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(L,F&E Interlude) Of Parents and Children

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E Interlude) Of Parents and Children

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:01 AM | #1
((This post is run in conjunction with the co-authored fanfic 'Taming of the Shades'. It is also co-authored by Setie and myself. To recap for anyone who hasn't been following -and if you haven't I don't blame you, its a long haul- Amarath Shades was a merc who was on the wrong side of a war. She was captured and turned over to a group of Mandalorians led by an old enemy. But things didn't turn out as anyone expected... Lots of emotion, and an encounter with a bounty hunter later, Sara Kalenath is enroute to rescue Shades mother from the Exchange.))

<On a starship entering orbit around the planet Kiffex>

Sara sat in her chair and tried not to sigh. It had been an agonizing day and half to Kiffex. She shook her head slowly. All the paperwork and minor details of commanding a starship had kept her somewhat busy, and her 'charges' had also. She glowered at the other person in the room.

“Ok, lets try it again... Nik made a comment that made you mad. So... You hit him...” The ten year old across the desk looked at her with innocent eyes and Sara controlled a shudder. These kids were a menace. Trained to hypercapable commandos for a black operation of Republic Intelligence, the 'children' that Sara had semi-officially adopted were many things. Innocent was not one of them. Trained literally from birth to fight, and die, for the Republic, these children had never HAD innocence. Training, simulated and now full on combat experience and studying to be living weapons had left them no time at all to BE children. And for a moment Sara wished some things hadn't changed. She shook her head. “What am I going to do with you Marta?”

The girl in question stared at Sara, no... Sara corrected herself. The girl was staring at a point six inches over Sara's left shoulder. Her posture of attention was perfect. And Sara sighed. “Marta. Please...?” The girl blinked and looked Sara in the eyes. They could have been sisters, matter of fact, since they shared at least one parent, they technically were in some way. Marta relaxed, just a bit.

“I don't know. We...” She slumped and for just a second she was a worried ten year old, not a soldier. “All we know is how to fight.” Sara nodded.

“What about the school? You like that. And you like Kona, right?” Marta grinned at that. That particular teacher was her favorite, for a whole lot of reasons. It wasn't everyday you found a Jedi teaching history to kids. The desk terminal beeped and Sara sighed.

“You have been saved by the chime. I am going to punish you though. You are helping Kina in the medical ward until further notice.” Marta nodded. “You broke his arm, you can help him until it heals.”

“And if you need backup?” Marta asked. Sara smiled evilly and Marta nodded soberly. The little girl saluted and Sara returned it, controlling a wince. She wasn't military, but it helped the kids to stay focused. And that was a good thing. Sara waited until Marta was gone before slumping back into her chair.

She still thought this was complete lunacy. She wasn't a starship captain. She wasn't military in any way, shape or form. What she was, was someone that the kids trusted. No small consideration there. But it hurt. They trusted her, and she had thrown them into harms way. Only one of them had died, but... it still hurt. They considered her their commander, for some weird reason, and nothing she or any of the other staff could do or say seemed able to change that. She wondered in her odd moments if it had anything to do with what had happened to her... but then she shook her head. Time to get her game face on.

<Four hours later>

She had forgotten. It had been so long since she had been dirtside in anything other than a Mando shuttle or her Besu'liik. Taking a civilian shuttle was good cover, but so slow. Sara shook her head and tried not to grimace as her hair fell across her face. Stupid civilian hairstyles. She sighed and sat back on her seat as the interplanet shuttle bumped a bit. She smoothed her skirt and again tried not to snarl. Her cover identity wouldn't know how to snarl. Stupid civilians and their stupid rules. She could have been there and back by now... but noooo... All shuttles had to ground at designated area or planetary security would scramble. And since this was a covert op...Well... They really didn't want to advertise what was going on until it was too late for Yinran or those Exchange scumbags to do anything. So that was why she was wearing this stupid civilian dress. An honest to the Force dress. Unarmored. Pretty. She sighed, it was good camouflage. She was armed of course. But it was hidden in a nice scanner proof slot in her bag. A royal pain to get at quickly, but proof from detection. She looked out the window and smiled, she could see the ground. A bump and they were down. Finally.

Sara waited with the rest of the passengers as they exited the shuttle and nodded to the ticket droid as she walked away. She couldn't help but notice the Yinran logo on it.

Shades wouldn't have even made it this far...

She walked a ways and was gratified to hear a click in her earbug. Right on time. She walked into a dark alley and spoke.


A muffled voice came from the shadows. It was impossible to tell where it came from or even if the speaker was male or female. “As expected. Yinran droids all over and a surveillance team on the house. No sign of Exchange.” Sara nodded.

“I will make contact." She said slowly. "Keep eyes on the Yinran people. And we may need to evac fast.” The voice spoke again.

“Rules of engagement?” The muffle voice asked. Sara sighed.

“Keep it quiet. If you have to do anything, keep it quiet. And I think you can 'discuss' some things with that Yinran team as well. But...” She continued quietly. “No killing.” Silence can't pout. But this one sure seemed to. “However, if Exchange or Yinran backup arrives...” She smiled grimly. Nothing else was said and Sara exited the alley.

<An hour later>

Sara stopped at the edge of the property and smiled. It was a nice, if small dwelling. Subtle signs showed differences from more common ones however. Ramps had been installed over all of the steps. Sara nodded as she walked slowly up the path to the house. Easy to access if one was chair bound. She stepped up to the door and rang the bell.

<Some distance away, the next closest house>

“Who is that?” The human member of the Yinran Corporation surveillance team asked as he ran the picture of the girl who had just knocked on Naomi Shades' door past his database, but nothing came up. He shook his head and queried the main planet database, that was sure to have something. He froze as his terminal beeped.

Loss of signal...? What?

He turned to ask one of the techs a question and froze. Having a blaster aimed at a person's head from less than a meter tends to do that to you. The gray armored figure holding it shook his head.

“Amateurs. Wanna talk... Please say no... Please...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:02 AM | #2
Naomi Shades was hardly as intimidating a sight as her daughter Amarath. Her black hair was faded to an iron gray, bangs pulled back in a long braided tail while the rest hung down her back in smaller braids. Blue eyes as dark as her childrens were as bright and as watchful as a hawk's as she roamed around her kitchen in her chair. An apron handing on her to keep her clothes from getting filthy and an old stained blanket to help keep flour off her legs. Pulling out cakes and decorating pastries for an order Thalo from the cantina had placed. It was only fair since he had spared his kitchen boy to help Naomi with some heavy lifting a few days ago.

Naomi knew how to do it was cook and bake, that along with her mild green thumb were her claims to fame, like her eldest daughter's was computers and mechanics. She'd tried to teach this to her children but sadly it hadn't taken. Ren had no interest, saying his wife would cook for him. Amarath had not sat still long enough to learn, which may have been a good thing given her and Naomi's habit of butting heads. Karina had simply been to young before she'd gone off to learn to be a jedi.

For a moment she felt a bout of loneliness coming on. Sure she got visitor's a plenty from town, but it wasn't the same as having your family with you. She missed Derrick coming in and smelling of grass, sweat, and cigarras. She missed Ren's constant chatter as he tried to con her into letting him taste test more then one treat. She missed Karina's humming as she had played with some toy or doll at the kitchen table. Naomi hated to admit it but she even missed Amarath and her grumbling about whatever customer had annoyed her that day.

Derrick and Ren at least were, technically, home. Both resting in their graves out by Naomi's garden. Karina had yet to see either, which was not surprising since she was a jedi. Jedi were busy.

Amarath had not come to see them either. Naomi kept waiting. Two years it had been now and that stubborn girl hadn't shown her face. Leave it to Amarath to be unpredictable, as Naomi had thought telling the girl to never show her face at home would make the girl do the opposite, like she always did.

By the time Naomi had thought to send her daughter a message she could come home, Amarath was gone from the hospital. The apartment she had rented with Renmon gone and rented to someone else.

So Naomi waited. Eventually, Amarath would show up. If only to check and make sure her mother was alright. That should be any day now given the newer arrivals in town.

Yinran Corporation they called themselves. They made the small town of kiffars nervous with their soldiers but they did also bring news of the universe. Something many kiffars wanted.

Naomi hadn't had to ask. They had pounded on her door and questioned her about Amarath. Interrogated was more like it, but once they realized Naomi knew nothing they left her alone. Granted that old hunting rifle she had pointed at them might have also had something to do with it.

The rifle was still around, hiding in the pieces of Naomi's chair. Just in case the hoodlums got any bright ideas. When there was a knock on her door as she was setting small pies on the rack to cool Naomi did not even seemed phased by it. She finished her task and pulled the gun out carefully before turning the chair towards the door.

“Coming,” she called out easily though she was already eying the windows in case of someone trying to break in. Times like this she pondered about living alone like she did. Amarath had been after her to move in with someone after Derrick had died. Naomi simply did not want to leave her home though.

With the ease of practice Naomi had the rifle in a good grip as she opened the front door and eyed the child on her stoop suspiciously. Not someone from town, but she certainly didn't look like one of those Yinran folks either. She simply stood to straight where as the lot of them seemed to be hunched over, likely from years of debauchery. At least that's what Naomi thought. Hoodlums always had a habit of walking all crouched over like dog instead of standing straight with some ounce of dignity.

“Well now your a new face,” She said studying the girl. The child looked uncomfortable but not from knocking on the door. Her stance made Naomi think of a soldier in spite of the normal enough clothes the girl wore and the fact she was far to young to be one. “Hmm...not a Yinran...not from town. Can I help you with something here child?”

While she spoke nice enough, Naomi didn't put down the rifle. You never knew people's real agendas anymore and who's to say this girl didn't have a gun hiding under that skirt somewhere.

((Posted by Setie))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:04 AM | #3
Sara didn't miss the rifle pointed her way. She nodded carefully. A single shot at this range could and probably would kill her, unarmored as she was. She could probably dodge the shot and disarm the woman at this range, but... Probably was not good odds. She wasn't here to fight but to help. At the word 'Yinran' Sara's blood ran hot, but she controlled her reactions carefully, no need to terrify the woman into shooting her after all...

"Naomi Shades? My name is Sara." She wanted to introduce herself properly, but... That was a bad idea. Kalenath was not a common last name, and who knew who might be watching besides the Yinran team who were probably getting a very unpleasant surprise right about now.

She looked without pity at the woman who sat in the chair. The woman obviously had learned to cope with her disability. And Sara understood. She herself was not disabled, but she had seen far too many people who had been broken by the people who had hurt her family and herself to have ANY desire to berate or dismiss people who were differently able from her. Her eyes also flitted around, it was very likely that Yinran and possibly the Exchange had bugged the house as well. But she couldn't do anything in plain sight, or that would blow her cover skyhigh. Kids simply didn't carry the extensive equipment she did. Even disguised it would raise more than few eyebrows. The house, what she could see of it, was neat, clean and laid out so someone stuck in a chair could get around easily. All this appraisal took maybe twenty seconds. Then her eyes returned to Naomi.

"I am not selling anything, nor am I evangelizing." Sara said softly. "I need to talk to you about your daughter. May I come in?"

She really wasn't quite sure what the response would be. Shades descriptions of her mother, vague as they had been, had been right on. This woman was tough, stubborn and independent, things any Mando could appreciate. The woman's eyes didn't leave Sara and Sara controlled a flinch. The woman was looking at her exactly as Maria might have...

My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:07 AM | #4
Naomi studied the girl. She was awfully calm about a gun being pointed at her. That meant she was comfortable around them, at least to a degree.

"Hmm, alright come on in," Naomi said wheeling her chair back. This Sara was polite she'd give her that. Stepped in, took off her boots, and even closed the door behind her.

As they walked through the house though Sara pulled something out of a pouch and hit a button a low hum from it quickly escalated and Naomi could hear circuits popping and see small puffs of smoke from a number of places.

Naomi didn't know what it all was but she certainly did not like the thought of someone trying to start her house on fire. As such the chair twisted around and Sara was once again at the end of the gun barrel.

"Easy." Sara simply held up her hands in a gesture of surrender as she spoke. "Ma'am, you have been under surveillance by some very unsavory types. I am sorry for scaring you, but I have to be careful these days."

Naomi simply glared a moment as she thought about the matter. She certainly could not think of why people would want to monitor her daily routines. Then again, it seemed everyone and their mother was knocking on her door now about Amarath.

"Well my life is hardly an exciting thing to be monitored. Hope they had lovely naps," Naomi stated with dripping sarcasm. It wasn't hard to easily switch her with Amarath mentally right then for Sara. She had heard the sarcastic tone from the younger kiffar plenty.

"I apologize again, Ma'am." Sara said gently. "My full name is Sara Kalenath, and I need to talk to you about Amarath."

Naomi's eyes narrowed instantly as she moved around the kitchen. "What's she done now? Lemonade?" Part of her was already steeling herself for what Amarath had done this time. Naomi knew her daughter well enough to know that trouble was never far from her.

"It's not what she did, ma'am, and yes, i would like lemonade. I haven't had that recently." Sara grinned a bit remembering the last time she had been served lemonade. She had expected something a bit different, but Maria had cut her off from booze. Crazy kids and alcohol didn't mix.

Naomi got a pitcher from the chiller and two glasses, along with a plate of something that looked like cookies. "Not sure your tolerance but careful of the jolt cakes. The blues ones. So what's this about Amarath then?"

"Jolt cakes?" Sara asked carefully as she looked them over. "I have never had those. They do look good, but I will defer to experience." Sara sighed. "Let me help with that please, I know you can do it, but I feel..., kind of... I guess..." She broke off unsure what to say.

Naomi grinned a bit. The same as her daughter gave when amused by something. "Feel bad sitting there while the little old lady is doing everything when your younger and stronger?" she asked as she slid the tray of refreshments onto the table.

"Yeah." Sara snorted a bit. "That is part of it. Part is also... I try and be a good person. Even though it is hard, so very hard sometimes, but it's defining what makes a person good."

Naomi simply nodded as she poured a glass of lemonade. "Jolt cakes just got a little zing to them is all. Off worlders get surprised though unless they got a tolerance to such things. Not really spice just...zap. Hence the name."

"Oh?" Sara raised an eyebrow and took one. She took a bite and smiled as she chewed and swallowed, "Oh! I like it."

Naomi grinned as she poured another lemonade for herself. "Well now. You don't look like someone my eldest daughter would hang around. To young and wearing a dress. Then again you stand rather like them. So let's cut to the chase here shall we?"

"Of course." Sara nodded and sighed, "Your daughter is trying to find her way out of a bad mess and I am trying to help her." Sara looked at the floor for a long moment and when she looked up, her face was sad. "I know what happened to Amarath and your son, Ma'am."

Naomi's face was unreadable except the pain in her eyes as she sipped her own drink. She didn't speak, but neither was she throwing Sara out for her comment. She wondered if the girl had the whole truth from Amarath or just had read the reports.

"I..." Sara shook her head. "There is no easy way to say this... Your son took out a loan from a criminal syndicate called 'The Exchange' when Amarath cut off his income to try and get him to seek help for his addictions." The younger girl took a sip of her lemonade but Naomi was sure she saw a flash of anger in the girl's eyes. She did however did a mental nod that this Sara knew when to hold her tongue. Maybe she taught that to Amarath some, though Naomi doubted it. "It took a while to get that much information out of Amarath. She is a bit on the stubborn side," Sara said with a rueful grin.

"I seem to recall that," Naomi stated with an understanding look. She'd pulled her own hair out over that daughter of hers for years after all.

"Well..." Sara nodded. "When your son died, the debt, according to the Exchange scumbags anyway, passed to Amarath, who Renmon had used as his 'collateral'...and to you."

((Posted by Setie))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:08 AM | #5
Naomi's eyes were narrowed and her jaw clenched in what Sara knew was an angry expression from Shades. "Go on," she stated calmly though.

The older woman knew she had not been privy to everything her two children had done while off on their own. She knew Renmon had a habit of spinning tales. Amarath however had never bothered to come around and deny them, leaving the only source of information about the pair's lives being Ren. Hearing her only son had been foolish with money was not surprising to Naomi. She had been suspicious a number of times since Ren had always lacked details on his own life while being full of ones about his sister. She didn't know what this Exchange was but she had a feeling Ren had once again fallen in a pit and Amarath had been pulling him out again.

Sara slumped a bit then, "We.. um... well... Amarath was captured by some friends of ours after a fracas she was involved in. My family and I know about being stuck in bad situations, and Mom... Well, she met your husband and son a long time ago, so she made it a personal project to help your daughter. I met your daughter two weeks ago. And I like her. Imagine my surprise when a bounty hunter came after her."

"Still managing to land on your feet there Amarath," Naomi thought to herself before letting out an aggravated snort. "My daughter has been in and out of trouble most of her life. Still, I'm not seeing what this has to do with me. Like I told those Yinran folk, she hasn't been here in years."

"Yinran?" Sara asked as she froze. "Have they been bothering you?" Something dark and dangerous under laid her tone, although she strove hard to hide it. Naomi simply raised a censorious brow and waited a moment as the girl's mind caught up with her.

Sara shook her head slowly, finally smiling a bit sadly. "I am sorry. I... get angry when people threaten my friends and family of my friends."

Naomi nodded, she could certainly understand that. "Well aside from their initial questions no. They've left me be aside from the occasional stop to ask if I've heard from Amarath. They back off when I tell them get out with the barrel of a hunting rifle."

Sara smiled wide at that, "I would too. Just Yinran though, nobody else?"

"Few hoodlums break into the house occasionally but I have nothing of real value here for them to steal. So aside from leaving a mess and a broken window or lock nothing," Naomi stated with a shrug.

Sara shook her head slowly. "Ma'am, look around. There are blackened spots around where people planted various surveillance devices . My jammer fried them." She held up the small device again. "The Exchange is keeping an eye on you too."

The older woman snorted in annoyance, she didn't take to being watched any better then Amarath had taken to getting dragged to Nova Ordo. "Well hope they got a hole burnt in their pockets here. Like I said, Amarath hasn't been here in years."

Sara smiled, as if finding something vastly amusing. "Ma'am, if they can't find Amarath, they will come after you. That is why she was paying off Renmon's debts," she said then in a firmer tone, anger glinting in her eyes.

Now Naomi had a very definite look on her face that usually meant on Amarath someone was about to get shot. She spat out a number of curses that would have made a drill sergeant cover his ears.

Sara smiled at the cursing, "Quite so, Ma'am."

Naomi could only sit and fume. "Idiot child...why didn't she say something." It frustrated her to no end that Amarath never asked for help, even when she was in dire need of it.

Sara sighed. "I don't know, but... If I had to guess... She felt responsible somehow. For what happened to Renmon. I don't know the whole story, but what I DO know is that if the Exchange can't find her, they will come after YOU. To get to her, or just to settle their debt. She wanted to come but it would have gotten her killed."

Naomi gave a distinct growl just then. "Over my cold, rotting corpse," she muttered, sounding just like Amarath for a moment.

Sara shook her head slowly. "That's why I am here, Ma'am. So that doesn't happen. She would flay me if anything happens to you, and rightly so."

Naomi snorted then as if she didn't quite believe what Sara stated. "So...where is she?"

Sara shook her head again. "She is safe. An uncharted world, off the hyperspace lanes. And I need to ask you to come back with me."

Naomi frowned for a bit. "Is she doing well? You mentioned she had a run in with friends of yours and such."

Sara smiled, "Well enough. She had a few run-ins yes, but..." the girl snorted. "We know about being stuck, so we gave her a job. One she is good at. She is an employee and a friend. The colony is hidden, so communication is next to impossible through normal means. Hence why I am here in person."

Naomi was surprised now. "Colony? As in she's sitting in one place?" She couldn't remember the last time her eldest daughter had been content enough to stay in one place for any length of time.

Sara gave a snort now, "No so you would notice actually...I swear she makes ME feel tired sometimes, the sheer amount of get up and go she has."

Naomi grinned a bit at that, "She gets it from her father. At least she's not floating around with thugs."

Sara bit her lip, "We have been called that and worse, ma'am. She is our friend now though, no matter HOW we met. Can you come?"

Naomi sat thinking on the matter. She was not sure how well she would do on some uncharted world. Sure her chair was made to handle most terrain but who knew how it would handle where ever she went with this Sara. She also wasn't sure this girl really knew Amarath. After all, if there was really unsavory types after Naomi she would need to be careful about who she just went off with. She wasn't foolish enough to think these Exchange people wouldn't try to secure some form of trust and then jump her.

So Naomi sat, weighing her options. She had no reason to trust this girl but plenty of reason to be suspicious of anyone knocking on her door.

((posted by Setie))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

07.19.2012 , 06:13 AM | #6
Sara sighed. "I know. Yinran, and the Exchange are bad enough. But you have no reason to trust me either. you don't know me. I could be someone looking for her, or just some wacko." Naomi nodded.

"Yep...though the wacko part doesn't seem likely since you haven't gone for my throat while you've been here. Kidnapping has not been ruled out though." Sara sighed again and then shook her head slowly.

"Well..." Sara nodded. "I don't know what to say. I tend to be a bit direct in my methods. This beating around the bush is for ninnies...How can I prove to you that I know her? I didn't think to ask for a message or anything..." Sara was obviously kicking herself.

"Hmm, that's the trick of it really. I give you some method and you can just adjust to it," Naomi pointed out and Sara nodded an acknowledgment. "We shall sit and talk for a bit. See if hints don't come up in the conversation. So how did you meet my daughter?"

"Meet her?" Sara smiled. No, it was a grin. "I came home after a bit of a long trip and found out that my mom had hired her to do some tech work. I wasn't sure about her at first... I had heard a lot of stories." The old woman arced an eyebrow.

"Stories eh? Like what?" Sara smiled in memory, although first hearing some of the tales had been less than enthralling.

"She and my mother bumped heads on Coruscant." Sara said with a small smile. "Your daughter is good. My mom was a soldier for a long time, and has a lot of tricks. But Amarath out foxed her more than a few times."

Naomi raised a brow at that. "So she gives the girl a job after getting likely close to blown up?"

"Eh..." Sara grinned again, this time sourly. Put that way, it didn't make much sense. "Mom didn't know who she was. Until later." Sara slumped. "She also didn't know about your son and husband until later. I... I am sorry for your losses. I know about losing family." For a moment, old pain showed in Sara's eyes, but it vanished.

"Most of us don't get out of life without a few major losses." Naomi stated it in a factual tone before giving a sad smile. "I'll miss them dearly, but pining away will hardly bring them back or do anyone any good."

"Yeah." Sara nodded with a matching sad smile. "Anyway, she was on the opposite side from my family in a fight that took place recently. She was actually in command of a fleet. She..." Sara grinned again. "She changed sides. We didn't realize it at the time, but she helped us. Significantly. Something about programming a battleship to attack ships on its own side if I heard the stories correctly."

Naomi snorted a bit. "I'm surprised a moron put her in charge of a fleet. Amarath is not exactly leader or commander material. Her people skills are...lacking." Sara snorted at that, but sipped her lemonade before trying another of the cakes. She smiled a bit as she took a bite.

"Mine too, and they made me a starship captain. Over my serious objections mind you..." Naomi stared at her, and how could Sara blame her? 14 year old starship captain? Yeah right... Sara grinned in memory of the conversation where they had sprung that little surprise on her. She had been... less... than enthused.

Now Naomi was looking at Sara like she'd grown another head. "I'm sorry...but what culture puts lady like yourself in charge of a starship? You don't seem old enough to be holding a blaster."

"I know it doesn't make sense. But it is what happened." Sara shook her head. "Its... complicated. I am sort of in command, and sort of not. I have a good crew, experienced people. But I am the only one that certain members of my crew will trust, so... I think I am stuck." Sara sighed at the injustice of it, but then she smiled. "It does come with some very cool fringe benefits though."Naomi grinned at her tone.

"No job is completely composed of least not the good ones." Sara nodded in heartfelt agreement and then froze as sher com chirped. She shook her head.

"Blasted leash... What I wouldn't give sometimes to just chuck the stupid thing. Pardon me for just a moment." She reached into her purse and pulled out her com. Naomi simply nodded and sat silent while Sara took whatever call. Sara opened the comand listened, then she smiled. It was not a nice smile. When she spoke it was calm. "Keep them sequestered for now. I may be a while." She looked up at Naomi and then at the floor. "Yeah. Would you trust some strange girl off the street?" Then she laughed. "I am going to tell Rina you said that." She was chortling quietly as she turned off her com. "My family is a little... strange..."

"Most family's are," Naomi stated with the wisdom of her years, and what looked like a bit of envy in her eyes. "And no families work the same."

Sara nodded. "Well. The Yinran people who were watching your house are a bit tied up at the moment. And my brother said something that I had forgotten. Something that should help you understand that I do know your daughter. Amarath carries a family heirloom. I can describe it if you wish. She never takes it off."

Naomi raised a brow at that, keeping a very good pazaak face on. "Go on."

"Well." Sara was pensive. "I haven't actually seen it, but it was described to me. It was stolen from her at one point and my kin, well... We don't take kindly to things like that. So we got it back for her. It's a small blue gem. Flawless."

Naomi blinked at that a look of surprise on her face. "She actually allowed someone to see that?"

"No." Sara shook her head. "She didn't allow... It was taken from her. And we got it back for her. Cyare... well..." She snorted. "No one steals from someone we call friend. And like I said. no one else has seen it." Naomi shook her head slowly.

"I'm surprised Amarath didn't rip out the person's throat." Sara sighed.

"We have a few in our group who felt that she was a threat, and wanted to deal with her as one." Sara said with a small shrug. "From what I understand, she tried to rip his throat out. But... Well... It's over. She got it back. I... I have to say I admire her in a few ways. She has no quit in her at all."

"Only in things that matter to her dearly." Naomi was up now and cleaning up the small mess the two had made.

Sara sighed. "She doesn't show it a lot of the time, but she does care. She would have been here herself. Except it would have gotten her killed so we threatened to sit on her."

Now Naomi looked greatly amused. "She would have tried to come anyway." She looked suddenly thoughtful, the same look Amarath got when she was trying to figure out a tricky problem.

"It would have gotten her killed Ma'am." Sara repeated. "Yinran is no joke. Can I help with that?" Sara asked as she stood slowly, so as not to startle.

"Certainly, grab a towel and start drying. Never good to leave dishes dirty when your going on a trip. Makes them harder to clean when you get home." Sara smiled and did as instructed. She found she missed simple things.

"So many people just use cleaners these days. And if the power fails they have no idea at all what to do." Naomi smiled and spoke quietly as she worked.

"Well a cleaner would be hard for me to handle, so it's the old fashioned way for me. Besides, allows thinking time." But then the older woman shook her head. "Still, I am surprised you and your friends talked her out of coming herself. Threats of death and dismemberment have never worked well on Amarath."

Sara laughed. "It wasn't easy. I swear anybody in my family could find a match in your daughter for sheer stubbornness. But my mom finally convinced her. And sent me." She dried a few more of the dishes. "And I need to get the recipe for those cakes. Those are good..."

"Well I'm sure I'll have time to show you either on the way or when we get to this colony of yours." Sara froze but Naomi continued. "Just keep them away from Amarath or you won't get any."

Sara smiled. "I'll remember that."
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07.19.2012 , 06:15 AM | #7
Naomi's garden was something of a small paradise to many. The graying kiffar didn't know if it was one to Sara. She had never been off Kiffex or gone forth to see the galaxy. She had no idea the sights Sara had seen or even the ones her children had seen. She never bothered to ask about them herself. She was content with what she had and worked to improve upon it.

Why couldn't Amarath have been content and just worked to improve? It was something that vexed Naomi greatly.

As she rolled her chair through the garden, snipping blooms here and there to go into the pile in her lap. She said nothing to the quiet shadow that followed curiously.

Finally she stopped at a small fenced in area. A tree was growing here while the rest of the garden was smaller plants and bushes. No flowers grew here, instead the grass was as tall and wild as out in the plains. On the tree was a long list of names, of note was the two closest to the bottom.

Derrik Shades and Renmon Shades.

That's how Derrick would have wanted it. He had loved being out on the plains with the lightning towers that had taken his life after almost twenty years.

She could remember that painful night if she wanted to, dwell on it till it ate her alive.

Naomi simply didn't see the sense in concentrating on what she lost. She was alive and in one piece mostly. There was still memories to make, children to scold, and an endless list of chores to be done.

That didn't mean she didn't miss Derrick any, or Renmon. Right that minute she would have been pummeling Ren with a spoon for the mess he had made. As Derrick had always told her, Amarath was cleaning up after the boy.

She missed her husband greatly then. He knew how to handle Amarath far better than she did. She'd have to settle for venting to their graves.

“Well Ren it seems you landed your sister in a fine mess again. As always she tried taking it on herself. Stupid girl...”

She sighed then cause she could almost hear Derrick talking. Telling her not to be so hard on Amarath. Naomi had never considered herself to hard on the girl in the past. Now though, after years of Amarath's antics? She might have been somewhat hard.

Specially the last time the pair had seen each other...

“I will try Derrick. I simply do not understand that girl. I never have and it makes it difficult to talk to her. Why someone with such a bright future has such low dreams for herself. Being a merc for Creation's sake...”

There were safer ways to make money to Naomi's mind. Ones that didn't include possible illegal dealings. She had made that all clear to Amarath though long ago and it had not swayed the girl.

“I'll be gone for a while I think. You two are to behave and don't burn the house down while I'm gone.” Naomi thought to herself as she maneuvered herself to settle the flowers on the graves. It took some doing and she'd tumbled out of her chair a few times doing it before. This time she managed to stay though as she arranged them. “I love you both, and I'll make sure to tell Amarath that...if she listens that is.”

Content with the appearance of the flowers Naomi wheeled the chair around, maneuvering it out the gate to where Sara stood quietly.

“Bag is by the front door waiting for us to lock up as we go here. Ready when you are Miss Sara,” Naomi said with a blank face. Part of her was happy at the thought of seeing Amarath, but another knew neither of them would be getting through the encounter without a few more scars from the cat fight they'd likely get into.

Naomi could only hope as they locked up the house, that somewhere in all those hateful words they might reach an understanding.

((Posted by Setie))
My stories in order:
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07.19.2012 , 06:22 AM | #8
Sara tried not to fidget. It had been a reasonably uneventful trip, and that worried her. She had stood by respectfully while Naomi had said goodbye to her son and husband. If there was one thing Sara understood, it was grief. But now, they had made it to the port. She put a smile on her face.

"We want bay 96, Mrs. Shades." Sara said quietly. She was trying not to sound too informal, because if someone was listening, it wouldn't do for them to realize that Sara wasn't just some acquaintance, but a guard.

Naomi simply nodded as she rolled along. The port was always awfully crowded and this time was no exception. More then one person sent a wave to Naomi. Friends and neighbors simply saying hello as they went about their day.

Sara was on hyperalert. The hardest part of any mission was the egress after all. And there hadn't been any sign at all of the Exchange. So she was only somewhat surprised when a service droid came up and motioned them towards a somewhat secluded doorway. A quick glance at her chrono had her smiling at Naomi. "I think we should follow the droid. The clanker may know a short cut to our bay."

"Well you know this field better then me I think. Lead on and this old lady will follow."

Sara snorted and then froze momentarily as a pair of large forms came out of the shadows near the door that they were headding for. The droid spoke. "Please do not make any sudden moves. Your presence has been requested, Naomi Shades."

Sara looked at the two large aliens, a Weequay and a Trandoshan, both wearing ill fitting janitor's coveralls and sighed. "Exchange..." She moved closer to Naomi, and only a truly paranoid individual might notice that she was actually staying between the droid and Naomi. The door opened and the strange cavalcade swept towards it.

Naomi raised a brow at the lot of them. "And where would that be Mr. Droid?" she asked in a coldly polite tone.

Sara snorted. But when she looked at Naomi, her eyes were cold. It didn't touch her voice however. "Don't bother asking it. They obviously reprogrammed the droid."

The Weequay and Trandoshan stood behind, probably not understanding what was said, Sara however... Her eyes were roving. The door ahead opened and an armored figure was seen momentarily through it. Sara slumped. But only for a moment, then she stood beside Naomi and shook her head slowly.

"I still want to know where I'm suppose to be going," Naomi said stubbornly glaring from lizard to squid face and back. "Rude to not tell someone where they are due."

Another voice came, coldly mocking. "Someone wants to talk to you about your daughter Ma'am." AS they passed the door a figure wearing battered Mandalorian armor came into view. Teh colors might have once been dark green, but now, most of the color was gone, battered away by years of battles and neglect. Sara's eyes didnt leave that one, although there were two others in the room, and both had weapons visible. The green armored Mandalorian looked at Sara and obviously dismissed her as a threat, the eyeslit of his visor settled on Naomi. "We just want to talk, Ma'am. After that, well, we shall see..." No one noticed, in the tenseness, as a set of shadows seemed to lengthen nearby.

"And who is we here?" Naomi asked reasonably. "Already told Yinran I haven't seen or heard from Amarath in years."

"We are not with Yinran, Ma'am." The Mando snorted. "We represent someone else, someone who Amarath owes a great deal of money to. Of course if she had simply agreed to his terms, none of this might have happened." At that, Sara stepped forward, not quite between Naomi and the Mando, but close.

The Mando looked at her and paused. Sara shook her head slowly and spoke. "You have no idea at all what you are doing, vod. Turn around and leave, right now, and you will survive to make money again some other day." Naomi sat silent for right now eyes glaring at the armored man from under Sara's arm.

"You?" The green armored man laughed. "You are no vod of mine, brat..." And then he was falling as the shot from Sara's blaster caught him square in the eyeslit of his helmet. Shots came in from the side and the ambushers froze momentarily as they realized they had been ambushed.

One of the ambushers, brighter than the others, moved towards Naomi's chair. the thought was obvious, hostage. Sara was looking the other way, her blaster in a rock solid grip as she gunned down another of the Exchange thugs.

"Ah ah! I think you should sit there in a time out Sir," Naomi raising something in her blanketed legs.

The Trandoshan raised his blaster and snarled at her. The gist was simple to understand, even for people who didn't speak Dosh. 'Stay put you old bag'. But his point of aim didn't waver from Sara.

Quite suddenly Naomi's hand shot out with a wooden spoon that snapped on the top of Sara's head, make the girl instinctively duck right out of the Trandoshan's shot as a boom sounded. The blanket had a large burnt hole in it now but so did the lizard man's head. As suddenly as the firing had begun, it ended. Sara spun, instinctively seeking the source of the last shot and then froze and smiled as she saw the Trandoshan. She nodded to Naomi.

"Thanks." Sara said ruefully.

"Sara..." Another voice came, this one male and rueful. "Did you have to cut it so close? Maria would flay me if anything happens to you. And then she would get nasty..." Another armored figure appeared, out of nowhere. This one had gray colored armor. Other armored figures appeared from the shadows, moving to check the twitching forms of the thugs.

Naomi's eyes went a little wide seeing folks in similar armor to the guy Sara had shot and pointed her gun at the speaker. She doubted the pair of them could go fending off these brutes forever though. Sara snorted and gently, very gently, pushed the muzzle of the weapon aside.

"Easy, Naomi." Sara said quietly. "These are on our side."

The gray armored form nodded slowly, his weapon remained at high port, well away from pointing at anyone or anything. But when he spoke, it was humorous. "Thank you Ma'am. If that lizard had hurt Sara, well, her mom would have had our skins." Naomi wasn't mollified. And her point of aim didn't waver from the gray armored form as she spoke quietly.

"Are you sure about that? They all look the same." Naomi asked softly. Sara spoke a quiet word. All of the armored forms stiffened, but then, one by one, each took off their helmets. The gray armored one was male, as were two of the others. The last one was female and grinning. She spoke quickly as she checked one of the bodies.

"That was a nice shot Ma'am." The female Mando said with a smile. "That Dosh never saw it coming." Naomi actually smiled a bit at the tone.

"The blaster is not always the mightiest weapon. He seemed rather surprised by my spoon."

"Ah..." Sara actually laughed a little and the Mandos laughed with her as she rubbed her head. "I was too..."

Naomi smiled a bit sadly. "Sorry dear but I couldn't very well shout at you to duck." Sara shook her head and laid a gentle hand on Naomi's.

"I don't mind. its just, I have never had anyone do that..." She glared at the Mandos who were all smirking at her. "And don't you dare tell mom about that...You will give her ideas..." All of them found things to do.

Naomi raised a brow at that. "Your mother has never smacked you on your head?"

"Um..." Sara winced. "Never with a spoon Ma'am..." Naomi smiled, but then sobered.

“Allows for more reach from fast ducking children. Now where's that landing pad you mentioned? Likely should escape now before more...friends show up."

Sara nodded, but her gaze had wandered from Naomi to the crumpled form in green armor. The gray armored form sighed. "You didn't have a choice Sara. Come on, lets go home." Sara nodded, but her gaze was still on the dead Mando.

"Your wondering what hooks the Exchange had in him that he would shoot at fellow Mandos," Naomi stated.

Sara shook her head. "Money talks." She said sadly. then she shook her head. "Yeah, we should get out of here. T'ad..." She broke off as she realized that Naomi and her were the only living things left in the area. Even the bodies were gone. Sara snorted and waved to Naomi. "Lets get airborne. I dread to think what my own 'kids' have gotten up to since I have been here..."

Naomi's head snapped up as she started rolling again. "You seem a bit young to be a mother of multiple children..."

"I am not their mother..." Sara began as they started off towards the docking bay. "More their adopted parent. Its kind of weird, but then again, that really defines my whole life. Kind of weird. Its odd but, then again, it does work, for them and for me, so I guess its okay..." Sara led off again, this time, her purse was in hand, her blaster was nowhere in sight, but the hand that lurked in the purse said it was in hand. Just in case.
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07.19.2012 , 06:26 AM | #9
The shuttle ride was quiet, especially since Naomi and Sara were the only two passengers. Sara looked at the older woman.

"It won't be long now." Sara said with a smile. "Do you want to see the ship?"

Naomi looked uneasy as she glanced out the view port. "Certainly, it might help me ease my mind. Never been in space before and it makes me a little nervous to know there's just metal between the void and myself."

"A little more than just metal, but yeah I understand." Sara keyed a control and one of the view screens lit up to show the Dia's Gift growing larger in the distance. "That's my ship and... Aw come on," Sara sighed as she saw several red painted specks arrowing towards the shuttle.

Naomi's nervousness made the jump in alarm now. "Is that a bad thing?"

"No. But I didn't want to alarm you." Sara keyed her com and spoke sharply. "If the four of you don't want to spend all week on laundry detail, you will turn around and return to formation." No response came in, but all four of the objects, that on close inspection were strangely shaped droids, turned and headed back towards the larger ship. Sara smiled at Naomi, "No, they are playing but I didn't want to make you nervous. Too late though, I am sorry." Sara lowered herself to Naomi's level, "It will be fine. No problems."

"Seems an odd time for soldiers to go playing around," Naomi stated not looking entirely convinced.

"Well..." Sara smiled, but it had an exasperated edge. "They are not soldiers, per say. They were trained to be soldiers mind you, but..." She looked up as a low chime was heard. "We are on final approach. It's all right, they were just showing off. I will 'talk' to them about it."

Naomi frowned some, not understand Sara's statement exactly. It was however none of her business she reminded herself as she prepped her chair for landing. Clamps popping out of it to hold it in place while the ship slowed. It would never due for Naomi to keep going at whatever speed till she hit a ship wall.

Sara looked at the chair and smiled. "Nice, I could have used those a time or two myself." She strapped herself in and scrutinized Naomi, "It will be all right, we should be underway within the hour. First stop will be medical, and we have a stateroom ready for you. If you ever need me, just ask the computer to find Sara."

Naomi raised a curious brow then. "Medical?" she looked down obviously checking herself for wounds. "I might be old and sometimes forgetful but I didn't think I got hit."

"No." Sara grimaced, "We have some people aboard with damaged immune systems. We need to make sure you don't have anything that can be spread. Even childhood illnesses could kill if they hit someone with a bad immune system.”

Naomi gave a smile and nodded. "Sensible. We had disease run rampant for a time since we kiffar were not use to the diseases other races were. Still even that didn't dissuade our young from wanting to go running off on us now." The last came out bitter as she scowled.

"Yeah." Sara nodded, "I understand." There was honest sympathy in her voice. "How do you hold them on the farm when they have seen Coruscant?" Her voice was sad "Not that I had a choice in that regard."

"Some don't that's true," Naomi said. "Others just like to think they don't."

"Oh?" Sara snorted in quiet laughter. "And how many groups of people have ever seen the same thing the same way? But I do take your point." She looked up at the view screen and smiled as she saw the hangar approaching, "About three minutes now."

Naomi leaned forward some now, curious of what the inside of the ship would look like. As it was it certainly looked bigger and meaner then the transports and freighters that landed on her world.

Sara leaned forward as well. "Hangar bay. It's a landing point for small spacecraft. We have two shuttles, two fighters, and twenty five droids like the ones you saw in operation right now. We will touch down momentarily, then they will pull us into a docking area. Please wait to release the clamps on your chair until we come to a complete stop."

"Should I put my tray table up too dear?" Naomi asked with a grin.

Sara actually laughed at that, "If you want." A small vibration was felt through the hull and Sara smiled. We are down. See, no problems."

"Safe to move now?"

"Wait a minute," Sara waited until a small light changed from red to green near the hatch and then she nodded, "Now we can move." She put action to words, removing her straps and standing. She easily hefted Naomi's bag. "Lets get you to Medical. Then I can see what insanity has been unleashed while I was gone."

"Oh the universe is likely coming to an end without you," Naomi said with a smile. "That's usually how it is with households so I imagine a ship is not much different."

At that Sara had to laugh again. She led the way to the hatch and waited as the ramp lowered to the deck. "Indeed it is. It will be somewhat loud out there, so lets get to the hatch as fast as we can, ok?"

"You realize i had three children correct?" Naomi asked as she wheeled behind Sara.

Sara nodded, unsure where Naomi was going with this.

Naomi simply kept her grin in place. Obviously this Sara didn't realize that with one child usually came a horde of them. They got loud, destructive, and otherwise unruly in packs.

The noise of the hanger didn't phase Naomi much, she did look about curiously at the work but remembered to keep up with her hostess and didn't bother trying to ask questions over the ruckus. She doubted she would have been heard as it was.

Several of the red droids were being worked on and two of them opened as Sara and Naomi passed. Small forms wearing white flight suits and helmets clambered out of them, but Sara continued towards the hatch.

At the small forms climbing out of the droids Naomi stopped with a confused look. They seemed a bit short to be soldiers after all and certainly far to young.

Sara turned back as Naomi stopped and motioned for her to continue. The noise level was too much for casual conversation anyway. She led the way to the hatch and didn't bother to hide a sigh of relief as she closed it after them and the noise level fell dramatically.

"Busy place," Naomi stated simply.

Sara nodded as she led the way towards Medical, "Yeah, we have a lot of stuff going on. Any starship is busy while it in transit, but I swear this one was designed from the keel up to be chaos central."

"Can't say I know sadly," Naomi said following Sara through the corridors. "Though I imagine it's not to far off from storm season for us."

Sara paused. "That... that actually is a fair description I think. Storm season. yeah, that works. That WOULD be a very exciting time on a farm wouldn't it?"

"On a lightning farm yes. It's very chaotic since lightning is...difficult. Storms can crop up out of nowhere really during that time, but we store the energy for powering our cities and making power cells."

Sara nodded. "I can see that would be chaos at times. Anyway, we have a small crew, mainly because of the people who have immune system problems. There is also a question of trust involved. Ah here we are..." She smiled as she led the way to a hatch with prominent markings in several languages. All saying 'Medical'.

"I won't be causing problems being here will I?" Naomi asked. Though she certainly couldn't imagine someone protesting her being on the ship, one could never be sure.

Sara shook her head. "Not hardly. We do some odd jobs on occasion. So, every so often, i try and find something a bit more 'normal' for us to do. Keeps us sane. Well, saner."

Naomi seemed to ponder this as the pair stepped into the small clinic. It was spotless, every surface shone from careful cleaning. Sara nodded to a figure half seen bent over a scanner and spoke quietly. "Kina, our guest has arrived."
My stories in order:
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07.19.2012 , 06:32 AM | #10
Kina turned and smiled at Naomi and Sara as she started towards them. She was a young twilek, maybe twenty years old and her skin was a deep brown. The odd thing about her was the two silver disks on her forehead, obviously mechanical devices.

While Naomi's eyes went wide at the sight of the mechanical devices in the twi'lek, she mostly managed to keep from gawking. She had honestly never seen such devices on people. Heard of yes, but never seen. Her daughter and her had stopped speaking before Amarath had gotten her cybernetic implants and Naomi was not in the port enough to gawk at spacers.

When Kina spoke her voice was kind, gentle and to the point. "Good morning. My name is Kina and I am the chief medical person on this ship. You are?"

"Naomi Shades," the old kiffar replied. "I've been told I need a good check up to make sure I don't make people sick."

Kina smiled, but there was exasperation in it. "Sara, Leave medical matters to me please. You go round up your herd and get us out of here." There was humor in her words and Sara had to laugh at it.

The young human looked at Naomi. "If you need anything, the ship is set up for voice address. Just say my name." She looked at Kina and nodded as she left the bay.

Kina sighed then, "Would you like something to drink?"

"I'm fine thank you. Afraid I don't care for clinics much. Spent far to much time in them a few years ago. Where should I park for this exam?”

Kina pursed her lips, "Some of our scanners will work with the chair. Others won't." She made a hum noise, "I understand completely about not liking clinics. The only reason I am here, well, I was the only one they trusted in this position."

Naomi looked puzzled, "Seems odd for a doctor to not like a clinic."

Kina sighed, "I was studying to be a med tech, but... Well I like helping people and they need me aboard here. I don't mind clinics, just here has bad memories but like I say, they need me."

"That's very admirable."

Kina snorted but her smile was genuine. "I do it because I can, not because it is the right thing to do. They need me, so I am here and I can help people. If you can wheel yourself over here, we can get started." She swung a small scanner into a ready position.

Naomi wheeled over with a curious look. "I would think mandalorains would have a few doctors among them.

"They do." Kina snorted. "But we are not technically Mandalorians." She started the scanner and nodded to herself as the readings started coming in. "Oh, Sara is, and a few of our other people are, but not all of us."

Naomi frowned now in confusion. "I can't think of another group that would be packing children into droids. Where are they from?"

Kina froze. "Oh... Um..." She seemed a bit bewildered for a moment, but then nodded. "The pilots of the droids are there by their choice. We all argued, strongly of course, but they said it was what they were meant to do." Kina sighed and then focused on the scanner again, "And they are right, but being created to do something doesn't make it a good thing..."

Naomi was now looking at Kina like she had two heads. "They're children. Is it customary to let children make such choices out in the universe?"

"You don't understand." Kina turned to Naomi and there was desolation on her face. "They are not kids, although they act it on occasion. They were created as weapons by a rogue faction within the Republic. We wanted to protect them, let them grow up, lead lives as normal as possible. They disagreed. The training that they... we... received, was horrible but we can make a difference. If only to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."

Naomi scowled now, "Exactly how long have they been alive?"

Kina blinked, obviously fighting back tears. "The oldest is twelve years old now, but... They never had childhoods, just training." She couldn't keep the rage out of her voice.

"I believe that is the point you are trying to make to them. I don't know much about the military and such but I don't believe they do much else but teach one how to fight. You require more skills then that to live. However your letting them go and do their own thing."

"Sort of," Kina agreed. "We are trying to keep them reined in. Too much chance for casual destruction otherwise." Something in her tone said that was not a joke. "They know all about surviving. but living? That is something they haven't ever encountered, so we are trying to get them to loosen up a bit, see things a bit differently, try to live."

"Trying..." Naomi stated simply giving a patient look.

"Look..." Kina snorted, "All they have known is discipline, regimentation, and order. So we are trying to keep them under some semblance of control while letting them experience life." She finished her scans and frowned slightly. "I will need to get you up on a table for the next set. The scanner is built into the table."

"Giving sudden and instant freedom might not be wise. They likely won't know what to do with themselves," Naomi said as she shifted the chair and raised it as high as she could manage. When it was still short she simply wrapped her now hole ridden blanket around her legs tightly and simply pulled herself up with a grunt.

"Oh we know." Kina stared at the blanket covered legs, but only for a moment. "It wasn't the greatest of ideas, but... Well, we had to do something. Having them saying 'Yes sir' and 'No ma'am' all the time got old. Not to mention the saluting."

"Are all of you military or mandalorian on this ship? Maybe a jedi could help with that. They don't get saluted." The kiffar having no idea what a bad idea it was she had just stated.

"Me?" Kina snorted in laughter. "Not hardly. I myself was a med tech trainee on Corellia before..." She broke off, as if unsure what to say. She shook her head. "Before I was taken and enslaved by the people who owned this ship before Sara."

"I'm sorry," Naomi said in sympathy. She certainly did not like the idea of being dragged away from home herself. " that where you got the um..." She made a gesture at the side of her head where on the twi'lek she had the metal.

Kina sighed. "Yes, and as bad as what they did to me, the kids got worse. What's worse is we can't undo it. Some of what was done was so small we can't even see what was done." The outrage in Kina's voice was at odds with her expression of concentration as she ran the scanner.

"Children are wonderful when it comes to bouncing back,” Naomi stated with a knowing air.

"I..." Kina froze, "I wouldn't know. I never had any. And now, well..." She made a vague motion that might have been towards her implants. "I can't, so I guess having twenty small commandos to shepherd isn't such a bad thing."

Naomi raised a brow now. "Are they children or commandos?"

"Well..." Kina sighed, "That is the question now, isn't it? We are trying to figure that out. They think they are commandos and we think they are kids."

"Likely one of the problems. You are all not sure yourselves what to treat them as. Pick one and stick to it."

"Agreed." Kina nodded, then she smiled as she finished the scans. "Clean bill of health Ma'am."

"Well that's good to know. I do like keeping my health," Naomi said as she maneuvered herself back into her chair carefully. It wasn't hard to tell she had a lot of practice at it.

Kina smiled and didn't offer to assist. Like many people, Naomi obviously had gotten used to doing things for herself, however... "May I ask a personal question, Ma'am?"

"You may certainly ask. I haven't promised to answer."

Kina snorted as she walked to a cupboard. She inclined her head in question, "The scans I did show the damage to your body. It's fixable. Is there a reason you have not?"

"Would I be keeping my limbs or replacing them?"

"Either or both." Kina blinked. "Either replaced with prosthesis or you can get implants to mimic the nerves you have lost. Not as good, but more mobility than the chair. You would likely need replacements from the hip down. Is there a reason you haven't had that done?"

"Besides not having the money? I'm rather attached to my legs," Naomi stated.

"Ah..." Kina looked at her and seemed to see far deeper than skin. "Even to walk again?"

Naomi sniffed and seemed to close up like a clam. She got around didn't she? What did it matter if she had working legs or not?

"Dang it..." Kina flushed, "I am sorry that is none of my business."

"If given the choice would you have had those things stuck in your head?"

For a long moment the twi'lek was silent then she shook her head slowly. "This was done to me against my will, to make me a puppet for an insane woman to use. The difference is, I can't hide these and I had no choice. I was trying to give you options, but obviously I have insulted you. For that I apologize."

"So you wouldn't have gotten them if you had the choice," Naomi stated as if that answered Kina's question. "I knew my options very well thank you. I don't require more fixing or help thanks."

"I..." Kina flinched back as if physically struck. "I did insult you and I am sorry."

"You thought you were helping"

Kina shook her head and changed the subject. "Sara said you were to be assigned our visiting officers stateroom, and... Ah, here is your escort now." The hatch to the bay opened and a small figure wearing a white flight suit stepped in. "Naomi Shades, may I introduce Marta. One of our 'kids'."

"Nice to meet you," Naomi said politely.

Marta nodded to the older woman. "A pleasure Ma'am." There was something just slightly off about her voice, as if she wasn't totally used to using it.

Kina nodded to them both. "Marta, if you could escort Mrs. Shades to the Visiting Officer's stateroom, it would be appreciated. Then you need to come back for cleaning duty." Marta nodded. "I am glad to have met you Naomi. I hope we can talk again."

Naomi gave a smile and a nod as she started wheeling after Marta.

((Posted by Setie))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here