Samuel said soberly. "She is alive. She is hurting. We are not going to just kill her. No matter what Ravishaw intended.” He patted her shoulder. “Hey… it will be okay.”

"Will it?" Jen’s sense in the Force was a dam waiting to break. “Will it really?”

"Oh..." Samuel sighed. “He made you watch, didn’t he?” Jen nodded silent. “Come here, girl…” He pulled Jen into a gentle embrace and then suddenly the girl was sitting on his lap and crying into his shoulder. “There, there… It’s okay, Jen. It will be okay.” The girl shuddered as her fear, rage and pain poured out of her in waves of tears.

Samuel just held the girl, soothing her as she cried. She was so brave, so strong, it was hard to remember how hurt she really was as well because she never showed it. Samuel looked up as the door to the medical area hissed open and his master walked in.

"Be at ease, both of you." Bob looked at them and then sighed. “Jen?”

"I..." The woman stiffened, and then extricated herself from Samuel’s embrace before turning to face the man who was now her master as well. Her face was a mask of tears, but her eyes were dry as she met his gaze. “Yes, master?”

"Jen?" Bob sighed. “This is going to be very hard, Jen. Harder than anything you have faced yet. Ravishaw told me everything he did. The clone has no imprint.” Jen went white and Samuel stiffened. Imprints were what made clones people. Without a personality imprint, the copy was a blank slate.

“Master…” Samuel’s voice was low, concerned.

"We are not going to euthanize her, Samuel." Bob grimaced. “She is a living, breathing being. With no memory of being anything other than a toy for Ravisahw. It is not her fault. Sith would just kill her as a distraction, we are not Sith. We will find a use for her.”

"Um... Then maybe..." Jen thought about that for a moment. “Can you remove or block her memory and… send her back in my place?” It was obvious to anyone with eyes, let alone the Force that the question hurt the girl.

"No." Bob shook his head. “I am sorry Jen. What Ravishaw did is distinctive. Any competent medical professional looking at her would know immediately that she is a clone. Samuel…” now Bob’s voice held command. “He will be here in three hours. Your people will tend him, not you Jen.” He amended as Jen gave a squeak.

"Is that a command, master?" Samuel snarled, a sound more akin to an enraged Nexu than a man. “I won’t tend that scum otherwise.”

"Then yes..." Bob sighed. “Yes, Samuel. It’s a command.”

"Very, well, my master." Samuel snarled again. “Will there be anything else?” He bowed from the neck, since Jen was still in his lap.

“Yes.” Bob nodded, he obviously hadn’t expected any other reaction. “You are going to bed, as of right now.”

"But..." Samuel looked from Bob to Jen. “Master… if Ravishaw comes here… Jen can’t…” He broke off as Jen made a noise somewhere between a squeak and a sigh.

"I won't do that to her." Bob nodded. “She is off duty as well. Ric and Grun’Das will tend your patients, and I understand Ashla Ti wishes to aid as well?”

"Yes." Samuel nodded. “Yes, she feels indebted to us. Kindness does pay out, it just takes longer.”

"Yes it does." Bob nodded, his face smiling. “I know. Come on Samuel.”

Samuel rise slowly, and Jen stood with him. They both staggered a bit but steadied each other. Samuel walked slowly to his quarters. When Jen would have moved off, Boss smiled and waved for her to accompany them. “Come on, Jen. You can check on your new sister later. She is sleeping and will for some time. Let’s get Samuel to bed.”

"I..." Samuel sighed, but his heart wasn’t in it. Suddenly his legs felt leaden and his head was pounding. “Yes… Sleep… Would be good…”

It did not take long for the strange cavalcade to get to Samuel’s quarters.jen stiffened as she saw the bed with restraints on it, but Samuel just sat down on it, pulled off his boots and lay down. The restraints clocked closed. Bob nodded to the droid at the head of the bed and spoke to Samuel. “Rest well, brother.”

Jen watched in shock as the droid extended a manipulator arm with a hypo on it, but then she stiffened as Bob touched her on the arm. “Jen, come with me, please.”

"Of course." Jen followed Bob out of the room, trying to ignore the thoughts that flew through her head. But then she stiffened as she realized what room Bob was leading her to. “No…”

"Jen." Bob’s hand was on her shoulder now, gentle, but at the same time, impossible to escape. “Ravishaw did have one good point. As long as you lack the Force, he will see you as easy prey. With the Force, you will be able to defend yourself. I will have you start training as soon as you wake.”

Jen was shaking her head in horror, but her body obeyed the hand on her shoulder as it led her into the room. Jainine Korr slept in the grip of the machinery that held her to the bed that would be her home for the rest of her life. Bob’s voice was gentle. “Be brave Jen.” Jen was shaking with fear as Bob led her to another bed set up specifically for such things. She was screaming inside as he gently undressed her, put her in a patient gown and helped her onto the bed. She was trying to fight, trying to yell, trying to do anything, as he latched the restraints around her body and then sighed. “Sleep, Jen, you won’t remember this in the morning. And in the morning, you start classes.”

He touched her on the skull and her eyes rolled back into her skull. Bob sighed sadly and immobilized the girl’s neck deftly. It was the work of a moment to insert the needles into the main veins of the neck and the dark fluid started pumping. Bob nodded as he watched. It was and wasn’t blood. It lacked certain proteins and things, coincidentally the properties that caused allergic reactions. This was just fluid, laced with the Force and a number of drugs to lower a body’s resistance to strange new fluids entering it. Bob smoothed the girl’s hair and turned to go, but stopped as he saw Jainine’s eyes on him.

“Good evening Jainine.” His voice was kind as he checked the readouts on her side of the machine. Everything was working.

"Master." Jainine’s voice was slurred, both from the drugs she was on and sleep. “This is a mistake, master. Samuel is going to flip.”

"I know." Bob sighed. “But it will help protect her from Ravishaw. She won’t be powerful, even with the blood of a seer running though her veins. I am hoping to help her become a better healer.”

"Bad." Jainine probably would have shaken her head if it wasn’t strapped down. “Unpredictable. She… Oh…” She slumped as the drugs took hold of her again. “Innocent…”

"It's okay." Bob nodded. “I know, Jainine, but I have no choice. You of all people know that.” He shook his head sadly and left the room.

Jainine closed her eyed, to all appearances, she was asleep. Then she spoke softly. “Can you help her?”

A soft voice came from nowhere. “I don’t know.”A shimmer in the air, only visible to those with the Force appeared beside Jen’s bed. The female Togruta wore Jedi robes and a sad expression. "I don't know." Ashla Ti repeated. “But I will do my best.”

Jainine’s voice held gratitude now. “I know I am not who I was. I know they have wiped my mind. I know I am never going to leave this bed. I can’t do much. So I have to help as I can.” She sighed. “We seers have to stick together…” She exhaled and was quickly asleep.

"Yeah." Ashla Ti smiled. “Yeah, that we do. But I don’t need to be a seer to know that Samuel is going to seriously ticked off.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.08.2012 , 06:04 AM | #3
Samuel knew instantly on waking that something was wrong. The feelings he had through the Force spoke of tension all around him. As always, the restraints had retracted while he slept, and whatever drug the master used on him had made his sleep dreamless. So that wasn’t the problem. He got up slowly from the bed and flinched as he saw a covered tray beside the bed. Someone had made him breakfast? No one ever brought him breakfast in this room not even… He stiffened.

His voice was horrified as he realized exactly what he was feeling. Jen. “No…”

Ignoring the fact that his robes were filthy, that he was not wearing boots, he ran from the room. A seated form just outside the door rose as he exited. Ashla Ti looked… worried. “Samuel…”

Samuel skidded to a stop. “Where is she, Ashla Ti?” His voice was flat and the female Togruta recoiled.

"It's okay." Ashla Ti shook her head. “She is alive and well, Samuel.”

Samuel did not snarl at her. But it was a struggle not to. It wasn’t her fault, he knew that. Just as he knew why she had been sitting here. She was injured, the casts on her arm and head tail would be coming off this week, but she was still on the sick list. The internal injuries and surgery to correct them had taken a heavy toll on the alien being, but she was usually bright and cheerful anyway. But not now and Samuel knew why.

"Ashla Ti." Samuel’s voice, impossibly, got flatter. “Where. Is. She?” He didn't bother to ask who. From her sense in the Force, Ashla TI knew who he spoke of and was scared out of her mind. Jen and Ashla Ti got along very well together.

“Samuel.” Ashla Ti slumped, but then met his eyes. “She spent the night in the room with Jainine.”

“What?” Samuel felt his face go slack, and his sense in the force had to be as if someone had smashed him to the floor with a huge hammer. “She… He... What?” His tone was somewhere between sheer incredulity and outright fear.

"Samuel." Ashla Ti stared at him, now scared. “The master… He put her in the machine… I… I don’t know why…” She broke off as something changed. She stared at the healer who had helped her, who had inducted her into the order, a human she respected greatly, and liked as well. But now, suddenly she felt as if she were a very small fish facing a Firaxa shark.

"Ashla Ti." Samuel’s voice was dead of emotion now. “Move.”

"I..." Before she could think, she had stepped out of his way. She shook her head as she placed herself back in his path. “Samuel, I…”

“He ordered you to stop me, to speak with me, to ‘explain’." Samuel said softly. "Fine, you have. Now move.” Samuel didn’t change posture, he didn’t draw his lightsaber, he didn’t do anything, but suddenly the temperature in the hallway seemed to plummet.

"Samuel." Ashla Ti was nearly in tears. “Samuel… The master ordered me to keep you away from there.”

"I see." Samuel shook his head and, quick as the tongue of a dune lizard, his hand flew out and touched the Togruta on the side of the head. Her eyes rolled back up into her skull and she collapsed, boneless. He caught her in gentle hands and laid her down on the floor, careful not to jar the healing injuries. When Samuel spoke, it was soft. “It is not your fault sister, I am not angry with you. Rest.”

As soon as he had made the Togruta as comfortable as he could, he rose and his face went hard as he strode through the medical bay.

As he walked, a black shadow came close. “Samuel?” Grun’Das’ voice was worried, very worried. Samuel's sense in the Force was always dark and dangerous, but now... Now it was a black pit.

"Stay away from me, Grun’Das." Samuel shook his head. “I doubt he told you either, you like Jen.”

"Jen?" The huge insect stared at the man he called friend. His sense in the Force and his voice both held confusion. “Knew what about her?” Samuel opened the door to the room and part of him died on seeing the girl he had worked so hard to help lying in a bed, tubes pumping fluid into her. Grun’Das stopped beside him and the insect’s voice was horrified now. “No…”

Samuel shook his head as he stepped into the room. He saw the readouts, the transfer was almost done. His hand went to his mouth as he saw the change in the gentle woman he had met and liked. The roiling currents of the Force that now flowed around her. He walked slowly, stiffly to the bed and his face was sad as he brushed a lock of her hair from her face and gave her a quick examination. She had obviously fought the restraints in her sleep, her skin was abraded in places. Even the padding couldn’t help with that completely. Samuel touched the worst of the raw spots and concentrated. The skin under his hand knit back together. He did it in another sore spot, and then another. He did it until sweat was pouring off his face. Touch healing was not easy for him, being a mainly Dark Force user, but he could do it. Finally, he stepped back.

“Can…?” Samuel bowed his head. “Can you stay with her? When she wakes, at the very least she will be very confused. Until… Until it hits her fully.” Having the full power of a Jedi seer hit one unaware was a bad thing. It would have been a very bad thing even without what else Samuel knew about Jen.

“Oh Jen. Samuel... ” Grun’Das didn’t leave his spot in the door. “Of course I will, the girl is a friend. But, Samuel… Whatever is lurking in your heart now… I can barely see glimpses… Don’t do it…”

"It will be okay." Samuel shook his head slowly. “All of my data is accessible, Grun’das. The hard part is done. Now it will just be tedious, and little technical. All of the alleles need to be mapped, once that is done, the machinery is set to go. Jen can do it, when she wakes. If she is sane, which I doubt she will be. I left instructions for others to follow, in just such a case.”

“Samuel…” Grun’Das sighed as he blocked the door. “Do you think I care about that? Do you think we do? Samuel… You are a friend. You were an ally, an acquaintance, a useful companion. Now you are more. You have done more for my people since we met than anyone else in our history. Fifteen thousand years worth. Samuel… Don’t…”

"Grun'Das..." Samuel shook his head. “Get out of my way.”

"No..." The insect stepped aside, his posture sorrowful. “Samuel… I… Please… Don’t…”

“Don’t follow me.” Samuel’s voice was flat as he stepped from the room. The insect shivered a bit as he watched the human he called friend stride away into the gloom of the base. Grun’Das walked in and sat beside Jen’s bed and for the first time in his long existence, he wished he could weep.

There were black robed beings around, some of whom called greetings or questions to Samuel as he walked. He ignored them. He ignored the startled comments and speculation that wafted along in his wake as well. There were two guards at the door to the Master’s chambers, he ignored them too. And when they barred his way, he snarled at them.

“Move.” Their sense in the Force felt … scared. They knew what he was, what he could do. But they did not move, their fear of the master overriding their fear of him. Both lowered their saber staves into ready position and Samuel sighed. “I have no quarrel with ‘you’. Move.”

Neither did and Samuel shook his head slowly. With no warning whatsoever, the Force erupted from him in a vast dark wave. It slammed both of the guards into the walls on either side of the door. One slumped unconscious, but the other rose to her feet and readied her staff. Samuel shook his head and the Force hit the guard again. This time, the woman went down hard and stayed down. He walked to the door, and with a touch of the Force, unlocked it and strode in quietly.

Inside the room was a typical Sith layout, a throne on a dais, lots of gloom, a few shadows moving here and there. All of which stopped wherever they were when Samuel entered. He was a sight. His robes had been slept in, he wasn’t wearing boots, his hair was a mess, but that wasn’t what froze everything. No it was the look on his face. The usually cheerful and upbeat healer had no expression at all on his face as he strode to the foot of the dais. He spoke to the shadowed form that sat in the throne. “We need to talk.”

More than one of the beings in the room quailed at the sheer malice and power that flowed off of Samuel now. The strange being who called himself Bob sighed. “Samuel…” His voice held warning.

"Master." Samuel met his master’s gaze unflinchingly. “I am not going to ask anything stupid like ‘Why?’ or ‘What were you thinking?’. What I am going to ask is ‘What now’?”

"Samuel?" Bob stared at him. “Come again?”

“Jen.” Samuel spoke evenly, but rage and pain underlay his voice. “Shall we kill her or try to help her? You will have driven her mad. If that was your intention, well done.”

"What?" Bob stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t!” Samuel snarled, a blatant breach of protocol to do that to his master, but right at the moment, he didn’t care. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know she was Force sensitive!” Everything in the room suddenly stopped.

"What?" Bob froze in place, a reprimand stalled on his lips. When he did speak, it was hushed. “No… She couldn’t use the Force. She had no power at all. That is why I did that. I gave it to her, to help protect her.”

“She did.” Samuel bit out words. “She had the Force. What Ravishaw did to her, every time he took her, burned her out. She couldn’t use the Force because he wouldn’t allow her to. She had no power because he took it all, and then some. If she had been seconds later in getting to me the first time, if I had been seconds later in realizing what had happened, she would have died. Was that your plan? To let me kill another innocent? To push me further down the dark path?”

"What?" Bob shook his head slowly. “No Samuel. I was angry with Ravishaw for breaking cover, I never… Oh no…” Bob’s face was a study now, fear and shock and anger, but not at Samuel. “Can you stop it?”

"I..." Samuel bowed his head. “I don’t know.” He said sadly.

"I see." Bob rose from his throne and strode to where Samuel was standing. “Go, help her. For what it is worth, I apologize; I should have known you had a reason. Ravishaw knew, I bet.” Now his sense in the Force was angry, as angry as Samuel’s.

"He knew." Samuel said with dreadful finality.

"Probably." Bob sighed. “Go Samuel, your breaches in protocol are forgiven. They were to save a life of a sister, to save her soul. Help her. I will aid you as I can.”

"I... I have a request." Bob looked at him and nodded. Samuel slumped. “I may not have the knowledge of the Force to help her. I ask your permission to use one of the crystals.”

Bob thought about that. “The Jedi seer?” Samuel nodded. Bob made a gesture and a small brown crystal flew from a shelf along the wall into his hand. He held it out to Samuel. “Do it.” Samuel took it gingerly and without another word, left the room. Behind him, Bob spoke softly, but with dreadful force.

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07.08.2012 , 06:19 AM | #4
Samuel watched as Grun’Das worked. It always amazed him how such a huge being could have such delicate and gentle hands, er claws. They had managed to stop the flow of fluid before it was done but enough had gotten into the girl that even now, she was delirious and fighting as best she could. Which wasn’t very good. Jen was a lot of things; a fighter was not one of them.

Once they had removed her from the machine, they had transferred her gently to the ICU portion of the medical ward. Samuel hadn’t wanted to restrain the girl again, but she was a danger to herself and other like this. And this time, the restraints were minimal and as comfortable as he could make them. She was fighting them though and he had finally stepped back, afraid of hurting her further. Grun’Das actually had a gentler touch than he did, so the insect had volunteered to tend her. Any time Samuel came close, the girl became agitated. Something was wrong, but Samuel couldn’t put his finger on it.

"There, I have done what I can." Finally Grun’Das stepped back with a sigh. “She will wake soon, Samuel.” The insect’s voice held worry. “What makes you think this ‘Jedi’ can help?”

The word Jedi came out heated and Samuel sighed. Grun’Das was not rational about Jedi, but who could blame him? His race was telepathic and a Jedi had, long ago, experimented on them to make them living weapons. They remembered it as if it had happened yesterday. Samuel had only caught glimpses of the pain Grun’Das’ people had suffered, but he understood. Oh, did he ever understand. Which was one reason Grun’Das trusted him. Neither had a use for anyone who experimented on others without permission. Grun’Das remembered it vividly, and Samuel had actually had it happen to him.

"She knows more about the Light Side than I do." Samuel shook his head. “None of us have any idea how to handle this. And most of our people were Sith. You know how they react to weak or sick people. Let alone how Cina would react...” Grun’Das winced and Samuel continued. “I can guarantee you she will not get out. But…” He broke off as the woman on the bed whimpered in her sleep, and then continued. Now his voice was sad. “Grun’Das, this is way beyond me. I have no idea at all how to help Jen. And it hurts. All I ever wanted to do was be a healer. I dislike hurting people. To heal this woman, I will need to consult with you and with others. Tell me true, my friend. Can you do this?”

"I don't know." Grun’Das stared at Samuel for a long moment, all six compound eyes intent on the healer. Then he turned to look at Jen, whose sweat soaked face was scrunched up in a grimace, even in her sleep. Grun’Das shook his head slowly, but his sense in the Force was resignation, not negation. “I do not like this. The Jedi should be left to rot. But if she can help… I don’t know if I can do this Samuel. My people’s rage burns deep. They made us this way.”

“I know." Samuel said sadly and he patted the huge insect's upper left arm. "We will take it one step at a time. And…” He held out the crystal that contained the Jedi seer’s spirit. “Can I trust you with this?”

"I..." Grun’Das looked at the crystal. “No.” The insect’s voice was flat. “You give it to me and I will destroy it, I… We….” Grun’Das stepped away from Samuel. “If you are going to do it, do it.”

"Okay." Samuel nodded slowly. “Ashla Ti, show yourself.”

For a long moment, nothing happened, but then a swirl in the air and a form appeared. A Togruta in Jedi robes, her skin was red with white stripes and her body was composed of energy that looked silver.

"Yes?" The captive Jedi master spoke evenly. “You rang?”

"Master Ashla Ti." Samuel spoke with a calm he didn’t really feel. “You know what has happened.”

"Yes." The seer nodded, her gaze full on Samuel. “I do.”

"Okay." Samuel looked as if he wanted to spit, but his voice was still calm. “Will you help us to help her?”

"I..." The spirit of the Jedi seer looked from Samuel to the bug and then to the girl in the bed. Her expression softened, just a bit, but when she spoke her voice was worried. “I don’t know if I can. I have heard of this… this travesty, that your master performs. But to actually see it…” Her form stepped closer to the bed, but stopped as the large insect stepped between her and the bed.

“You did not answer him.” Grun’Das’ voice was flat, as if he was struggling for control. Which he probably was.

"Yes." Ashla Ti looked at the bug and then back at Samuel. She nodded. "I will help as I can. That is what Jedi are supposed to do. Help others.” She looked back at Grun’Das. “I know what happened to your people.” She looked sick. “All I can say is I am sorry…”

"You..." Grun’Das seemed to gain about three feet in height. “You are ‘sorry’?” His voice held scorn and derision in equal measure. “Your Order destroyed my entire people and you are ‘sorry’?”

Samuel winced. “Grun’Das…” His voice was quiet as he waved toward the bed. Jen was agitated from the bugs’ anger now. Even in her sleep, she could feel the bug’s frustration and anger. Especially with no defenses up now.

“Understand this, Jedi, step out of line, make one wrong move and you will hurt." Grun’Das nodded slowly and stepped out of the way. "We know how to hurt you in that form. We are watching you.” The huge insect stepped back again, out of the way, but close enough to aid or intervene.

"I understand." Ashla Ti nodded. “I do understand, better than you would believe.” She turned back to the bed and her face was sad as she stepped up to it. Samuel had always been amazed at how lifelike the spirits could seem. The female spirit did not actually walk, she floated, but her legs moved in the proper manner and her feet seemed to be touching the floor. Now the spirit’s face was wrenched with pity and sadness as she looked at Jen. “Poor kid…”

"Yeah." Samuel nodded. “We stopped it as soon as we could. But I don’t know if we stopped it in time. She is…” He broke off as Ashla Ti sat beside the bed.

"I see..." Ashla Ti nodded, her eyes on Jen's writhing form. “Her body is at war with her mind. I may be able to help with that, but what then? Will you strip her of her power again?”

"You know better." Samuel snarled at the woman. “I didn’t do it to begin with. No, I won’t hurt her again.”

"Oh?" Ashla Ti looked up and despite his rage, despite, his discipline, he recoiled from the look in her eyes. “Will you give her to Ravishaw?”

Another voice spoke. “No he won’t.” All eyes turned to see the being who called himself Bob enter the room. The man was scowling. “Ravishaw will not be a problem again for some time. Once he wakes, he will take several weeks to heal.”

"Well.." Ashla Ti winced but then nodded. Her ghostly hand traced Jen’s forehead, and the girl relaxed, just a little. “I believe I know what to do. And I doubt any of your people can do it; can summon the light side energy required.”

"I thought as much." Bob nodded. “You wish to teach her.” Both Samuel and Grun’Das stiffened at that.

"No." Ashla Ti did not take her eyes off the master. “I do not wish to teach her.” She said quietly. “She is yours, body and soul. Anything I teach her will give you and your sect more power. Power that will cause far more problems in the long run, for lots of people. You included.”

Bob smiled, a slightly malicious smile. “Always a seer. I could compel you.”

"I know." Ashla Ti nodded. ‘You could, but then you would be right back where you are currently. Your compulsions taint the beings you compel, and for this… For this you need an untainted lightsider.”

"Yes." Bob nodded soberly. “Yes, I feared as much. What do you need then, Jedi?”

"Well." Ashla Ti shook her head slowly, but in thought. “The problem is that she is suddenly awash in the Force. She has no training on how to control it. When she wakes, those bonds will not hold her. Can you get it out, what you put in?”

"Master?" Samuel pursed his lips and looked at his master who shook his head.

"No." Bob’s voice was quiet. “We can and will filter it. But it will take time, time she doesn’t have.”

"Yes." Ashla Ti sighed. “She will wake within the hour. She will be confused, angry and very, very unpredictable. I will not serve you.” This was to Bob. “But I will help her. And if that aids you, then so be it. She needs my help, so I will give it.” Bob nodded. “But…”

“But what, Jedi?” Samuel's voice was cold. His own feelings towards Jedi were remarkably similar to Grun’Das’. For much the same reasons.

"I can help, but..." Ashla Ti sighed. “I can’t do everything that needs to be done as an intangible spirit. I need my body back.”

Samuel felt his face go slack; he looked at Grun’Das whose sense in the Force was just as stunned. They both looked at Bob who sighed.

“You will under scrutiny at all times." The master of the group said coldly. "Step out of line once and you go right back in, clear?”

Ashla Ti nodded. “Clear.”

"No..." Samuel was shaking his head. “She has as much right to exist as you do…”

"You created her, Samuel." The Jedi sighed sadly. “Of course you feel responsible.”

"You..." Samuel probably would have shouted, except he glanced at where Jen lay tossing and controlled himself. “You stop analyzing me. You have no idea ‘Jedi’…”

"I know." Ashla Ti sighed sadly. “Those responsible for what happened to you and your family are facing justice. Some of them have been killed, some of them right now are begging for death.” She shuddered a bit. “Others have to explain to various agencies, including the Order, what they thought they were doing.”

"That doesn’t change anything." Samuel shook his head, furious. “She has a right to live. Yes she was created artificially, but she exists damn it!”

"I know." Bob shook his head. “What would she say, Samuel?”

"No..." Samuel shook his head. “I…”

"Samuel..." Bob said gently. “Ask her.”
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07.08.2012 , 06:25 AM | #5
To say the Togruta with casts on her arm and lekku was stunned would have been a massive understatement. “I…” Ashla Ti’s voice was quiet. “I always knew there was something wrong. I am… I am… I don’t understand.” Her voice was a bit groggy, he had come into her quarters and woken her up with this… She sat back in her bed, trying to get her mind around what Samuel had just told her.

Samuel sighed. He had knocked her unconscious earlier in the day and he had insisted she go to bed after she had woken from that. “I used the crystal to remove the mind that had been in your body. I sequestered it in the crystal and a new personality grew in its place. I don’t pretend to understand how it works, but it does work.”

"You..." Ashla Ti stiffened. “You enslaved me? Um, the other me?”

"Yes and no." Samuel slumped. “I intended simply to imprison her. I had no intention of hurting her or using her in any way. We needed you.”

"What?" The female Togruta looked crestfallen. “You mean… the way you have been treating me… It was because you needed me?”

Samuel blinked. “No.” His voice was sad now. “What I did to her, to you… It was horrific. I have done horrible things in my life, Ashla Ti. I never wanted to. I never…” He looked away.

"Oh..." Ashla Ti touched him on the arm with her good one. “You were ordered to, weren’t you Samuel?” He nodded. “Why?” She asked carefully.

"I don’t know." Samuel shook his head as he met her gaze again. “I was ordered to imprison Jedi Master Ashla Ti and… And kill everyone else on the ship. Most of them were injured, and several of them were padawans. A couple of them were just kids… I did as ordered.”

Ashla Ti stiffened. This man, this healer, was incredibly empathic. To make him do something like that… Her face and voice were both sad. “Oh Samuel…” She reached out and gave him a small hug.

"Thanks." Samuel shook his head, but returned the hug gently. “Ashla Ti, Jen is… She is a mess. The master had no idea she was Force sensitive when he put her in the machine. I wasn’t there…” His voice held self recrimination now.

"No." Ashla Ti sighed. “Samuel, it wasn’t your fault. If fault lies anywhere it lies with Ravishaw. What do you need me to do?”

"Ashla Ti…" Samuel shook his head slowly. “If we put her back in that body, you are gone… I… I can’t do that…”

"It's okay." Ashla Ti smiled sadly. “Samuel, I have known, from the moment I woke with you kneeling over me that my life was going to be short. Probably painful and unpleasant. The pain I have experienced has been tended thanks to you. You have been kind and gentle to me, even when you were exasperated with me. Jen is my friend. How can I not help her any way I can?”

"I don’t want to lose you… " Samuel felt his eyes burn. “I have lost way too many people I cared about over the years. I…” He broke off as Ashla Ti put a finger across his lips.

"It's okay." The Togruta’s voice was kind. “Samuel, no matter what you think, you are a good man. But this choice is going to haunt you no matter what. And you are giving me the choice. I choose to help Jen.” Samuel stared at her. “What do I do?” She asked quietly.

"I..." Samuel felt wetness on his face now. “I can’t Ashla Ti… I can’t do this to you…”

"Brother..." The being in the bed sighed. “Samuel, we do not have time to argue, do we?” He shook his head. “Then do it.” She took his hands in gentle grips and gave a squeeze. “Brother. Do what you must to aid our sister.”

"I..." Samuel’s mouth worked but no sound came out. He slumped and then nodded. “Lie back and close your eyes. I wish I could keep it from hurting, I wish I could transfer you into the crystal, but it is a one use device. I…” The Togruta smiled at him before lying back and as ordered, closing her eyes. He pulled a small, unremarkable crystal from a pocket and looked at it for a long moment. Then he touched it to the side of the recumbent female’s head. Her eyes flew open and she screamed. Samuel was crying as he held the crystal to the side of the Togruta’s head, and then, the screams cut off cleanly as if cut by a sword. Samuel looked at the crystal in his hand and threw it across the room where it hit the wall and shattered. He sat back, his face a mask now. “Master Ashla Ti?”

"Yes." The voice that came from the Togruta was older, wiser and sadder now. “That hurt you, Samuel. I am sorry.”

"This had better be worth it." Samuel’s voice was cold. “If you have lied to me, or if you hurt Jen or any of my other kin, you will pray for death and it will be a long time coming.”

The restored Jedi Master nodded as she sat up. She grimaced a bit. “Ow. You did not pull you punches when you took me, did you?” Samuel just looked at her and she sighed. “Look, I understand your feelings about me, and about the Order. But we are not enemies Samuel Kalenath.”

"You may think that. I do not." Samuel rose from his chair and indicated a bundle of clothes on a table nearby. “She will likely react badly to seeing any of us in black, so I am going to change into something else. The robes you were captured in are there. They have been cleaned.” He strode to the door, but paused as the Togruta spoke again.

"Samuel..." Jedi Master Seer Ashla Ti’s voice was strong now. “For what it is worth Samuel, you did the right thing.”

Samuel didn’t turn back. “Flarg you.” He snapped. Then he was gone.

"Jedi?" A dark form entered the room as Ashla Ti was struggling into her robes. Bob’s voice was quiet. “Do you need assistance?”

Ashla Ti shook her head. “I have it.” She looked at him, her face impassive. “Do you have any idea what you are doing? What you are playing with?”

"Yes." Bob said simply. “I do.”

"I see." Ashla Ti shook her head. “Then may the Force be with us all.” She got her over robe on and sighed. “Lead on, monster.” Bob nodded and turned to lead the Jedi to where she needed to go.
My stories in order:
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07.08.2012 , 09:06 AM | #6
To say the walk through the base complex was nerve wracking would have been a massive understatement. Eyes followed the odd pair as they strode from the initiate’s wing, where Ashla Ti had been housed, to medical. And none of the gazes were even remotely friendly. But the Togruta took no notice of them, all of her gaze was on the dark form that strode in front of her. Samuel was waiting for them at the entrance to medical, his black robes replaced by white ones. Ashla Ti nodded. Less chance of agitating the girl, she hoped anyway.

The group entered the room where Jen was lying, moaning in her delirium and the large black chitined form of Grun’Das was there. His voice was quiet, and menacing. “Step out of line, Jedi and you are my next meal.”

Bob jerked his head and the insect left the room followed by the black garbed form.

Samuel looked at the Jedi and she sighed. When she spoke her voice was quiet. “The restraints won’t work. They are just agitating her further. We need her as calm as we can make her.” Samuel nodded and started working to remove the padded straps that held the girl to the bed. Ashla Ti, for her part, sat by the girl’s head and waited. Samuel finished with the restraints and sat on the other side of the bed, his face a mask. The girl had calmed, just a bit, but her moans took on a new tone and Ashla Ti nodded. Jen was waking.

“Jen?” Her voice was quiet, kind and gentle.

"Ashla Ti?" The nurse’s voice was dazed, confused, scared even. “Ashla TI? Where are you? I can’t see you.”

"There is a good reason for that." Ashla Ti smiled sadly. “Open your eyes, girl.”

"Oh?" Jen seemed to think about that for a moment and then, grinning a little sheepishly, did as instructed. When her eyes opened, they were a bit unfocused, but they latched onto the form sitting by her bed. Her face turned confused. “You… You are not Ashla Ti… Are you?”

"Yes and no." The Jedi Master sighed. “My name is Ashla Ti, but I am not the one you knew. Jen, you are very sick. I want to help you. Will you let me?”

"You..." Jen was obviously confused. “What did you do to her?”

"Jen." Ashla Ti shook her head. “I can’t help her, I can help you. Will you let me?” The Togruta repeated quietly.

Jen snarled as she tried to sit up. “What did you do to my friend?” Her voice was angry now.

“I am sorry child." The Jedi said sadly. "She no longer exists.”

"What?" Jen stared at the Jedi for a long moment before her face flushed with rage. “You… You killed her? You…!” Her hand came up and the Force flew from it.

"I did not." Ashla Ti sat where she was. She could have dodged the clumsy attack, she could have retaliated. She did neither. The Force punch hit her and… vanished. Samuel looked at her and she shook her head. “Jen, be calm. We need to talk to you.”

"Let me go!" Jen slammed another punch of Force energy at the figure in Jedi robes that again, did nothing. “I have nothing to say to you. Murderer!”

“Jen…” Samuel’s voice was quiet, sad. Jen turned her head and stiffened as she saw him in white, his head hung low. “She didn’t kill the Ashla Ti we knew. I did.”

"You...?" Jen stared from one to the other. “You… You are with her? Samuel... I… I trusted you… I…” Something crackled in the Force and Ashla Ti was in motion before Jen’s hands could come up.

"Jen..." The Jedi took hold of Jen’s hands in gentle but unbreakable grips. “Child… no… You must calm yourself. It was not his fault. Your friend chose her fate. To help you. I would not have wished to end her existence. But you need my help.” Power crackled in blue white sparks from Jen’s fingers, but went nowhere. Whatever Ashla Ti was doing kept the girl from throwing the lightning. “You need to hear us out, child.”

The Force flowed from Ashla Ti. Samuel was not sure what she did. Was it Force absorb? Some Jedi had the ability to simply absorb Force energy that was thrown at them, he was pretty sure that was what the Jedi had done before, and it was a powerful ability. But it didn’t feel… quite… the same.

"I..." The girl gave a small squeak and sank back into the bed, her face a mask of shock and confusion. “What? What is happening to me? What have you done to me?”

"I have done nothing to you." Ashla Ti sighed as she released the girl’s hands. “Jen Ojul, you have had horrors done to you. But what you face now is not in your body, but in your mind. I can and will help you, if you let me.”

"Just do whatever you are going to do." Jen snapped and then seemed to wilt. “You will just do it anyway. It’s ‘For my own good’, right Samuel?” Her voice was butter now and Samuel bowed his head. He had said exactly that at times while healing her.

"No I won't." Ashla Ti shook her head. “I will not compel you. I will attempt to convince you, but I will not force you to accept my help. Bu this may be your only chance.”

"You would help me?" Jen looked at the Togruta, the girl’s eyes clear for the moment. “Why?”

Ashla Ti smiled a bit ruefully. “It’s what Jedi are supposed to do.” She sighed again. “Some in my Order have been of the mindset that the end does justify the means. But that is short sighted. The seers, myself included, can see the effects. And…” She broke of as Jen made a small noise of fear.

“What the…? No…” The girl’s eyes were wide, but she was not seeing Ashla Ti, she was seeing something else.

"Jen...?" Ashla Ti’s voice was calm, gentle ads she touched the girl on the side of the head gently. “What do you see?”

Jen’s eyes met Ashla Ti’s. “Gray…” Then her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed unconscious.

"I don't want to know, do I?" Samuel asked, his tone worried. Ashla Ti shook her head silently. Samuel stared from the woman in the bed to the Togruta as she sat back. “This is not going to be easy.” He commented.

"Well..." Ashla Ti sighed. “Easy is not for a Jedi.”
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07.08.2012 , 09:15 AM | #7
Ashla Ti watched as Samuel worked. She had to admit, the man’s skill was impressive, as was his ability with the Force. His hands were gentle and professional as he moved the slumbering girl slightly to allow the insertion of an IV. They didn’t want the girl dehydrating after all, and she would sleep for some time. Ashla Ti hoped that when Jen woke, she could get through to the girl. She would not do this without permission, not after all the other horrific things that had been done to Jen. Just the thought of what Ravishaw had done to the girl made Ashla Ti’s skin crawl.

Jen had possessed the Force, in limited power, but it had been there. Any Force user, when hurt, broadcast their pain through the Force whether intentionally or not. Ravishaw, using the Force, had hurt Jen so badly that even now, Ashla Ti was amazed the girl had survived. Admittedly, Ravishaw had been careful not to kill her; after all, she was a meal for him. He didn’t want to lose what to him was a delicacy. Ashla Ti simply could not understand the man. It was so far outside of her own experiences and morals to act in such a way using the Force that she simply could not fathom what he had done. But she understood the effects all too well. She had angered badly Samuel shortly after arriving in the hellhole and he had given her to Ravishaw for a time. Just the touch of the insane Sith on the crystal she had been trapped in had been agony enough. But then he had…consumed…that agony somehow and done worse. Even now she shivered a bit in memory.

Samuel looked up at her and then back at Jen. “She will sleep for at least three hours. Do you concur?” His voice was unemotional. He was still coming to grips with all that had happened so quickly.

"I do." The Togruta nodded slowly. “Samuel, we must talk.”

"Jedi." Samuel shook his head. “I have nothing to say to you.”

"Look." Ashla Ti’s shoulders slumped. “I understand your feelings. I understand them well, but this is not going to help her. If you cannot control yourself, you will hurt her, unintentionally, but hurt her nevertheless.”

Samuel looked at the Jedi and then at the slumbering woman. In sleep, Jen’s face was peaceful. He sighed and jerked his head towards the door. As he rose he brushed a lock of the girl’s auburn hair out of her face tenderly. Ashla Ti nodded as well and followed suit. As they approached the door, it opened and Bob stood there, his face impassive.

The master of this sect of Bladeborn spoke softly so as not to disturb the sleeper. “Well?”

"She sleeps." Ashla Ti spoke when Samuel did not. “I believe we can aid her, but it will take time. Samuel and I need to consult.”

"Okay." Bob looked from one to the other and nodded. “Grun’Das will remain with her. You have quarters set up beside Samuel’s in this bay now. Do not abuse my trust.” No threats or dire promises could have been more spine chilling that his quiet warning. The pair stood to the side as Grun’Das maneuvered his large bulk through the door and it hissed shut behind them. The man in black nodded to the one in white and the one in brown. Then he turned and left the medical bay.

"Samuel." Ashla Ti sighed as she turned to Samuel. “Lead on.” In silence Samuel led her to where a small briefing room was set aside for just such things. He sat and indicated a seat for her. She looked at the security cameras and sighed. But then she sat. “Your emotions will cause her pain, Samuel. You need to deal with them.”

“I am.” The healer’s voice was just as flat as it had been before.

"You know better than that." Ashla Ti shook her head. “No, you are not. You are suppressing them, hiding them. They are still there and powerful. I regret what happened to the being who was in this body, but she was not real, Samuel.”

"No?" Samuel met her gaze calmly, but his eyes were pits of rage. “She was real enough. She was gentle, kind and she had a sense of humor. And now she is gone, because you wanted her gone.”

"That is not true." Ashla Ti shook her head. "That is not the reason you are angry and you know it. Say it, Samuel.”

"Say what?" Samuel shook his head. “That figures in brown robes did things to me, my wife and my infant daughter for years? I am supposed to say that the Jedi are not all monsters? I know they are not. But that does not change the facts. Every time I deal with people in brown robes, they cause me pain and anger. Maybe you do not intend it, maybe you do, I don’t know. And truth be told, I don’t care.” This last came out bitter and Ashla Ti flinched.

"Samuel..." The Jedi Master sighed. “I can’t change what happened to your family. If I could, I would. But I can’t. What happened was horrible, the reason it happened was worse. But that is neither here nor there at the moment. Your lack of control will hurt Jen. That will make her recovery longer and more painful. So calm yourself.”

Samuel looked at the Jedi and then, slowly, bit by bit, relaxed. When he spoke, it was in a normal tone. “Very well, Jedi. What do you suggest as a treatment plan?”

"Better." Ashla Ti nodded slowly. “The mental blocks you put in are powerful, and kept her sane after everything that was done to her. But they will not hold against her efforts when she is this powerful. To see that…” The seer shivered.

Samuel stared at the Jedi. Was that terror in the Jedi’s expression before she stilled it? His voice was quiet now. “I don’t want to know, do I?” Ashla Ti shook her head. “What do we do?”

"For now?" Ashla Ti sighed. “Right now, she needs peace and quiet, care and compassion. She needs to understand what has happened and why. She will not accept it at first. It may take some time to get through to her.”

"That at least we can do." Samuel sighed in response. “Neither of us is going anywhere. With the reports of this plague, the master has locked us down.”

“Then we have to make sure we are on the same page. Our job now is to help this poor girl. You have your methods, I have mine. I will not stand for you manipulating her mind. Clear?” Ashla Ti’s voice was cold now. “As powerful as she is now, it won’t work and will make my job a lot harder.”

"Clear." Samuel nodded. “Now as to treatment. We can and will filter the fluid out of her blood but it will take some time and should be done while she sleeps due to the discomfort involved…”

Ashla Ti focused on the now, her visions were all dark and forbidding. But Jen needed her.

<Back Jen’s room>

The being known as Grun’Das sat beside the bed of the small fleshy being he knew as Jen and tried not to sigh. She was such a good person. He had forgotten. When the last human he had known who had affected him thus? Had any ever? He couldn’t remember. He had lived so long that the years blurred into one another. Only since he had met the being who called himself Bob had Singrundas managed to remain calm for any length of time. The rage still burned in his veins, but it was lesser now, and with the power he could…

The insect froze. What had he just felt? Something was odd, something was off. Samuel had been trying to undo what that ignorant Jedi had done to his people so long ago, and had achieved some minor success. The rest of his swarm was eagerly awaiting the results, and now, since he could share information with them mind to mind, they were up to date on what was going on. They were as appalled as he was at what had happened to the kind human nurse. Ordinarily, humans were meals, enemies, or targets. No necessarily in that order. But this girl was different. She was a nestling, a young one. Ordinarily, his people devoured the weak and sick to keep his race strong but… There it was again. What was that?

He looked around the room, but nothing presented itself. Jen was still unconscious. The readouts said she was sleeping easily, and she was not dreaming. Yet. He dreaded when she did, her nightmares were powerful enough without the Force to be palpable. With the Force, they would be dangerous to anyone and everyone around her. Then he heard it, clear as a bell in his head, a tone he had not heard since his queen had died on Tralus, her last thoughts echoed through his skull still, the awful fiery pain of incineration and the mercy of release finally from her torment. The gentle voice was female.

Greetings, Singrundas, known to humans as Grun’Das.

Grun’Das flinched. He didn’t know many females. All of the ones he knew were sterile workers in his swarm, which was not a large one by anyone’s standards. Only two hundred insects, and no way to procreate more. He focused his mind as he had not in so long, and ingrained courtesy came quickly. One did not insult a Sitolon queen, ever.

You have me at a disadvantage. May I know your name?

The soft voice laughed, a sound of tinkling bells and pure joy. The short version is Nuoloinhtihjusghymajistrona but the humans I know call me Majistrona. I am so pleased to meet you at long last.

This... Grun’Das stiffened. This is impossible… We are… We are separate… We are… Lost…

Majistrona’s voice was pure joy now. You are lost no longer my kin, come, bring your family to us, bring your people home…

I want to... I so want to... Grun”das slumped. I cannot. I… I am enslaved. We are…We are doomed, queen, stay away from me… I… Sorrow fell from the black bug in waves.

Majistrona’s voice was kind still. No you are not, young one. You must play your part as all of us must. But for now, know that you and yours are no longer alone.

No... Don't... Grun’Das’ mind voice was scared now. We will corrupt you. We will hurt you…

Majistrona’s voice was still kind. No you will not, nestling. Come…

Something drew him in and held him gently. He felt the rest of his people reacting the same way he did, with fear and sorrow. But the compassion he felt from the other was too strong, too pervasive, too encompassing. It felt…. Good.
After a timeless moment that might have been minutes or centuries, he came back to his body, feeling bereft. But that same gentle voice spoke in his mind.

We are with you Grun’Das, but now you have a role to play until we can meet in the flesh.

Grun’Das didn’t move, aware of the security cameras that whirred nearby. He hadn’t moved from his spot, to any observer, he had simply been watching the still form in the bed.

This will be difficult, but I will do as you command, my queen…
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07.08.2012 , 09:25 AM | #8
When Jen Ojul woke, for a long moment, she did not know where she was. Everything felt…different. She was lying on a bed, probably hers, but it was odd. She could feel things around her as if… Her thoughts broke off as a voice sounded from nearby.

“Jen?” Grun’Das had to be close by, his voice was very quiet. The voice of the scary looking black bug was cautious, but gentle.

Jen smiled slightly. She had been so scared of the huge insect, and rightly so, but he had never hurt her. Indeed, he had been kind and gentle. Which was odd, given his reputation among the other beings on the base for eating beings while they still lived. Some of the stories she had heard about his kind still gave her goose bumps. But he had never given her cause to fear, which was good, she had enough other reasons. She relaxed, just a little.

“Grun’Das?” She was amazed at how normal her voice sounded.

The bug’s voice was kind now. “I am here, Jen.” Something large and hard touched her hand and he clasped her hand around the claw. She relaxed, but then stiffened. She could feel his pain, his fear for her.

"Grun'das..." Jen shook her head slowly, conscious now of a moist something covering her face, probably a damp cloth to help her headache. A headache that was now starting to expand. “What is…? What is happening to me? Grun’Das…?”

"It's okay." The bug sighed. “Jen, be at ease, we are attempting to help you. The master did not know you were Force sensitive when he placed you…” He broke off as Jen made a squeaking sound.

Jen was shaking. “He put me… He put me in the machine… He was… Why…?” Her voice was plaintive now and she felt something hard but gentle squeeze her hand.

"I am sorry I wasn't here to help." Grun’Das sighed. “Jen… He didn’t know you had the Force. He is… incensed with Ravishaw at the moment… No… No… girl…” Grun’das’ voice was still quiet and kind, but hard objects held her to the bed as she tried to thrash away. “Please, Jen, you need to hear this…”

The girl was fighting hard though, her mind’s eye full of the look of lust on the insane Sith lord’s face as he reached for her. But then… something odd happened. She felt feathery touches on the sides of her head and the world fell away.

She came back to herself standing somewhere odd. She felt oddly disconnected. It was a small, comfortable room. A wood fire was burning in a hearth, giving the room just that amount of heat to make it comfortable without being too hot. Two comfortable looking chairs sat near the fire and a couch that looked incredibly inviting sat beside them. Jen shook her head, this made no sense. But then, she wasn’t alone. The huge black form of Grun’Das appeared beside her. And beside him…

Jen recoiled from the two forms that stood watching her. The Togruta in Jedi robes was impassive, Samuel was anything but. The white robed healer’s face was a mask of sadness. Jen stepped away from the odd looking trio, but stopped as her back hit a wall. “Leave me alone! Murderers…”

"Jen Ojul." The Jedi spoke quietly. “You must hear us out. Time is short, and your body will not last without aid.”

"Who cares?" Jen snarled at the female. “You going to murder me too? Just cut me with a lightsaber then, this… This… is wrong…!” She broke down and cried.

"Jen..." Samuel shook his head. “Jen, if there had been any other choice, I would have taken it. But you need help. Help none of us could give. None of us ordered her to do it. The master could have, and she likely would have obeyed, but he didn’t.” Jen stared at him, was he crying?

"Samuel..." Jen stared at him, dumbfounded. “What?”

"Your friend chose to help you, Jen Ojul." The Togruta that looked so much like her friend sank into a meditative posture. “ She was not compelled. And she is not gone.” At that, everything in the room, or whatever to was, stilled. Both Grun’das and Samuel stared at the Jedi. Ashla Ti’s eyes were on Jen and Jen for her part, couldn’t look away. “You won’t take my word for it, will you take hers?”

"She might. Then again she might not. She is awfully stubborn sometimes." Another form appeared nearby. This one an almost exact copy of Ashla Ti. But this one wore black robes. The smile on this one’s face was wide as she looked at Jen. “Hiya, fraidy cat.”

"This..." Jen stared from one Togruta to the other. Her mouth worked. Ashla Ti had called her that as a joke on occasion while trying to help the girl face her fears. “This is a trick, some kind of Jedi illusion…”

"Oh!" But then Grun’das- of all things- laughed delightedly. “The crystal… Samuel you broke it, didn’t you?”

"Uh..." Samuel stared at the bug, and his voice was stunned. “Yes, I did. Why?”

"It didn't kill her." Grun’Das had a smile in his voice when he spoke again. “If the transfer was not complete when you broke the crystal, the minds would rebound back where they came from, the crystals were designed that way as a safety measure.” Samuel and Jen shared a look of utter disbelief.

Jen finally managed to find her tongue. “You… You mean…?” The Ashla Ti in black stepped forward and embraced the human woman. “You… You didn’t kill her?”

"I thought I had..." Samuel stared from one to the other and then turned an icy glare on the Jedi. “You could have told me.”

"Told you what? That I was possessed?" The Ashla Ti in Jedi robes answered. “I didn’t understand at first, I thought it was my mind playing tricks. But then she introduced herself. I was… um… rather surprised.” The droll tone had most of the listeners smiling.

"I..." Jen was crying as she held her friend, but then she blinked. “Wait a minute… what is going on?”

"You should sit down, Jen." The Ashla Ti that held her gently moved her towards the couch. “We all need to talk, and we all have some hard choices to make.”

Jen did as instructed, and sat. “I… I don’t understand. How can I do this? I don’t have the Force, do I?”
Samuel sat in one of the other chairs, the Jedi Ashla Ti sat in the other, the black robed one sat beside Jen, still embracing her and Grun’Das sat on the floor. Samuel spoke softly.

“You did have the Force, you were not very powerful, more a feel for your patients need and concerns, right?” Jen nodded, still bemused and Samuel continued. “It made you a very good nurse. When you were hurt, your ability to use the Force was… well, for lack of a better word, burnt out. You were recovering, slowly. And then that moron did it to you again…” The rage in Samuel’s voice was palpable. Jen flinched, and even the warm arms –and how could arms be warm in an illusion?- gave her a squeeze. She relaxed into the embrace gratefully.

“Samuel…” The Ashla Ti in Jedi robes spoke softly, but with warning and Samuel relaxed.

"I am sorry Jen." Samuel sighed. “I am so sorry. If I hadn’t pushed it, if I hadn’t been so focused on helping Grun’Das… He wouldn’t have been able to take you.”

"No..." Jen shook her head slowly. “It’s hardly your fault. You were busy doing something you enjoy as opposed to things you detest. And he planned it well… No one realized what he was doing.” She shivered again, and this time even the warm arms couldn’t stop her shivering. The Jedi rose and walked towards the couch.

"Jen, I can help you, but not without your permission." Jedi Master Ashla Ti’s voice was quiet as she stopped just out of reach. “What has been done to you is curable. It will not be easy or quick, but I can help you.”

"Why?" Jen stared at the Togruta. “Why are you asking me? Why not just do it?”

Instead of the Jedi answering, the Togruta holding her did. “Too much has been done to you without your permission. Some with fair intentions, some with foul. You need help, Jen. Please, let us help you.” The kind voice was a balm to the nurse’s burnt and blasted soul and she slumped into the embrace.

"I..." Jen nodded, tiredly. “Do what you must.” She couldn’t keep from quivering though.

"Jen, it is okay to feel fear." The Jedi master nodded. “Especially after what you have gone through. This will not be easy. This will not be pleasant or quick. But I can help you. We can help you. We can help you to help yourself.”

"Okay." Jen’s eyelids were getting heavy now. “What do I do?”

"Relax." The Jedi master sat on the couch beside the other two and smiled. “I need you to breathe with me. Take a deep breath, hold it for account of eight, and then release half of over another count of eight. Then hold the rest for another count of eight, and then breathe out the rest over another eight count.” She demonstrated. “Now you…” Jen did as instructed, feeling her body, feeling her mind relax slowly as the meditation took hold of her and she…

"Sometimes I really, really hate my life." Samuel watched as Jen and both of the female Togruta vanished from the room. And then he turned to the bug and sighed. “I wish I could get back to helping you.”

"I understand, Samuel." Grun’Das nodded. “But this is important. Come on, let’s get back so we can both eat. As the Jedi said, this will be a long day. I still do not trust her.”

"Grun'das..." Samuel snorted as he rose. “You think I do?”

"No." Grun’Das laughed. “No, I don't.”
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07.08.2012 , 09:34 AM | #9
It was very quiet in the mess hall. Most of the students were busy in training, classes or chores, so Grun’Das and Samuel pretty much had the place to themselves. The serving droid, as always, beeped at them as they took their usual meals. Samuel was fairly sure that whatever the droid said to him every time was rude, but it was an excellent chef, so he figured to cut it some slack.

They had returned to their bodies to find Ashla Ti with her head bowed over Jen, the Torguta’s hand on eth sleeping girl’s forehead and power wafting around the pair. So after a few minutes of watching the Jedi sit and power flow, they had spoken to the master and he had told them to eat. With the mess hall so empty, finding seating was fairly easy. Samuel put his tray down and did not watch as Grun’Das opened the small cage that the droid had given him. The small furry animal within squeaked as the huge insect grabbed it. Samuel focused on his own meal, a hearty stew of meat and vegetables, and tried to ignore what he knew was coming.

Grun’Das was not malicious. He actually was not evil from many points of view, he did not act from selfish desires. He acted as his nature told him to. Admittedly, his nature had been messed with by that ignorant Jedi so long ago. Even now, Samuel’s mind boggled at the sheer scope of what the Jedi had done. Jolaban, a geneticist of the Jedi Order, had found Grun’Das’ people and not realized they were sentient. Perhaps they had been hiding? Perhaps he had known and not cared? Samuel didn’t know. What he did know was that in the course of the experiments that Jolaban had run, the insects that Samuel knew had been cut off forcibly from the rest of their people. That separation had driven their queen utterly mad. And that was the least of what the Jedi had done. Grun’Das was faster and stronger than a normal specimen of his species should have been, as well, he healed faster. He was smart, wise and utterly without moral direction. He had, in Samuel’s presence, eaten a young human alive while the boy screamed. And then, he had turned around and helped a girl that Samuel had found heal. Admittedly that had been because Samuel had been working on the girl to use her in a plan to trap Maria Kalenath, his wife. Grun’Das hadn’t had to be kind, gentle or compassionate to Sarai. He had been. Even if it hadn’t turned out as Samuel had hoped, Grun’Das was learning a lot, about a lot of things. And Samuel found he liked the bug, especially now. But something was wrong.

The human looked up from his meal to find Grun’Das staring at the small furred form in his claw. Samuel stiffened. Grun’Das had occasionally played with his food, allowing it to run a bit before pouncing and eating. But what he was sensing was not anticipation. Samuel’s voice was quiet. “Grun’Das?”

The insect stared at the furred animal, which huddled in his claw, obviously terrified. “I…” The bug shook his head.

"Grun'das?" Samuel put his utensils down. “What is wrong?”

"I..." Grun’Das sighed. “I don’t know. Suddenly, I find myself unable to eat this…” The small animal tried to wiggle out of Grun’Das’ claw and the insect sighed before placing it back in the cage and shutting it. “What is wrong with me? I… I have never had trouble eating before…”

Samuel stiffened. “Hold on, let me see something…” He moved a slow hand over the insect’s carapace, but then he shook his head. “No… No irregularities of temperature. No abnormalities I can detect with the Force. You are not hungry?”

"I am hungry, just…" Grun’Dus growled. “Not for that.”

"That is odd." Samuel stared at the bug. “I don’t think I changed anything in your mental makeup? Did I?” He thought back carefully, but then shook his head again.

"No." Grun’Das shook his head. “No, all of what you did was physical. The body and mind may be one, but this is very odd.”

"Hmmm..." Samuel blinked. “Do you know what your people ate before…? Um… what do you call it? What happened to you?”

"We call it our decent to hell." Grun’Das sighed. “Hmmm…” The insect’s voice was thoughtful. “Inherited memory says that my people ate greens and meat. Much like your people do. But dead meat, not living…”

Samuel pursed his lips. “Well, in that case, hold on a sec.” He stood and walked to the serving droid. A few minutes later he walked back carrying a large pot filled with the stew he had been eating. “Try this…”

"Samuel.." Grun’Das sighed. “How am I supposed to eat that? I can’t hold a spoon very well…” Now his tone was sour.

Samuel grinned. “Oh ye of little faith…” With the Force he summoned a clean bowl from a pile near the serving area, sparking a series of irate beeps from the serving droid which both ignored. “Can you hold this in your fine manipulator?”

"I can try." Grun’das carefully took the bowl in one of his smaller claws and nodded slowly. “I can.” He scooped some of the stew into it and held it close to his mouth parts. His long thin tongue shot out and tasted the stew. “This is good.”

"Well..." Samuel nodded. “I have to say that seeing you kill those things always sort of bothered me. I understand of course. It’s the ‘ick’ factor. And the fact that I could be a meal for you and yours.”

Grun’Das swallowed a mouthful of the stew and snorted. “We wouldn’t eat you Samuel. Kill you, yes. Eat you, no. You would taste terrible.”

Samuel laughed. “Thanks, I think…” He went back to his own meal and smiled as he saw the huge insect carefully dipping another bowlful from the pot. “At least you are not a vegetarian now. And I will check you out properly once we have time.”

Grun’Das snorted. “You just want me under your scanner again.” He took another huge swallow of stew.

"No." Samuel, however, wasn’t laughing. “If I messed up, we better find out fast.”

"You know...?" Grun’Das shook his head slowly. “I don’t think you did. This feels… right… as odd as that sounds.”

"Oh?" Samuel looked at the bug. “How did the other way feel?”

Grun’Das couldn’t smile but it was in his voice. “Messy.”

Samuel would have responded, but then both felt it. A howl in the Force. Both were upright and out the door before the howl faded.

<Jen’s room>

“Get away from me…!” The woman in the patient’s gown snarled as she backed up a step.

"Easy, girl." The Togruta in Jedi robes didn’t move from where she blocked the door. It was the only exit, and hopefully, she could talk Jen down before anything awful happened. “Jen, listen to me… You can’t. You can’t tell people what you saw. No one will understand it, and they will likely react badly.”

"You..." Jen was backed all the way across the room now, her step was ungainly, as if she could barely stand, but her face was intent on the Jedi’s. “You have no idea what I saw…” She stared but broke off as Ashla Ti shook her head.

“You saw a ship explode, you saw people crying." Ashla TI said soberly. "People you don’t know. You felt pain and fear, rage and horror. And you saw it.” The word ‘it’ had an odd inflection.

"What?" Jen stared at the Jedi. “How do you… You were watching?” Her voice was suspicious now.

"No." Ashla Ti shook her head. “You spoke in your trance, enough for me to recognize. I have seen it before. Jen, you can’t tell Samuel about this… You can’t…”

"What?" Jen snarled. “I can’t tell him that his son is going to die?”

"Jen, please..." Ashla Ti slumped. “No, you can’t. Jen… Look beyond that. What happens if Samuel finds out, feel the Force, let it flow through you. Ask it to show you what will happen if Samuel finds out. Quickly…” She felt Samuel and the bug approaching fast, worried, and angry. Jen stared at her and then Ashla TI felt the Force flow through teh nurse. Jen stiffened. "You see?" The Togruta begged. Jen nodded, her face ashen.

The door hissed open on her thought and Samuel strode in, lightsaber in hand but not ignited. The bug named Grun’Das followed but he didn’t need weapons. Samuel’s gaze fixed the Jedi. “What happened?”

"My fault." Jen answered him, her voice flat. “I saw something. It… It really scared me. I reacted badly. I am sorry, Samuel, Grun’Das. It isn’t her fault.”

"Okay." Samuel looked at her and then relaxed slightly. “Grun’Das, go. Finish your meal.” The bug looked at him and Samuel nodded. The bug strode from the room and Samuel replaced his lightsaber back on his belt. “What did you see?” He stiffened and Jen started crying.

"I... can't tell you that." Jen’s face was a mask of pain and fear now. “Please don’t ask me that, Samuel. Please…” The man in white robes came slowly close to her and then laid his arms around her gently.

His voice was just as gentle. “It’s okay, Jen. It’s okay…”

"Please..." Jen’s voice was muffled as she buried her face in his shoulder. “Get this crap out of me, please.”

"Oh Jen..." Samuel patted her head and looked at the Jedi whose face was somber. “We will, Jen. We will…”
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07.08.2012 , 09:39 AM | #10
They had finally managed to get Jen to sleep, and now, Samuel was almost done. He finished the last connection and nodded as he flicked the activation switch of the machinery that surrounded the slumbering girl. “Here we go.”

The machinery covered Jen from her knees up to her neck. She wasn’t restrained, per say, but she was covered with sterile sheeting and the tubes that ran from her wrists and thighs were heavily taped to keep them in place. Samuel had flatly refused to put needles in Jen’s neck again, even if it might have worked better or faster. He adjusted the mask that lay over the sleeping girl’s nose and mouth. Then he watched the monitor, checking the oxygen flow. He nodded again and turned to the other being in the room, a grim look on his face.

"Okay." Ashla Ti watched as the machinery hummed, but seemed to do nothing else. “How long until there is a discernable change?”

"I am not sure." Samuel frowned in thought. “We have never undone this kind of treatment before. And even if we can filter all of the fluid out, is she likely to be completely free of this?”

"No." Ashla Ti frowned and shook her head. “Once the door is opened, it is very hard to slam shut. Hopefully, she will have fewer episodes, and lesser ones.” The female Togruta sighed. “She is a good being, smart, capable and kind. We caught it in time, I think.”

"I hope so." Samuel looked back at the girl on the bed and sighed as well. “She doesn’t deserve what happened to her.”

"I need to know." Ashla Ti looked at the man in white robes. “Will Ravishaw try and do it to her again?”

Samuel snarled. “Over my dead body.” Jen whimpered in her sleep and he stroked her head gently until she relaxed. The door hissed open and the huge black bulk of Grun’Das entered. Samuel nodded t the bug and jerked his head to the Jedi. They both left the room in silence; Grun’Das could and would watch the girl until she woke. He also, coincidentally, made a very effective guard. Even Ravishaw would think twice about trying Grun’Das’ patience. The bug had little when people hurt his friends. And Jen was his friend.

"You are exhausted." Samuel frowned as he walked. “You need to eat, and then you will return?”

"Not much else to do." Ashla Ti nodded. “Anything else I try will likely get me killed.”

Samuel smiled mirthlessly. “Smart Jedi.”

"I know." Ashla Ti sighed. “I have felt his scrutiny on me all day. Jen needs me.”

Samuel nodded. “She needs you fed and rested.” He led her to the mess hall. Now it was full of beings of various races, all in black. But it went silent as the Jedi entered with Samuel. He shot a glare around the room and all went back to their meals. Samuel endured another beeped diatribe from the serving droid stoically and waited until Ashla Ti had a plate before leading the Jedi to a table near the back. The few students who had been eating there moved a bit, leaving a great deal of space for Samuel and the Jedi.

Both the white robed form and the brown robed one ignored the looks that came their way occasionally and the room started humming again, quietly. But then it stilled again. Samuel looked up to see his master enter the room, a thunderous look on his face. Samuel stiffened as Bob made a beeline for his table. Ashla Ti looked up and nodded slightly.

Bob looked at the Jedi. “You knew.” It wasn’t a question.

"You ordered me not to do anything." Ashla Ti shrugged. “I did nothing.”

Bob looked as if he was going to explode for a moment, but then he calmed. Samuel looked from one to the other and spoke quietly. “What has happened?”

“Ravishaw is gone.” Samuel froze, then he jumped to his feet, but Bob held up a hand. “He didn’t go after Jen, instead he seems to have drained several apprentices. There is a line of them between the medical bay and the hangar bays. And one of our transports is gone. The Swift Judgment.”

"He hurt our kin?" Samuel asked, horrified. “The apprentices?”

"Alive, barely." Bob sighed. “You have a dozen new patients, maybe more, we were finding them in out of the way, shadowed places.” Samuel shivered against his will.

The white robed form’s voice was quiet. “Are you sending me after him?”

"No, I need you here." Bob shook his head. “I will send Grun’Das and his people. And this time, they won’t bring him back.” Samuel nodded, his sense in the Force matching Bob’s. Ashla Ti looked from one to the other.

"And?" The Jedi’s voice was quiet. “Do you know where he went?”

Bob nodded. “No, nor do we know why he would leave like this.” Samuel stiffened, but remained silent. Bob looked at him. “Samuel?”

“I..." Samuel said thoughtfully, looking at Ashla Ti, who stiffened. "I might…”

<The Swift Judgment, on a run up to hyperspace>

Ravishaw, feared agent of a fearful force, sat in the pilot’s chair of the small transport and giggled softly. This was going to be good. A holo appeared on the console beside him.

“Better move, boy.” Bob’s voice was quiet. “They know where you are going.”

Ravishaw smirked. “Good, more fun with more players.”

“Do it, and do as ordered. We need them alive and undamaged. And this time, no playing with your food.” The holo shut off and Ravisahw smiled as he leaned down beside the pilot’s chair. The form that lay beside it whimpered a bit as the inane man touched her.

“What the master knows won’t hurt him. Isn’t that right, my girl?” Ravisahw’s face was pure lust as he fed power into the bound form at his side. “Now we have a trap to prepare. And such a trap. For a whiny little brat and a lickspittle. Come, apprentices…” Two forms entered the small cockpit and held out hands towards the now gurgling woman. The Bothan male and human woman both had identical looks of lust on their faces as they pulled power from the struggling mass at their feet.

Ravishaw slapped their hands away after a moment. “Enough. We don’t want to kill our meal just yet. And we have many preparation to make.” The ship jumped into hyperspace and he smiled as the two apprentices left the cockpit. But then he leaned down and touched the crying form again. “That’s it, Kola, cry, give me your pain…”

Not that the woman could do much more than that. With no arms, no legs, no eyes, no tongue… All she could do was lie there and hurt. And Ravishaw loved every minute of it.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here