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(L,F&E Interlude) Pieces

kalenath's Avatar

08.07.2012 , 09:28 AM | #1
((This is a continuation of the tale of Setsuna Andal. It picks up a number of months after the events in Shattered. Setie has been traveling without a destination the whole time, jumping from freighter to freighter and living out of air ducts. Stolen rations are her bread and water. While she stopped on occasion for problems she kept only the Force as a constant companion and never atold a soul her name. Opting instead for aliases. Now however her running from the Empire has landed a group of smugglers on Corellia with their ship sporting some new blast marks due to an Imperial cruiser. Setie is injured, exhausted, and scared. How much longer can she run before someone catches up with her? How much longer can she fight the seething blackness that's eating her alive from the inside?))


"Command, this is med team 4, we have an anomalous reading. Life signs in sector five. Are all the crew accounted for?" The med tech shook his head as he scanned her readings, this ship was trashed, he had to be sure where her feet were going first. He would do no one any good at all if he fell down a hole or brained himself on a fallen piece of plating.

The Rising Star was a freighter that would be lucky to fly again. Both captain and crew were full of the attack on it. All of them swore up and down that at least three bounty hunters and an Imperial cruiser had been after them. The bounty hunters had been on the ground of their last stop and the cruiser waiting in orbit.

The med tech believed it with the damage and injuries the crew had taken. Though he wasn't sure he believe them when they all claimed to have no idea what the Imperials wanted with them. Then again, this was Corellia. Smugglers were a credit a dozen here.

Command came back quickly. "Yes, team 4, all crew accounted for. What kind of readings?"

The med tech stopped and scrutinized his readings. "Looks like a human, small, and.. whoa it isn't in the main ship areas... maybe an air duct... I may need some help to get at the patient..."

Command's voice was sharp now. "Team 4, hold position. Help is en-route with rescue gear."

The med tech shook his head as he scrutinized the readings. "Command, Team 4. the readings are growing fainter. If I had to guess... our mystery being is hurt, bad. Get them here now."

A clattering heralded the arrival of a pair of beings, a human and a Bothan, both festooned with emergency gear. The Bothan nodded. "Lets get at this mystery person and see what we have..."

In short order, the debris around the closest air duct was cleared away and the two newcomers set to work. The Bothan shoved a wire thin video cam into the duct and nodded as she saw red hair peeking out from a hood. "Human female looks like, young. Probably a stowaway... Lets get her out so we can work on her."

The two humans nodded and the med tech set up his gear as the two rescue technicians worked quickly but efficiently to remove the young mystery person from the duct carefully. They set her down gently and laid her out as the med tech scanned her closely with his gear. he whistled soundlessly. "Wow...'

The med tech was speaking softly to himself as he scanned the girl. "No broken bones, lots of signs of trauma, odd discoloration on what I can see of her face... and... Hmmm... No abnormalities on the scans, but her breathing sounds labored. Lets get her on oxygen, and then we get her to the hospital. better safe than sorry. This ship was hit hard." He reached for the scarf that covered the girl's face.

A hand lashed out then, catching the fingers of the medic that had been reaching for the scarf and bending them back at a painful angle. A pair of green eyes, flecked a bit with yellow, glared out. "Go...away," came a raspy wheeze and suddenly everyone went flying back a good five feet, equipment included.

"Security!" shouted the single medic that was still conscious as he backed away quickly. First rule of any emergency medical personnel, if a scene was not safe, get out of it. A dead med tech couldn't help anyone but the girl was hurt. "Ma'am, I am a med tech. You are hurt, let me help you, please..."

Setie got up slowly, pain radiating from various areas but she managed to get to her feet. She shuffled like a zombie but she was standing. "Stay....away," she managed to get out, she couldn't seem to get her words above the quiet tone. She just didn't have the energy to project them really. "Have to run...hide...can't stop moving... They'll find me...there would be fighting....gotta keep..." She stumbled then falling to her knees a moment before pushing herself back up, heading for the bay doors.

Teh med tech didn't chase her, just kept speaking slowly. "Ma'am. You are hurt. You are not thinking clearly. What the..NO!" He shouted as a pair of armed security troops ran around the corner and took in the scene at a glance. Nothing ticked security troops off more than people hurting medics. They raised their weapons. "You, Freeze!" they cried as both pointed their guns at the girl.

The sound of more boots was heard as more security forces entered the wrecked ship and spread out.

Setie blinked at the men with guns pointed at her but didn't seem to quite see them. "Leave me alone," she said again and kept walking. Just one foot dragged in front of the other. She probably shouldn't have been on her feet but she just kept going.

Two more troopers appeared in front of her. "On the ground! NOW!" Commanded one of them, his rifle at the ready.

Setie seemed to growl then at the them. "I said...leave me alone. Now move...or I'll move you."

The trooper snarled at her. "I will tell you one more time and then I am putting you down. On the floor. Now!" His rifle tracked her as she moved. All the other troopers followed suit and now two more were aiming at her. The med tech ducked as the troopers aimed.

Setie snorted and held out her hand to her right. The guard on the end suddenly levitating into the air for a moment before she swung her arm in a circle. The troopers being scooped up by the unseen like a deck of cards by a dealer before she slapped them into a wall. One of them managed to get a shot off but if she felt the blaster bolt that clipped her left shoulder she didn't show it. "Told move..." she rasped out again as she started taking steps. Still moving but she was weaving and stumbling more.

The distinctive snap-hiss of a lightsaber igniting stopped everything. A blue blade appeared in front of Setie, illuminating the figure of a man in Jedi robes. He shook his head and long brown hair cascaded in waves as he sighed. "That is quite enough of that young lady,” he stated, his voice was quiet and calm.

The yellow flecked green eyes had been tired and almost dead before. At the sight of a saber and a jedi though very distinct emotions jumped into them; fear and pain being the most notable. She backed away from the jedi like a dog might an abuser, even as she lashed out trying to force the jedi away from her like she had everyone else.

The man did not seem affected by her pulse of Force energy. He stared at her, and then, he shook his head and deactivated his saber. "I apologize for frightening you. I simply wished to get your attention and stop this conflict. I am Michael Jonal, Jedi Knight, may I know your name?"

The troops regained their feet and would have pointed their weapons at the girl again, except Michael shook his head. "Leave. Take the medics and go. Now." His voice held command and the troopers obeyed.

Setie shook her head still backing away from the jedi as the troops left. "No," she snarled. "Leave me alone, I didn't...just go away."

Michael sighed as he stood, blocking her way. "I can't do that. You are hurt, you are bleeding all over the floor as a matter of fact. Add to that, you are a danger in this mood. You are tightly controlled, I know you could have killed those troops and chose not to. But you are hurt, and you do need help." His voice gentled, "I am not your enemy, Ma'am."

"Stay away," she snapped and then yelped when she lost her footing and crashed to the floor hard. She didn't move much this time though. Willpower reaching it's limit as just using one arm to lift her up. Her head bobbed like it was heavy to her, or like someone who was fighting sleep. "You can't help me," she managed to rasp out. "Need to keep running..."

Michael hadn't moved from his spot. "Ma'am. no matter how strong you are, you cannot run forever." he sighed again. "You don't like hospitals, I can see that, and I can sympathize. Maybe I can't help you, but I want to try." He held out a slow hand. "Please let me try."

Setie shook her head, remembering what Trugoy said about her pulling defenders to her. She would not condemn anyone to slavery if she could help it. She'd sooner kill them herself. "No," she stated again as firm as she could though her voice still shook. "Go away...before I make you go away."

Michael looked at her, his face serene. "You don't want to hurt me, do you? Well, I don't want to hurt you either. I want to help you, it is what Jedi do. It is our calling, to help others. And you need help. Please... I can help you. if you don't want to go to a hospital, you don't have to. But you do need help."

Every time the guy said the word help it was like a lash on her back. That was how it started after all, wasn't that what Trugoy said? "I said leave!" she suddenly bellowed as she lunged at him, pulling a knife from her boot. If a knife to the gut didn't make him leave then nothing would.

The jedi let her come. He waited until the last split second to dodge and then, with hands that were gentle, but at the same time, impossibly strong, he deflected her attack, grabbed the wrist with the blade to immobilize it and touched her on the back of her head. "Sleep, child, it will be all right..."

Setie mentally cursed as she felt arms catch her while her limbs just shut down. She'd been to drained to even try and resist whatever it was he did. Mama Lizard had done something similar she thought back on Tatooine.

"No...go away..." she moaned out as tears started rolling and control evaporated. "No" she mumbled, then she knew no more.

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

kalenath's Avatar

08.07.2012 , 09:30 AM | #2
It was very quiet in the small hotel room that served as his home. The sole noise was the occasional muted whimper of the slumbering young human female on the bed. Jedi Knight Michael Jonal shook his head as he finished cleaning and bandaging the girl’s injuries. Whatever was wrong with her, she was definitely a Dark Force user. So by all rights, what he should have done was clamp her in chains and call the Council. But there was something in her voice, something in her that called to him. He had felt something reach out to him through the Force when he had seen her first, and had taken it for a mental attack, so he had resisted it. But it hadn’t been, not quite. It had been subtle, and almost insidious, but he had managed to keep whatever was happening from affecting him. And it was odd; he had never felt that kind of thing before. Of course, he wasn’t perfect, and he wasn’t omniscient. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, most Jedi knew they were not. Self delusion was an easy and very dangerous trap to fall into. Confidence in ones abilities was important and necessary for a Jedi, arrogance was a bad thing. So Jedi who followed the Code had to beware at all times.

Michael shook his head as he checked the neurolizer on the girls head and sighed as he saw it working. Jedi were not supposed to hate, but it was incredibly hard not to vehemently dislike the nasty things. The Force was part and parcel to what he was, to deny it to a being, even a being whose face was so discolored from overuse of the dark side as this girl’s was… It hurt. But he had to be safe. He knew it was for the best, she was dangerous, that was clear. Just looking at her, he could tell that she was dangerous, but… There was something else about her, something that teased his memory. Did he know her? He thought hard, and then shook his head. He was tired, he needed to meditate. It had been a stressful day, even before the small ship had crash landed, and the girl had appeared, he had been dealing with Correllians, never an easy thing. If they were not trying to use him in their games, whatever they were, someone was trying to get him out of their way. He really wished at times that the Council had posted him somewhere else, anywhere else.

He looked at the girl again, and his heart went out to her. She looked so sad, hurt and alone as she slept. He brushed a lock of her flame colored hair gently out of her face and sighed quietly. He would do what he could, and if she was beyond his abilities, he would send her to Tython. As he thought that, something passed through him, a tremor in the Force? He stared at the girl, and then sighed. He was tired. He sat down in meditative pose and with a last look at the girl, sank into meditation. He set it to end if she woke and relaxed into the preferred method of rest of the Jedi Order.

But something was wrong, something was off. Instead of blissful, peaceful rest, he saw something. He stiffened, but then relaxed. Force visions were rare for most Jedi. And he was more than happy to let seers do the seeing. The few times he had met seers they had creeped him out and he was man enough to admit it, to acknowledge it and deal with it. But the Force had a will of its own and right now, it wanted him to see something. Something about the girl, so he relaxed as best he could and let it flow unhindered through him. As always it moved in unpredictable ways, sometime flitting here, sometimes flitting there, but always around the girl. He saw her in many places, surrounded by people in armor, surrounded by people in black robes, he saw her in pain, and he saw her in joy… He blushed as he saw her in a bed with someone. He shook his head. He didn’t want to go there! He was no voyeur. The Force seemed to understand, or maybe it was just his imagination, because it didn’t show anything else like that. Instead it showed her fighting, no… training with someone. He blinked nonexistent eyes as he saw someone he almost recognized. It was tantalizing how he was sure he knew the woman who stood beside the girl now, but his breath caught as he saw something else. Something terrifying.

He saw the girl as he had seen her first, face disfigured, killing people with her bare hands. And then, he went still as the scene changed. He saw her surrounded by darkness, clinging darkness that snapped and clawed at her heels as she ran. He saw her tiring, falling and the darkness swallowing her, she fought hard, clawing, swinging, slicing with the blade she had tried to hit him with and then a lightsaber with two blades set in an odd pattern -side by side instead of end to end- but in the end, she was overwhelmed. Her weapon went flying and she was suspended in something. The darkness touched her and she screamed. It seeped into her and started climbing her body. Even in defeat, she fought as the darkness seeped into her; he could see it flowing into her blood and bone as she screamed out in denial and pain. He saw her struggling as the darkness took her over completely and even as it consumed her face, he heard her still screaming in pain, rage and denial. Then…she looked at him, her eyes were wide in fear and pain. She…

He woke.

“By the Force…” His quiet words were startlingly loud in the silent room. His first thought was of the girl. But she was still asleep. She seemed maybe a bit calmer than she had been. The dark discolorations on her face were still huge and, he blinked, yes they had grown, minutely since he had started his meditation. He shook his head, he needed help; this was way beyond his knowledge and ability.

He sighed as he stood and walked to his small secure terminal and started keying up an ID search. That was the first step, find out who she was, then try and get proper help for her. If he couldn’t help her, then the Council certainly could. He had the search ready to go and was reaching for the enter key when the Force seemed to flicker around him. He stared at the image he had taken of her face to put in the search. Had it changed? He stared at it. For just a moment, the discoloration on her face seemed to swell until it covered her entire head, leaving it all dark and evil looking. Her eyes on the screen bored into him, dark and foreboding. He blinked and the image was back to the one he saw when he turned his head to look at the girl on the bed.

Michael Jonal shook his head. He was no coward, but this, something about this chilled his blood. He hadn’t felt that way since… He froze.

“No way…”

He cleared his search and keyed up his files of previous missions. He stared at the face that still scared him, even when it was smiling from the screen at him. The woman who he had met was terrifying in the extreme. He had been called in when the authorities had found a street gang torn completely to pieces, cut into small chunks with lightsabers. There was a distinct resemblance, now that he was looking. He had seen the mark on the girl’s shoulder, he had taken it for a birthmark, but it wasn’t. He had been so focused on the marks of dark side energy on the girl’s face that he had ignored what she actually looked like. He cursed quietly.

“This is going to be a problem…” He looked to where Setsuna Andal was sleeping and shook his head. “A big problem…” He shut down his terminal down just sat, thinking. He couldn’t call this in. If he did, one of the groups that were hunting this girl would hear about it; that had been what the Force was trying to tell him. He wished he knew where Istara was now, but the woman was off the grid.

He shook his head slowly. Nothing else really mattered at the moment, this girl needed help. He was a Jedi, sworn to serve and assist when he could. He would help her and if the Council, or anyone else had a problem with that, tough.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.07.2012 , 09:35 AM | #3
As was usual for Setie she woke slowly and with a groan. She was feeling rather like she'd gotten run over by a speeder, and was starved beyond recall. The room was silent, the only sound was the slight hiss of the air circulation system, but dim light showed a cheap hotel room, comfortable, but not classy.

Setie looked about with mild confusion. Last thing she remembered was attacking that jedi. An inspected showed her wounds had been treated so, unfortunately, she wasn't going to be dying anytime soon. She almost wished otherwise on the grounds of not being miserable anymore. As it was her stomach growled, protesting the lack of food even as she just lay on the bed. Her limbs felt far to heavy to go moving about, at least not yet.

The heavy feeling burned away quickly when she suddenly realized she was missing something important. Where had her scarf gone!? She patted at her face and looked about frantically but didn't see it anywhere. A knock on the door made her squeak a bit and pull the covers up like a children staring at a closet door and waiting for the imaginary monster to pop out.

"Ma'am? Your breakfast is ready,” stated a soft voice. Setie scowled at the door recognizing them. Still, even the greatest of people needed to eat. She stood up and then promptly yelped when her legs gave out from under her. She'd tried getting up to quick and with not force due to the neurolizer on her head she couldn't bounce back from things as well as she might have otherwise.

The door opened quickly at the yelp, but the Jedi didn't enter. Instead, he stood in the doorway with a tray in his hands. He shook his head slowly. "You have been asleep for almost twenty six hours Ma'am, you shouldn't push yourself too hard just yet." The tray floated out of his hands to come to rest on a table near the bed. It held a bowl with what looked like porridge, a glass of some kind of juice and a glass of blue milk. The only utensil on it was a spoon. "Breakfast is served," he said with a smile.

Setie simply glared back for a moment before grabbing the table and pulling herself up. Her legs protested as did a number of her wounds but she ignored them. She had a harder time ignoring her state of dress. While the nightshirt certainly covered everything she felt...well...awkward with her bare legs sticking out. Even if it wasn't all that much. She was kinda short after all.

The jedi didn't move, didn't offer support. instead, he nodded slowly. "What pieces of your clothing that were salvageable are clean and should be dry in a few minutes. The scarf was pretty much toast unfortunately, so I brought a few things that I think might work for you." He reached down and picked up a bundle of cloth and with a gesture, sent it flying to land on the bed. "In that bundle are a couple of jumpsuits that I think are your size and a veil that is the latest fashion here on Correllia."

Setie frowned eying Michael suspiciously. She didn't know much on jedi, she'd only met a few herself. They all seemed more inclined to just stabbing you in the face if that's what they wanted to do. Still she didn't like the thought of the oh so refined one seeing her wolfing down food like a starving bantha. After a minute though she decided she didn't care. Hunger winning out against embarrassment and caution as she pulled the tray over and started wolfing it down. She had to exert her considerable willpower to keep herself from eating too fast and making herself sick. The mention of clothes she eyed the jedi suspiciously again before wrinkling her nose at the bundle.

Micheal nodded at her as she ate slowly. "You know the drill, obviously. Your body has had a number of powerful shocks recently, so take it easy for a bit." He smiled as he left and closed the door. His voice came through the door. "I will be back in fifteen minutes for the tray. You might want to avail yourself of the refresher."

The minute the door closed Setie was up and wolfing down the food on wobbling legs. They held her up thought as she started searching to room for another way out. There was a balcony but it was to far away from anything to jump to, not without her using the Force which she couldn't with a neurolizer on. The sides of the building were far to flat and slick looking to go climbing.

Perhaps the air vents then, she thought as she set the empty dish back on the tray. Juice and milk were gone in seconds and she quickly pulled the fresh clothes on, including the veil. She didn't like the idea of her face being seen. She was simply to easy to identify.

As she hopped about pulling the clothes on though she cursed. The vents were all far to small for even someone as scrawny as her to squeeze through.

"Great..." she muttered. "No exits but the main and that guy's due back soon enough. Guess that leaves bash and run...if I can even manage that on a Jedi." She went to the refresher trying to remember everything her mother had taught her about hiding her thoughts.

Technically it was more making a shield for them out of surface thoughts. Most force users did a type of surface thought scanning without having to seriously concentrate on it. Deeper probes of course required more effort and concentration. They also risked hurting the subject of them so jedi that did such things were few and far between. Among the sith however it was much more popular and Kaosis had taught her daughter to combat sith knowing that it would work on jedi just as well.

Still it took a few minutes to prepare. Having one's mind set on one thing while doing others and keeping the thought of what exactly you were doing away was hard to just do on a snap. So she practiced as she started hunting for something nice and heavy to use as a weapon. She just hoped the Force was with her a bit more than that jedi.

Setie had found a good sized vase that looked promising by the time the jedi came knocking on her door again. She did her best to keep the emotions and thoughts in her head to confusion and worry about what was going to happen. That wasn't particularly difficult, it was more keeping the violent intents and angry fear out that was the problem. She stayed kneeling on a desk right by the door, waiting for the Jedi to look in. He'd have to eventually if only just to check and make sure his prisoner was alright when she didn't answer his call.

True to her estimation of his character, Micheal opened the door. "Ma'am?" He called out as he started looking around slowly."The only way out is through the main living area, the guy who built this place was a bit... strange." He took another two steps in, the door hiding Setie from view until he stepped away from it.

Triumph jumped through her as she was presented with the perfect target of the back of the jedi's head. She swung the vase with as much muscle as she could manage behind it.

The Jedi had been a perfect target. Then he was suddenly not where Setie was swinging. She'd let go a split second to early on her thoughts, letting the jedi sense intent and dodge to the side. He spun around quickly, his hands coming up in trained reflex as the vase shot through where his head had been. His right hand took hold of her closest wrist and gave a slight pull, just enough to pull her off balance and set her up for his left hand to grab her other wrist. A quick pinch from both and the nerves in her hands would be deadened temporarily.

The vase tumbled from her hands as Setie let out a little shriek of pain. With her hands caught she tried pulling on them. Both to try and get free and to try to use him following to make the knee she drove at his gut knock the wind from him that much more.

Micheal made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a groan as he pulled on the girl's wrists. With the wrists in the positions they were in, he had control of the entirety of her arms. A quick twist and the joints locked in place. He didn't need to use the Force for that, he did get a last second warning of the knee strike though the Force however and pushed her away slightly so that her attack should meet nothing but air. He sighed as he held her carefully.

"Look, I don't want to hurt you..." He said cautiously.

"Then let go of me!" she snapped back as she tried to stomp on his instep. Anything to get him to release her.

The brown haired jedi just moved her arms a bit more. "If I do, you will try and run," He stated in a quiet tone. "And if you run, you will likely hurt yourself. And if your sister finds out I hurt you or let you get hurt while on my watch, well... bad things will happen..." His voice was humorous but at the same time a bit wary.

The mention of her sister seemed to crack something in Setie and tears pooled in her eyes. Guilt digging it's claws in her gut that another person had died because of her. What could she have done though? Strengthened chains until Sharlina was little more then a puppet to her own sister's will?

"Sharlina is dead!" she snapped out and tried to kick him again in a sad kind of desperate way. "I killed her...I...couldn't...."

"What?" Michael shook his head. His grip stayed gentle but at the same time it was irresistible. His voice was quiet when he spoke, "No she is not. But these days she calls herself Istara Andal, Setsuna."

Setie stopped struggling then glaring with suspicion. How did he know her name? Oh force had he identified her? How did he know about Sharlina's real name? Her sister had hated that name after all.

Michael took her stopping as surrender it seemed. Making sure she had her balance before releasing her wrists. "She asked the Order to watch out for you, to assist you if we could, when she went to Tython. You are in no danger here, Setsuna Andal. Can you say the same for anywhere else?" He stepped back from her slowly.

Instead of answering his question Setie tried to capitalize on the situation. He wouldn't understand that she was trying to save others from her, not herself from others. Either way worked the same though as she bolted for the door.

Michael shook his head, and then jumped. He landed directly in front of her as she ran towards the door. He held up his hands in a warding gesture. "Setsuna... Please... Just listen for a bit. If you want to leave then, I will let you. You are not a prisoner, this was the only place I could find to hide you on short notice."

Setie simply swore from having to dig her boot heels into the floor as she glared. Something just wasn't right here and she hoped it wasn't her weird...ability screw with the jedi. Though she didn't put it past...well herself. “Hide me? Why are you hiding me?”

Micheal sighed. "I am hiding you because there are a whole bunch of hunters on planet at the moment, looking for you. Every two credit bounty hunter on planet is trying to find or grab you, that isn't the problem. What is are the two 'delegations' that Corellia has received from the Sith Empire in the last two days. Both of which seem far more like Imperial Intelligence hunter teams than actual trade delegations."

Setie's yellow flecked eyes seemed to narrow more from that. "That is not what I asked. I asked why you are hiding me not from what."

At that, Micheal smiled just a little sadly, "Because your sister asked for our help. Do I need another reason?"

The red head gave a snort at that. What did he think she was born yesterday here? "You really expect me to believe that? You're helping me cause you ran into my sister. My supposedly alive and very much a dark side using sister. Asked you to?"

Michael shook his brown haired head. "When you put it that way... Well, yes, I can see your point of view. Hmmm." He frowned in thought. He shook his head. "Well, I can't call her, I don't know where she is or I would have already. But I can show you pictures, admittedly they could be faked as well..." He shook his head again extending his hands, "Hold still..."

Setie jerked back a bit at that, "What are you doing?"

Micheal reached out a slow hand and touched the device on her head. It fell off into his hand. "I hate these things, Jedi are not supposed to hate, but sheesh I hate these things..." He threw it across the room and held out his empty hands now, waiting. "Your clothes are clean, what little you had in your pockets is on that table over there." he slumped. "I wish I could do more, but if you don't trust me, we will simply wind up fighting again. I do not want to hurt you, Setsuna Andal. Your pain calls to me, I am a healer when I can be." He stepped back slowly, giving her space.

"It's not you I don't trust it's me," Setie snipped before slapping her hand over her mouth. As if she'd said something she shouldn't, which of course she had. Drat it all she did want help after all, she just...couldn't take it. She couldn't risk someone getting turned into a slave from her weird power.

Michael sighed, "Lack of control can be remedied. And there is no need to manipulate me, so I ask that you stop trying."

That had Setie digging hands in her hair and pulling on it. "I am not trying to!" Setie yelled at him, frustration and anger punching out of her with it. At least he apparently recognized what was wrong with her. Maybe he'd let her go now?

Micheal flinched, but not from her words. "Oh my..." Now his face was sad, "You... You have no control over it, do you?" He shook himself and seemed to solidify a bit. "You cannot control me that way Setsuna. You have not controlled me that way."

Setie scrubbed at the tears rolling down her face. She didn't much care about the veil right now since the jedi had already seen her face. "You can't keep a defense against it and I can't turn it off. I have to leave...I just have to stay away from people"

Michael's voice was kind now as if he understood the situation. "Setsuna, no matter what, you cannot run forever. You need to figure this out. I can help. You do not have to try to do this alone. Your sister is alive, and she is looking for you. Not because of whatever you might think, but because she loves you. I met her her all of a day and I could see that in the first ten minutes, even without the Force."

"I don't have to run forever...just till I die," she commented. She sounded almost wistful. Defense slipped and for a minute she looked miserable, lonely, lost, and tired.

"No you don't." Michael's voice was quiet, kind. "Setsuna, any power can be controlled, some to a greater extent, some to a lesser one. But what is really important is that you understand the ability. Instinctively you are using it to protect yourself, which is a good thing, and a bad one."

She could feel her stomach twist, think of some of the bad situations she likely had survived because someone else took the hit for her so to speak. "I'll hurt people sitting about with it. Better to just...stay away from people."

Micheal smiled, "This building is abandoned. There is no one else around, I figured it was safer to have you here than a hospital. I thought you disliked hospitals and then I realized who you were. You can't hurt me with that, Setsuna, and even if you were to manipulate me to help you, what would be the point? I already want to do that."
His grin was gentle now, "I am offering you what help I can give you, to attempt to learn to control this ability better. Now, myself, Micheal Jonal, Jedi knight. You have not manipulated me into doing this in any way other than being alone and in pain. I would help anyone in your circumstances Setsuna, it is what Jedi do."

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

kalenath's Avatar

08.07.2012 , 09:40 AM | #4
Setie frowned looking dubious. "I...haven't met a lot of Jedi. A couple that actually weren't turned come to mind."

Michael smiled. "Who? I might know them."

"Damaya Kooladi and Janelle...Fatir," Setie stated her voice cracked a bit on the name Fatir and she grabbed at the pendants around her neck.

Michael froze. "You know Master Kooladi? Is he...?" He shook his head. "None of my business how you know him or from where. But he was a good man. He taught my Padawan class once. And Janelle..." He smiled wistfully. "Both of them are good beings but are not... um..." he was obviously seeking a diplomatic way to say ‘not mainstream Jedi’.

"Opinionated?" Setie supplied with small nervous grin.

Michael smiled a bit self consciously. "That will do. We try not to be, but it is hard, with everything that has happened. I work to stay objective, but it can be next to impossible when people I know and care about are involved. The alternative is to cut myself off completely and that is not healthy either. So... What do we do? The best we can."

"We're all only human," Setie stated with a sigh thinking of how little she felt like one lately. More like some animal or monster people ran in fear of.

Michael nodded. "Yes we are. Well, those of us that are human." He grinned.

The corner of Setie's mouth twitched a bit and a small giggle escaped from Michael's little joke. She clapped a hand over her mouth though, as if she'd let a bad word slip. Nerves still poured off her and she was still very cautious. A stray in a new home trying to figure out the lay of the land.

Michael smiled, no it was a grin."Humor has its place Setsuna. We have to laugh, or we go crazy. Well, crazier."

"I....I'm afraid I haven't had much to laugh about lately," she confessed as she turned to find a place to sit. She was still recovering and likely from the activity her wounds were paining her a bit. She opted for the end of a couch, pulling her legs to her so she was sitting in an almost fetal position.

Michael nodded slowly as he took a seat on the floor nearby, consciously putting himself lower than her. "I understand. Would you like to learn more about the Jedi?" he raised a hand. "I am not pushing anything, mind you, just curious if you want to. If you don't say so."

Setie frowned a bit at that. "Uh...are you sure that's a good idea? I mean...aren't your masters gonna be a bit annoyed about you being friendly to a sith? What do they say about all this to begin with?"

Michael snorted. "If that were the case... Oh wait a moment..." A datapad flew into his hand and he smiled as he keyed it. "Here." He tossed it to land near her on the couch, not close enough to threaten her, but close enough she could catch it if she wished.

Setie gave him a puzzled look as she caught the pad and blinked at it. Her eyes flew open at the picture on it. First because it was her sister in Jedi robes. Secondly because it was her sister in robes obviously training. And finally because Sharlina or Istara as Michael knew her, was smiling. She looked genuinely happy in the picture.

Michael raised a hand. "Now, before you ask, no, your sister is not a Jedi. I don't know exactly what happened, just that all kinds of strange signals were coming and going for a while. But I do know she is not an enemy of the Order. And I am glad; she scares the crud out of me." He grinned a bit self consciously.

"She can have that affect on people..." Setie stated. "She's rather like a piece of candy. Hard shell, soft center and the outside is darker then the inside."

"Well put, Setsuna. Well put indeed. That is very much her in a nutshell." Michael rolled his shoulders and relaxed a bit. "Is there anything you would like to know?"

There was a struggle there, it was in the eyes. She wanted to know but was pulling herself back for reasons unknown. "No, it's...better that way. I...maybe I'll ask her myself. If I ever see her again that is." The tone she took was easy to decipher that she did not think this likely

"I meant from me." Michael smiled. "I will do my darndest to see that you get the chance to ask her. But... In the end, it is your choice that matters. I will not try and compel you. Convince maybe, but not compel."

"You can't compel folks to do things unless part of them already wants to," Setie pointed out. "As for you...well all I know about you is your a Jedi, you know hand to hand pretty well, you are stubborn in this kind of quiet way, believe everyone can be saved, don't mind bending rules to do things, and your name is Michael." She seemed to think a moment then, "Did I leave anything out?"

Michael nodded to each of her points and his face was serene as he met her eyes. "Nope, you covered most of it. I do know that some people cannot be saved, Setsuna, but I do not think you are one of them. This is not the life you want; this is not the path you chose. I want to help you, but I will not against your will."

A quizzical look crossed Setie face as she tilted her head to the side. "What makes you think I didn't choose my path?"

Michael just looked at her, a sad look on his face. Then he spoke softly. "Setsuna, I have fought Sith. Sith who are more... well... What people expect Sith to be. Are you a Sith? I do not see one sitting in front of me. I can tell you are empathic, you... You are a healer are you not?" His words were gentle and the Force didn't press on her, more a caress than a pressure.

Setie looked at her hands and cringed, as if the sight pained her. "I...have some medical training..." she stated carefully. Willpower clamping down on her thoughts and keeping them from him.

Michael sighed. "And yet you have had to fight and kill. Ah... save lives or end them... what a choice huh?" For a moment, his gaze was far away.

"Do Jedi not decide that as well whenever they turn on a lightsaber? Whenever they do a mission somewhere? Force users in general seem to face that choice," Setie asked.

Michael lifted his lightsaber in front of him with the Force and looked at it. "Indeed we do. Choice... A true double edged sword. On one side, we can act one way, on the other, another way. And you know the worst part?" Michael sighed. "When people call you a hero for screwing up and getting people killed."

Setie gave an amused look. "I think I would prefer that to the treatment I get...then again...I suppose it's normal for everyone to try and kill the dark-sider. Since we're supposed to all be monsters and such."

Michael looked at her. "You might be surprised. But... What makes a monster? Is it the ability to do monstrous things?"

Setie shifted uncomfortably then, "From what I can tell. That and being born in the wrong place. Taught in the wrong school...."

Michael nodded. "I thought your sister was a monster at first, and she says she is a monster. Is she?"

"I don't think so. Sure she can butcher people and leave a lot of death behind her but she doesn't seem to really..." Setie trailed off searching for a word. "Drag it out? If she is going to fight and kill you she will fight and kill you. She won't say...go after your family or friends. It's like that's an insult to her to stoop that low. And she's...well...honest about it."

Michael nodded. "The one time I saw her handiwork, I was stunned by the carnage and the efficiency. She tore through a street gang like it wasn't even there. And then she was kind and gentle to a stray girl she found. I don't call her a monster because she understands what she does is bad, it's wrong, but it is needed. She feels remorse, regret, and pain. That girl needed help, she was the only one available, and so she did it. And left me one hell of a mess to clean up." He grinned sourly at the last.

Setie cringed a bit remembering the carnage Sharlina had left behind her when she'd thought Setie was dead during the fight against Zelkin. "Likely that was a bit...tame..."

Michael cringed dramatically. If Setsuna’s reaction was anything to go by what he had seen was mild, very mild. "I don't want to know..."

"This does beg the question of if the ends justify the means," Setie pointed out.

Michael sighed. "Good question. My answer is this, 'Sometimes.' But we always have to watch that first step. It is so easy to slide into expediency. It starts with 'I can use the Force to make this person forget that I was here'. How long until 'I can use the force to make this person give me all their money and go jump in that bottomless chasm'?"

He sighed again. "To answer your question, some Jedi say that the end never justifies the means. Others say it always does. Me? I am somewhere in the middle. If it will help people, I will consider it. But there had better be a very clear reason to do it. Whatever it is."

Setie fidgeted as she seemed to think. She kept her mental barriers up though. " disconnecting someone?"

The Jedi looked at her, and he seemed to see far, far behind her skin. But his face was serene and his voice calm when he spoke. "That is a very extreme case. But if by doing such a thing... lives are saved, or as was the case of Ulik Quel Droma, the war turned in the Republic's favor... That is a good thing, but likely it wouldn't make the person who did it feel very good about themselves. I would not have wanted to be in Nomi Sunrider's shoes right then for anything. That had to have been... horrific."

The red head's lip quivered a bit and tears glistened as she hugged her knees to her chest. "It is...was," she stated as she cracked a little bit and a sob clawed its way out of her.

Michael stared at her, his eyes wide. "By the Force... You had to..." He stood slowly, so as not to frighten Setsuna and held out his arms. "Oh, girl..."

Setie shook her head from where she rested it on her knees. Month of exhaustion making her crack. Pain and loss pouring out of her in tears.

Michael’s voice was soft now. "I don't wonder that you have problems then. May I approach?" He asked quietly.

Setie looked up blinking a bit at the request. "I...guess," she sniffed. "I far I haven't even been able to go slapping you," she pointed out in an attempt to joke and lighten matters. She was far too upset though to put much effort in it.

Michael moved to the couch slowly, a silver cylinder glistening on the floor behind him. He sat down slowly and then, slowly put his arm around the girl. "My god... No wonder you have been such a mess. I can help. Will you let me?" His touch was gentle and his voice likewise.

Setie jerked a bit from the arms around her. She couldn't help but frown at them some and be a bit stiff but that wasn't surprising. She was not use to such treatment from strangers likely. "I just...I just don't want to keep hearing the screaming in my head."

Michael nodded. "I understand. I can help with that. But you will have to actually do it. I have no magic cure for what ails you; it is more some things I can teach you. Ways for you to help cope. But only with your permission."

Setie let out a watery chuckle then, "Didn't you say that's what Jedi do? I didn't realize you needed permission."

Michael made a small sound of amusement. "Do you have any idea at all what you sister would do to me? I need you to empty your mind; you were taught that, right? Focus on what I am saying, on my words, nothing else..."

Setie seemed a bit leery but slowly managed. She'd always had a hard time with this part of things. It was harder still currently with her emotions so chaotic.

Michael's voice was quiet. "Good. Now… I want you to repeat after me... 'There is no Emotion, there is Peace...'"
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.07.2012 , 09:42 AM | #5
"There is no..." Setie stopped then and frowned. "But that doesn't make any sense. I mean sure there's..."

Michael's words were quiet. "Shhh...Setsuna. Don't speak, feel... This is not so much about the words as it is about keeping your mind from being unruly. Again... calmly... There is no Emotion, there is Peace. Feel the Force flow through you, let it flow, don't try and direct it or control it, just let it flow."

Setie sighed a bit and tried to do as Michael told her to. Sith simply didn't let the Force flow. If the Force was a river, Jedi hopped in on a raft and coasted down it lazily, Sith however jumped in on jet skis and started seeing what insane stunts they could pull.

So Setie tried to concentrate on being lazy. Just going with the flow and not having to control every little bit of things. It was like how Damaya said his healing meditation thing worked. She'd only managed that once ever though with...

Focus shattered and quite suddenly things flew about the room a bit before Setie clamped down on control and they all fell down. "Sorry! Sorry I just...I was..." she stated stumblign over her words. She didn't feel like explaining that she was thinking about a dead boyfriend.

Micheal had recoiled just a little when Setie had reacted and then he sighed. But his smile was wry. He continued for her when her speech faltered. "...nowhere near as bad at that as some Jedi I have known. It is probably the single hardest thing Jedi have to learn. You did well."

"I failed," Setie stated in a disgusted tone. A bit of frustrated anger quivered in her. She was always failing things unless in a bad situation. Why couldn't she just not be in a bad situation and have things go fine?

Michael nodded. "Yes you did. But I..." he pointed to himself. " not a Sith. You learn from failures, you learn from mistakes. And..." he sighed. "You learn from every action you take." He looked at the floor and then at Setsuna. "You knew the one you disconnected, didn’t you? Very well?" His voice was gentle.

Setie was quiet for a time before answering that. "Like the tales say Sunrider knew Qel Droma," she said in a quiet and sad tone. "He just....he wouldn't stop..." she added sounding miserable. "I kept begging and he refused."

Michael sighed, "Oh Setsuna..." he said in a sad tone. His face was distanct, like he was seeing something far, far away. "No one can hurt us quite like one we love..."

She looked at him then with a suspicious look. She might not have known much on jedi but she remembered one thing her mother told her about both sides of force users. "I thought force users weren't allowed to care?"

Michael laughed at that, "Mortals don't have an on/off switch Setsuna. If we find someone we care about, then we care about them. Even if they can't or won't care about us. The Jedi Council frowns on relationships, because intense emotion in a Force user can be bad. Very bad, as you know very well it would seem." Michael's face was sad now, "No one says we can't care, we just have to be careful. And being a Jedi plays hell with relationships, even with other Jedi."

Setie gave a bitter chuckle then, "Oh I learned that lesson years ago. Just ask my mother's ghost about how I mangled her arm."

Michael blinked at that, but shrugged. "I think I can help. But... it will take a lot of work, from both of us. We were taught two completely different schools, two completely different philosophies. I think it will work for you. It worked for me, and to hear my old Master tell it, I was hopeless. Every time I would calm a bit. Zing! Off my brain would go in another direction. Drove her crazy, let me tell you..." Michael grinned a bit foolishly.

"I'd skip lessons. Would rather go exploring tombs with my friends. Always drove my mother nuts because I was terrible at them as it was," Setie said. She was sad about the memories but at the same time they made her want to smile.

Michael smiled, "Well, do you want to keep trying? This is about what you want, not me."

Setie looked indecisive about trying again for a moment but then nodded. "I'll...try."

Micheal looked stern. "Do or do not, there is no try." He grinned then, "And I think, with a little help, you can do."

She sighed and did her best to clear her mind. She tried repeating that line Michael told her to. It felt silly though. Like someone trying to stick her in clothes that didn't fit quite right. She kept repeating it though, even closing her eyes thinking that might help a little.

Michael sat up straight. "Okay, I want you to think of an image, something simple. It can be something you see every day, but the simpler the better. A fruit, a jar, a stick, a tool... Find an image that you can focus on."

Setie frowned a moment trying to pick something. Her first thought was the two halves of her pendant, but that was full of memories that would screw with her keeping her mind empty. She couldn't think of the knife or her mother's crystal for the same reason. So she settled on the quartz crystals she'd found practically discarded among the fancier crystals in the collection from Zelkin's outpost on Korriban. They didn't have any bad memories attached to them. They actually represented one of the few things Setie had managed to do correctly.

Micheal nodded even though likely she couldn't see him with her eyes closed. "Now whatever image you have, I want you to focus your mind on. Then we will work on your breathing. Breath in for a count of eight, hold it for a count of eight, then breathe out for a count of eight, like this." He demonstrated, making his breath loud.

Setie's brow creased and she opened one eye, her mind starting to wander away with curious pondering of why they were talking about her breathing and how exactly all this was going to help her. The mental picture of her crystals wasn't gone but it was fading form her head as she opened her mouth to ask about things.

Micheal placed a finger over her lips. "Shhh...Setsuna, be still..." His voice was gentle, but commanding. "Whatever your image, no, don't tell me what it is, just focus on it, not where it is, not what it means, just it. Focus on it, don't let your focus wander. See your image, clearly." He touched her shoudler and something flowed between the two of them, something clear and pure. A bit of a boost to help her concentrate, it had always worked for him when his own mind was unruly. His voice was soft but still commanding as he continued the meditation. "Breathe in, hold it, breathe out."

Setie's focus flew apart then as mental walls jumped up. She glared suspiciously at Michael and scowled. "What was that? What did you do? I saw it so don't try denying it."

Michael froze. He hadn't expected her to detect that small boost of clarity, let alone react like that. "I attempted to calm your mind a little, it always helped with mine when it was unruly. I should not have done that without your permission. I apologize." He sat back away from the girl, cursing silently to himself.

"I can do it. I have to do it myself," she said, the last word coming out a yawn. She shook her head in an attempt to keep sleepiness at bay.

Michael nodded slowly. "You almost had it Setsuna, and it is a hard lesson to get right. But now, you are tired, you should rest."

Setie visibly cringed at the thought of sleep, though she looked wishful of it too. "I'm fine," she said though it was obvious she was far from it.

Michael looked at her, and then he shook hsi head. "You have dreams, don't you? Bad ones." It wasn't really a question.

"Everyone has bad dreams," Setie pointed out. "When you see horrible things you get them more often."

"And you have seen enough horrible thigs for two or three lives." Michael agreed. "You need sleep, Setsuna. I can make your sleep dreamless if you wish."

Setie shook her head immediately. Thoughts of attackers popping in on her blissfully passed out filling her head. Plus that would have left her mind wide open for anyone to root through.

Michael sighed. "No one is going to attack you Setsuna, not while I am here. And it is justyou and me. Woudl youa ccept my word as a Jedi that I will not probe your mind? It would be distatefulf or me to do it anyway. I don't enjoy such things."

Setie gave him one of those disbelieving looks again before pointing at the lines on her face. "I would think you'd realize these are not gained by me trusting a strangers word. Though you are...a good guy I guess, you are still a stranger Michael."

"Am I?" Micheal asked quietly as he met Setsuna's eyes levelly. Then he nodded slowly. "Would you trust pharmecueticals then? I have a selection here, I had no idea what I would need so I brought a bit of everything.You need the sleep Setsuna."

Setie shook her head again. "I can't...I always....I just can't. Medicines dull reaction times, and total sleep drops the defenses...I can't."

Michael nodded. "Mental defenses or physical ones?"

Setie wrinkled her nose in mild confusion. "Both, after all if you're really in a restful state of sleep then you are not at all aware of your surroundings and people can just sneak in and..."

Michael nodded and laid a gentle hand on Setsuna's shoulder. "No one will attack you while I am here. Sleep, Setsuna..." The Force flowed through his hand, gentle but irresistible as it swept through the weaving girl's body.

Setie tensed feeling the force move and tried to shield herself against it. Her will was at it's limit thought just trying to keep her up and resistance crumbled in moments. "Stubborn...jedi..." she mumbled as she fell but could feel arms catch her again. One of these days, she really had to stop winding up in those. People might get the wrong idea. For a moment though she let herself imagine they were someone else's arms and it was ok for her to land in them. "Marik..." she whispered, such longing in the name that it broke the heart as she tumbled into shattered dreams.

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

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08.07.2012 , 09:43 AM | #6
Michael sighed as he lifted the girl easily; she was almost nothing but skin and bones. He carried her to the bed and laid her down gently. Then he covered her with a sheet and, after a moment's thought, touched her on the forehead. "Rest well, and dreamless, child..." He said as he exited the room and turned out the lights.

He walked to his terminal and sat slowly. This was dangerous, what he intended to do, but Istara needed to know that her sister was safe. And if he was careful, he could set the transmission up in a way that would be next to impossible to trace. He started planning out his moves carefully, that was his preference, planning then execution. When he had to work from the seat of his pants, trusting the Force, sometimes things worked out and sometimes they didn’t. He had a basic sequence planned out when he sensed something odd. He blinked, trying to figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t a threat, not to him or to… He blanched as he heard it. A voice in his head, screaming. Screaming in a familiar voice. Help me. Someone help me please, help... Setsuna!

Michael jumped up and ran into the room where Setsuna was sleeping. One look at her sweating face had him cursing himself. She was in the grip of a nightmare! That wasn’t supposed to be possible. He had warded her; he KNEW he had warded her. What had happened? He shook his head and assumed a meditative position beside Setsuna’s bed. He touched her head gently and then…

Michael sighed as his spirit form materialized in a dark place. Sounds came from all around, horrifying ones, but if the Jedi noticed at all, it was unapparent. "Setsuna?" He called softly, so as not to frighten or startle, but strong enough to be heard. He heard something. The sound of a girl crying but it was mixed with an almost maniacal giggle. Michael strode into the darkness, casting out with his senses. "Setsuna... Where are you?"

Something was very wrong. That giggle was getting louder, but so was the pleading. "Help me! I can't..."

Michael froze, something he sensed...Something bad. "Setsuna...?" He asked carefully as he cast out with his senses now, worried. The pleading cut off suddenly on a shriek and the infernal giggling remained. Michael shook his head. "Setsuna, it is all right. It will be all right. Come on girl; let’s get you out of here..."

There was silence then and something moved in the dark, circling like a shark. Whatever it was kept giggling, like a child with a secret and it started chanting. "Tick...tock....tick...tock...."

Micheal closed his eyes, relying on the Force rather than his eyesight, which was clouded here. "Setsuna, stop. Please. Wait... Oh my..." His face went white as he sensed what was circling him. Now his face turned sad. "Oh Setsuna..." His voice was quiet, horrified.

The thing that stepped out looked like Setie, a very twisted and crazy one that kept giggling. "What are you here for jedi? The killer or the savior? Not allowed to have both."

"What did they do to you?" Michael's voice was horrified. But then he steadied. "I do not know what you ask, child. I wish to help Setsuna if I can. You are her, but... You are not the one I know." He studied her carefully.

Something yanked hard on his robe then from behind. It was another Setie? This one lacking the twisted corruption but there was complete terror in her face. "Run!" she said yanking on his robe desperately. "Run!"

The darker Setie growled then. "Why don't you both just DIE!"

Michael shook his head. "Running doesn't help, Setsuna. It never does." He placed himself between the two of them. As always, Jedi stood between darkness and those it would threaten, even when they didn't really have a clue what they were doing.

"If she dies, so do you." Michael's voice was soft. "You are part of her."

"Nonsense," the darker one sneered. "That's hardly the real me sitting there. Just the infernal morals and control that she refuses to just drop. What do we care anyways? Not like any of you ever cared about us!"

"I can't say that. I never knew her or you before now. I laid eyes on her two days ago. And I care because I enjoy caring. It makes me feel good, to help other people. We never knew about you. If we had, things might have been different." Michael met the dark Setsuna's gaze serenely.

"Such a liar you are jedi. You speak as if you know things when you have no idea at all," she sneered at him. The uncorrupted one tugged again on his robe, still mumbling for them to run. The dark one gave a twisted grin and held out two fingers, a bit of blue dancing on them. "Would you like to find out?"

"No!" shrieked the other one as she suddenly charged the dark one, knocking her down.

Michael stared from one to the other. He felt danger but from where? He wasn't sure what was going on, except the dark Setsuna's fingers were dancing with the Force. "How do I lie? Have I lied to either of you?" He searched his memory, but couldn’t find any untruths he had spoken.

The pair seemed to be talking with the same voice but arguing with each other. "Would have killed us, imprisoned us." "Helped us, taught us, sheltered us." "Caged us...."

Michael nodded. "Jedi do not kill when we can help it. Each death diminishes us. You bear horrible burdens. I want to help you, Setsuna. Help me to help you."

"It doesn't matter. I can't stay..." The words trailed off as if interrupted. "They're coming...have to run, have to hide....get away!"

Micheal stiffened. "No! Setsuna... Don't run...!" He stiffened, but he was alone. "I can't protect you if you run..." He trailed off in defeat, but then straightened himself and started walking, casting out with his senses to find where Setsuna had gone. He would not stop looking, not now. The girl needed his help, now more than ever...

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

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08.07.2012 , 09:50 AM | #7
Setie was scrambling and panting. How long had she been running? Did she know? Not really, she only knew she was tired. Part of her wanted to stop but if she did there would be problems and she knew it.

A startled voice came from somewhere nearby. "Hello...? Who are you?" The voice was young and concerned.

Setie fumbled in her steps as she tried to turn and see who spoke, stumbling and falling on her side with a squeak of fear as she tried to get away.

A small form stood nearby. Goggles and a filter mask proclaimed the being to be a Kel Dor, by her, yes definitely a her from the voice, size she was maybe ten years old. She wore brown robes but she didn't move. "Um... Hello?" She asked a bit hesitant.

Setie blinked a bit at the kel dor. She stayed silent for the moment and seemed ready to bolt any minute. The fact that the alien was a child though put her a bit at ease. "H...hi? Um....aren't you...kinda young to be here?"

The Kel Dor snorted. "My teachers keep saying 'Size matters not'. Oh..." Her body language turned embarrassed. "I didn't introduce myself. My name is Diseree. Diseree Mak. You look... lost..."

"N....Nice to meet you," Setie stammered out. " guess you could say I am."

Diseree sighed, "Well, lets get you unlost then, shall we? This isn't really the greatest place to stand and chat..."

" it's not...I...I have to go," Setie said glancing over her shoulder as if some hunter might pop out of the shadows at her. "I...I need to hide..."

Diseree tilted her head quizzically then, "Hide where?" Indeed the huge plain that stretched out around them was utterly featureless. "No matter how far you run on this plain, you won't get anywhere. I hate that part of this stuff... It makes no sense." Her voice was tart now.

Setie looked about, as if she was trying to watch every direction at once and failing.

Diseree snorted again. "Oh relax... If anything nasty were to come along, I assure you I wouldn't let it see you, let alone consume you." Diseree sat in a meditative position. "I tell you what, I know this isn't real, but it sure feels good to be out of a bed for a change." Her voice held a small bit of wistfulness now.

Setie chuckled a bit, though there was a nervous note to it. "I haven't slept in a bed for months. Normally I'm squished in an air vent dozing. I...don't remember the last time I slept without being knocked unconscious."

Diseree sighed. "Yeah, I know the feeling. Being sedated that is... Stupid healers, just because I can't get to sleep when they want me to, they drug me." She had a tinge of outrage in her quiet tone now.

Setie seemed to shrink away then. If the girl disliked healers she worried what would happen when the kel dor found out she was one. "You don't like healers?"

Diseree shook her head. "No..." She mused, "They are doing what they think is best. But by god it gets annoying. Sheesh... Listen to me prattle on... I sound like someone's grandmother."

"It's ok...I don't mind," Setie said with a small smile. "I'm...far to use to silence myself."

The Kel Dor nodded, "Silence has it's... Freeze," She spoke quietly but with command in her voice. "Don't move and don't speak."

Another presence appeared nearby, but not a being. No this one was a dark cloud. A voice came from it, a voice Setie recognized instantly. "Where is she, Diseree?" Idjit of the Bladeborn's voice was cool, almost disinterested.

Hearing him reminded Setie of the last time she had seen him. Pleading with her to save the woman he loved and her own sister. Setie had refused him then, the first time she'd ever refused to help someone in her life.

Diseree spoke evenly from where she sat, "Where is who, Idjit?"

Idjit sighed and the energy that played across the surfaces of the cloud seemed to dance faster. "Don't play with me, 'Jedi'. Where is she?"

Diseree shrugged. "I sent her back, this is no place for her."

Setie just stared, almost afraid to breathe thinking Idjit might hear.

Idjit's voice was sad now. "Diseree... Istara is going crazy, she sensed Setie here on the plain. You can explain to her..."

Diseree interrupted him. "Of all the people in the galaxy, Idjit, you are the absolute last person she would likely want to see."

"I know." Idjit's voice was soft, filled with regret now. "I know... I messed up and it cost both of them. I want to make it right. Diseree... please tell me you know where she is? Please...?"

Diseree shook her head, "Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you. You would just betray her again."

"I...Okay, whatever." Idjit sighed, "If you do see Setsuna again... Tell her I am sorry... Tell her..." he sighed again. "Just tell her I am sorry..." With that the cloud winked out.

Diseree let out a deep breath, "Wow... that was... um... interesting..."

Setie let out a breath and plunked onto her rear end. "To think that is not the most frightening person after me..."

"True." Diseree nodded slowly. "I cannot imagine what you have gone through, what you are going through. Just 'seeing' it is bad enough. You are a very brave person, do you know that?"

"No...I'm not," Setie stated. "Brave people don't go running. I can't do anything but run though."

Diseree shook her head. "Right now, no. Although if you give Michael a chance, he might be able to help you. Even if he is a bit over impulsive and ham handed on occasion. His heart is in the right place, he really wants to help you."

Setie seemed to pull away again. "I..I don't...I didn't..."

Diseree sighed, "I know who you are and what you bear. And I don't care. Maybe we can help you, maybe we can't, but at least give us a chance to try? I know you have no reason to trust Jedi, especially after what that idiot did. Really, knocking you out and not bothering to see if his defenses would hold first...? Sheesh..." Honest outrage for Setsuna's sake came from her now.

“I...I'm sure he was just...worried," Setie commented.

Diseree shook her head again. "He was a moron is what he was... Should be busted all the way back to Padawan for such a stupid gaff. Endangering you like that. Yes, he probably was worried, but he had no right to do what he did."

“Well he's....about I suppose," Setie commented as she looked about.

Diseree shook her head. "No he is not. He is still trying to find you. Hold on a moment..." She spoke loudly. "Get your fat human tookus over here Mike!"

Michael appeared near Diseree, his face a study in shock and surprise.

Michael looked at the Kel Dor, then he slumped. "I might have known... You are the only one who calls me that. Hello Diseree..."

Diseree fixed him with a glare that showed even through her goggles. "What were you thinking? Were you thinking?"

Setie snorted and covered her mouth trying not to laugh, but her humor was transmitted over the plain easily. The sight was actually quite comical, this small Kel Dor girl telling off a large strapping Jedi Knight.

Michael stiffened and then slumped, "I... No... I guess I wasn't... I am sorry..." This last he directed to Setsuna.

"You are an idiot." Diseree though was not mollified. "You could have driven her mad. You could have left her to walk this plain endlessly. How many times must we tell you fools? Leave this stuff to people who know what they are doing." Diseree's voice didn't rise in pitch, but her tone conveyed disgust quite easily.

"It's...It's ok. I never get lost here really. My....mother always said you just had to think of places to get to them. I just...didn't want to be found," Setie said feeling bad for getting Michael in trouble.

Diseree shook her head slowly. "Ok, then. Mike get back to your body and expect a contact shortly. I need to talk to this one for a bit." Michael shook his head and Diseree stood quickly. "Mike, go or I am going to drop kick you there. Don't think I won't."

Michael sighed, "Diseree, she is my responsibility."

Diseree seems to glare out of her goggles. "Fat lot of good you are doing her. Do you really think she is going to come to harm in my presence?" Michael shook his head and then vanished. Diseree growled where he had been, "Idiot..." The Kel Dor looked at Setsuna then. "He did mean well, even if his methods were sloppy. You do need sleep. I can give you restful sleep, uninterrupted by dreams. If you want me to. I won’t do it against your will. I certainly won’t knock you out against your will."

Setie frowned, still unsure how to handle all of this. "I....I guess...that's ok...." she said carefully. "I just...I'm tired...and scared. I am so sick of being alone but being otherwise....I can't be otherwise..."

Diseree's voice was kind now. "You don't have to be alone. Would... Would you mind talking to me sometime? I...." She suddenly slumped. "I know about being alone. My master is missing, and I am sick. Everyone is kind, but... They are all Jedi..." Her voice was sour now. "I like to talk to new people. I want to talk to someone who doesn't breathe the Light Side of the Force..."

"What makes you think I don't?" Setie asked curiously. She had been doing her best to hide herself on this plain as it was.

Diseree looked at her, "Um... no offense, but you haven't started spouting about how if I follow the dark path 'forever will it dominate my destiny' or some such..." She was obviously smiling as she said that. "And I find it... refreshing."

Setie cringed at the comment. She'd been fighting that for her entire life after all. That jedi thought it was inescapable made her less inclined to like being around them. "Well...I can hardly say that when I rather hope that isn't the case."

Diseree shook her head. "Well, you do need sleep. And... I would like to talk to you at a later date, if you don't mind. This is the only way we can do it though; I am sort of stuck where I am..."

"I...guess that's the least I could do for you. Since you hid me from Idjit. do you know him anyways?" the red haired human asked. After all she was rather under the impression that Bladeborn were loyal to the emperor and as such they wouldn't be talking with jedi.

Diseree snorted. "Long story. Short version, he helped me get away from some very bad people once, and he taught me first about being a Seer. For a Sith, er, a Bladeborn, he is not all bad, even if he does lack sense sometimes. He and I have, well... corresponded, especially when Istara was here on Tython."

"Had you spy on her for him huh?" Setie asked. For some reason the thought made her feel a little better. Istara was hardly alone without her in the universe. Soon enough she might forget about Setie, aside from the occasional thought about the blood sister wandering somewhere out there.

Diseree shook her head. "No, I trust him about as far as I can throw a black hole. And he knows it. No, he simply wanted to make sure she was okay. He does care for her, even if he shows it in incredibly stupid ways sometimes."

"He...definitely does care," Setie said remember how he'd pleaded for her to heal Sharlina...or Istara depending on your point of view. It was the first and only time she'd ever seen a sith reduced to that.

Diseree sighed as she sat back down. "You need to get back. Do you want me to keep your dreams at bay? I can." Her voice was quiet and gentle now.

Setie sighed then, "Only if you can and if you're not tired yourself. wouldn't be good for you to hurt yourself when your sick."

Diseree snorted. "I knew it, you are a healer too aren't you?" The Kel Dor shuddered dramatically but her tone was humorous.

"I did receive medical training yes. It was one of the few things I was good at. Mainly I think they taught me anatomy hoping I would use it to learn where to hit the hardest," Setie said with an apologetic smile.

Diseree looked away for a moment, and when she spoke again, her voice was quiet. "Thank you for your concern. It's not... sickness per say, more a weakness that the healers cannot identify a cause for. And it is physical, not mental. I cna make your sleep dreamless while you are with Mike the Moron." The last was teasing.

"There are dumber people in the galaxy, trust me," Setie commented bitterly.

Diseree nodded. "Do you want to sleep now? You will wake refreshed."

Setie nodded cautiously, "I'll sleep now."

Diseree stood up, opened her arms and walked slowly to Setsuna. "I know you are not a huggy type of person. But this is the best way. Do me one favor though..." Her voice turned almost pure ten year old now. "Call him Mike..."

Setie frowned looking puzzled, "Why?"

Diseree's voice was serious now. "So it will remind him to keep his focus on what he knows how to do. You could have died, or worse from what he did. And it will twit him a bit too keep him from getting too big for his britches."

Diseree gave Setsuna a hug and the Force pulsed through her. Then the human was gone and the kel dor sighed, speaking to the empty air. "That is one great kid you have there, Kaosis."

"I prefer to think I have two," the ghost said materializing. "Though they are far from children. They both had childhood stolen from them."

Diseree nodded slowly, "Your daughters are amazing. I hope to have half their strength when I grown up."

"Hope that they both handle the trials before them. I know I do," Kaosis said staring off with a worried look.

"I do. You know... Being a seer really sucks." For once Diseree's voice had no humor in it.
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08.07.2012 , 09:53 AM | #8
Michael Jonal was not a happy man. He had messed up, he knew that he was human and humans made mistakes. But it bothered him badly that he had messed up in such a fundamental way, and then to have his charge rescued by Diseree of all people. He didn't mind Kel Dor, but... The seers always gave him the creeps, and there was something just plain wrong about a ten year old who could do that kind of thing. Michael shook his head, this was pointless. He had meditated on what he had done, and what he hadn't done. Now, he was ready to take his lumps from Setsuna for knocking her out against her will. He has sat in the chair beside her bed all night, just to be certain that she came to no further harm. He felt the tendrils that came from her through the Force and sighed. Was she waking? He hoped so.

Setie groaned a bit and blinked her eyes open slowly. She looked puzzled for a moment and then seemed to curl up, like a cat just adjusting position instead of a human waking up.

Michael smiled bit sadly as he spoke. "Good morning, Setsuna. How did you sleep?"

"Like the dead...half tempted to go back to it," she commented before stretching and sitting up. She certainly look much more rested than when she had arrived.

Michael smiled. "You can if you want. Unless you have a pressing appointment somewhere?" He smiled to indicate that was joke. He nodded. "You look better. I... I apologize. I thought I knew what I was doing. I was wrong." He met her gaze calmly, ready to accept whatever recriminations she threw at him.

"You were trying to help. I know I've had that blow up in my face a number of times," Setie stated with a sigh. Obviously she was thinking of a specific time and it pained her but she buried it quickly. "I can hardly fault you for that."

Michael nodded. "Well, I had a thought, if you don't mind. I know how you feel about cages and I understand. This place is a cage. A safe cage, but a cage nonetheless. How would you like to go out today? I need to make some calls, explain some of my actions, and I can't do that from here. I thought we might, I don't know, go to a mall..."

Setsuna looked at him oddly. "Aren't you worried about people finding out I am?"

Michael nodded. "There is an element of danger to what I propose. However, with care, we can minimize it. I was actually..." He broke off, looking a bit sheepish.

"You were actually?" Setie asked looking curious.

Michael looked embarrassed. "Well, Jedi are supposed to be beyond vices, and we are supposed to detach ourselves from things like earthly pleasures, but there is this really cool ice cream treat that Correllians make called a sundae... I um... I think I am addicted to them."

Setie blinked a bit and then laughed a bit. It seemed so spontaneous and free for a moment before she got self conscious about it. "Using me as an excuse for ice cream huh? How evil of you," she teased.

Michael shrugged. "I know, I know. Once down the path of ice cream you trod, forever will it dominate your taste buds..." His grin was wicked.

Setuna shook her head, apparently unsure how to respond to his gentle teasing. "And to think I never got to try any. It's...not something they hand out really on Korriban."

"Never?" Micheal shook his head. "Hmmm... We have to remedy that then." His grin was wide as he stood up from the chair. "Take your time; I will have breakfast ready for you in about ten minutes. Hmmm... I think the veil and one of the jumpsuits would work as a disguise..." He grinned. "You can even eat with the veil on, it’s a fad." He walked to the door before turning back to her. “You look much better this morning.” He smiled and left the room.

It was more like fifteen minutes later when Michael was finally ready to serve the food. He shook his head slowly as he laid the plates on the table. “A chef I am not. Sorry…”

Setie gave a small, nervous smile as she took a seat. "I'm sure it's fine. I've been living off rations for months here after all. I think you could have burnt it all and I would still be happy with it."

Michael shook his head. "Rations have their place, but when we can eat better, I like to. It's not really decadence either; it’s just that real food is real food. It's actually better for you than rations all the time. Rations are okay, just not a balanced diet." He cut his pancakes into pieces and doused them with syrup before setting the container back on the table for Setie to use if she wished.

Setie kept her small smile in place as she pulled a plate over. "That makes sense I suppose. I wasn't much of a cook either. I was supposed to get lessons after..." She stopped then, her face crumbling into one of pain and sadness. She remember that little dream with Marik. How they were suppose to get married and go back to Dantooine. "After...things...."

Michael shook his head sadly. "I am sorry, Setsuna. Um... Actually, I need to ask you something."

Setie looked up from where she had been pushing her food around her plate. Thoughts of Marik killing her appetite. "Yes?"

"Is there something else I can call you? If we are out in public, I probably don't want to be bandying your real name about. Not with all the hunters around." Michael let her take her time. He wouldn't rush her on this; her pain and grief were still raw. She needed time to come to grips with them, and he would give her that time as best he could. Jedi were not supposed to attach, but he was no stranger to grief. Not in the middle of a war.

Setie frowned, and then scowled. "I had an alias on Coruscant. I don't think anyone knew it yet. Morada."

Michael felt something odd from Setie. He looked at her. "Are you all right?" He asked carefully. The name didn't fit her, but then again, he mused, that might not be bad thing. It would keep people from associating Setsuna Andal with the woman in the veil.

"I'm fine," she lied as she shoved food in her mouth. It tasted like ash to her but it gave her a reason to be silent.

Michael looked at her, but then he shook his head. "Something about that name feels wrong. As if..." He shook his head. "I don’t know, but I don't think I can call you that."

"Alright...what name fits me then from your eyes Michael...Mike..." Setie frowned then "Which one do you prefer here by the way?"

Michael snorted. "She told you to call me that, didn't she? Silly girl." There was obvious affection in his voice however. "Either will work, actually, Mike is more common so we can go with that." He shook his head slowly. "As to what name fits you... Hmmm... How about Siara?"

Setie wrinkled her nose at the name she didn't really care for it. "If...that's what you prefer," she stated biting her tongue.

Michael shook his head. "No... No that doesn't fit you either... This is harder than one would think..."

Setsuna blinked and then smiled as a thought came to her. "How about Nomi then, from the old tales?" After all Nomi Sunrider had not had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination either.

Michael looked at her and then he smiled. "That works, and actually, its not an uncommon name in the Republic these days. Nomi... It fits you well." He shook his head. "There is a lot about her that never made it into the tales, if you would like to hear it sometime."

Setie nodded a bit, "I think I'd like that...Mike."

"Any time, Nomi..." Michael smiled as he took another bite.

((Posted by Setie))
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08.07.2012 , 09:54 AM | #9
<Two hours later>

It had taken some careful planning and maneuvering to get the two of them into the mall unobserved by security cameras, but the end result was worth it. It was actually fairly quiet in the ice cream parlor of the mall he had taken his companion to. Maybe it was just a slow day, or maybe there was a holiday of some kind he had missed? Michael shook his head and smiled. It didn’t really matter, Setsuna was enjoying herself and that was all that mattered now.

He grinned. “Good stuff.” He spoke as he polished off a big bite of his sundae.

Setie, or Nomi as she reminded herself she was to be called in public now, had to admit the Jedi was right. The sugary treat that was an ice cream sundae was tasty and addictive. Plus there was no end to the combinations of what you could have. Either way, she thought the universe might get along a little better just talking over a shared bowl of ice cream...then again likely a war would explode for the last dollop of it.

Michael smiled as he finished his own sundae. "Worth the wait?" He looked nothing at all like himself. A civilian suit and some hair dye had turned a Jedi into a respectable looking businessman.

"Very much so," Setie replied. She was thankful for the veil then for she knew she was flushing under it a bit embarrassed that something so simple as a nice guy thinking to take her out for ice cream would make her feel just the slightest bit better about life. "Thank you...I never...thank you."

Michael smiled gently. "It's okay. You really have to encounter ice cream to believe it. I need to send that message, but I can do it from here I think." He nodded to a secure com booth against a wall.

"Who are you sending a message to anyways?" The veiled woman asked curiously.

Michael sighed. "The um.. person we encountered before..." he was careful not to name names here, who knew who might be listening after all. "...she will be reporting what happened. And well, I goofed, big time. I have to tell people that I am alive or they might come looking for me, and that would be bad right now."

"Oh," Nomi said but her mind kept going. "I am guessing it would be bad because said people are Jedi and might not like me?"

Michael shook his head and spoke softly. "No, I don't want them leading any of the people who are hunting you to us. And I want to let your sister know that you are alive and whole. She was driving herself crazy."

"No!" The girl snapped loudly, causing a number of people to look at the pair and her to cringe. "I mean please don't. If you do, she'll come looking. People know she's looking and...just please don't."

Michael looked at his companion for a moment and then sighed. He looked around and the curious stares went elsewhere. "Okay, as you wish. It seems cruel to me, but... I understand."

"I agree it is cruel, but you've met her Mike. What do you think she will do the minute she hears where I am?" The girl was slumped now, obviously distressed even through the veil.

Michael bit back a laugh as she called him that. It sounded so strange coming from her. But then he frowned. What she said made sense. "I know. She will cut through anything and anyone in her way. Single minded, that is her."

Setsuna nodded slowly. "Exactly, and how many people do you think are tailing her hoping she'll come across me? Hundreds likely. Like I said, it might be cruel but its better this way."

Michael slumped but then nodded slowly. “Dozens at the very least. Your point is taken. I will not contact her.”

Setie, or Nomi depending on your point of view, stared curiously through her veil at all the confectionery cold treats under glass. "How do you ever pick one?" she asked Mike as she looked up at him from her position.

Michael smiled. " I will tell you a secret, I pick them at random. I have yet to find one I don't like. I need to send the message, you want another sundae?"

"I couldn't possibly. I'm sure my stomach will pop if I eat any more," her tone and the pleasure rippling off her told him she was grinning under the veil. "Unless you are really trying to make me as big as a Hutt."

"Not today." Mike smiled as he stood. "This won't take long."

"Who did you say you were sending it to anyways?" Nomi asked curiously.

Michael sighed a bit. "My superior. I dropped right off the grid, if I don't send some kind of report in, people will start looking for me, and like I said, that might be bad. I won’t say anything about you, just that I will be unavailable, so one of my compatriots will have to handle the routine stuff for a while."

Nomi frowned and mild distress crept out under the hood. "Are you...going to get in a lot of trouble because of me?"

Michael smiled. "Nomi, this is what we do, help people. No, I will not get in trouble for helping you. If they think I got myself kidnapped or killed, then yes, that might cause problems, so better to let them know I will simply be… unavailable for a while."

"But I'm..." she had to cut herself off from saying 'a Sith'. "Not normal," she stated instead.

Micheal snorted loudly enough to have several of the nearby people looking at him, but his eyes were on Setie. "Who is?" He asked gently as he stood up. "I will be right back."

Mike was true to his word. Less than five minutes passed before he returned to the table. "Well, that is done. And I sent it through a number of filters so no one should be able to trace it to here. But just to be on the safe side, I won’t use this terminal again."

Nomi got up from where she'd been sitting carefully. She'd simply been watching the people while Mike had been busy.

Michael nodded to her. "Yeah, we should go, better not to be too visible I think..." Then he smiled. "We can come back."

"I'd like that...though I keep getting stared at," Nomi said with mild annoyance. "I hate it when people stare."

Michael nodded slowly. The veil was common enough on Correllia, but people, especially humans he mused, seemed drawn by what they couldn’t explain immediately. Even if it was incredibly rude for them to stare, most humans couldn’t seem to help themselves. Luckily, they couldn’t see through the veil or there would be major problems. He made a small flick with his wrist and a sign on the far side of the parlor fell over with a clatter. All eyes turned to where the sign had fallen.

"Lets go... I don’t like being stared at much either." He confessed quietly.

Nomi followed and a bit of surprise shook off her from his comment. " don't seem so strange. Well for a Jedi I suppose."

"Why thank you Ma'am." Michael said with a wide smile as he led the way towards the exit.
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08.07.2012 , 09:58 AM | #10
Michael led the way back into the abandoned building that served as their hideaway and sighed as he closed the door. "I know how you feel about cages, but this is safer..." His voice was apologetic as he took off his cloak and hung it up.

Nomi reached up pulling off her veil. Since it was just them, no cameras, and Mike had seen her plenty without it. Keeping it on seemed quite silly. "You keep saying things like that," she said quietly, studying him carefully.

Michael stopped as he was pulling off his muddy boots to change into indoor shoes, "Like what?"

"Well...down on the street you made the comment that you didn't like it when people stared either," she pointed out. "I mean there's a certain amount of staring that goes with being a force user I suppose but seemed like more than that."

Mike nodded slowly, he worked hard to keep calling her Nomi in his mind, and then maybe he wouldn't let her real name slip. He smiled a bit sadly as he sat and indicated a chair nearby. "I told you about how it feels to be called a hero when all I did was get people killed," he said with a quiet tone.

Nomi hung up her things and grimaced a bit catching the reflection of her face in the mirror. She remembered his comment and remembered talking of monsters. "Yes I do," she said looking at him with a worried expression. She sat in the chair he waved her to. "What happened?"

Mike looked at her but he didn’t see her. "It was four years ago, just after I had been posted here. Correllians are... Well... Strange is probably the best word for them. They have this thing about crime. As long as no one is hurt, the public doesn't seem to care. It doesn't help that a lot of holo-vids that have come out recently have been about heroic bank robbers and such drek."

"Eh...I'll take your word for it," Nomi said after a moment. She was curious about this, she'd never heard of a holovid in her life. It wasn't like there was many such entertainments on Korriban when she was growing up.

Mike nodded, "Anyways, there was a spate of bank robberies, by amateurs. Idiots for the most part, the kind of people who write a note telling the bank teller to give them money on the back of one of their own checks with their address on it. Those kinds of robbers are easy to catch. I wish the one they called me for had been so simple..."

"Things went badly I'm guessing?" Nomi asked as she pulled a chair over and sat before shooing him to the seat next to her.

She didn't seem to be conscious about jumping into the role of caretaker oddly enough. It was more like she was use to sitting and listening to other people's problems. She was simply so use to it that she thought nothing to putting aside her issues to help another's.

Mike sat with a small smile that never touched his eyes. "You could say that. I was called to a hostage situation. It was a family, those robbers. They needed money for medical treatment for the mother so the father came up with a cunning plan, rob a bank..."

"People do stupid things for their loved ones," Nomi stated in a far to knowing voice. "Things went badly I take it?"

Mike nodded, "It might not have been bad if the first guard they encountered hadn't been a veteran of the Correllian Militia. She didn't take kindly to people running into her bank with blasters. She opened fire, they returned fire. She had a blaster pistol; they had rifles and body armor. A minute later, two guards were dead, the two other guards and several civilians were injured, and the daughter of the genius who thought up the robbery was mortally wounded."

"Just made things worse didn't it?"

Mike gave a pensive nod then. "Oh yes. The Militia responded to the veteran's call, she had hit her communicator before firing. But by then she was dead and the Militia troopers were mad. The family was mad and trapped in the bank. They had brought explosives to blow open the vault if they had to. So they wired the hostages and started making demands."

"They tried to blast their way out and you were forced to kill them weren't you?" Nomi said setting a hand on his arm in sympathy for being stuck in a bad spot.

Mike sighed. "If only it had been that simple... No, they were not complete idiots. They knew the Milita had snipers all around. But... I was asked to mediate. The Militia was too enraged to talk to them, that guard had been liked. The politicians didn’t want a bloodbath so close to election time, so they ruled out an assault. Good thing too, the ways the people were wired..." He shook his head; just the memories obviously bothered him.

Nomi didn't say anything, just squeezed his arm and set another one on his back, rubbing small comforting circles.

"I managed to get the father talking. He was an emotional wreck, but I got him talking. It took eight hours, but I managed to convince them to surrender. I was standing in front of the bank to take them into custody. They came out, unarmed, unarmored. When they were too far out to run back in, the Militia snipers cut them down." Mie shook his head. "One of the snipers was the brother of the first guard who had been killed. He fired, and the others took their cue from him. I had felt something wrong, but I didn't act on it... And so they all died. The youngest one lived long enough to look me in the eyes and ask me 'Why?' And then he died. I have never been so close to the Dark Side as I was that day. And then... They called me a hero."

His voice was soft now, "After all, I lured them out of the bank. I lured them away from their detonators. I saved the lives of the hostages, and no one cared about the kids who had simply been doing what their dad told them to do... Except me."

Nomi wrapped her arms around him then, hugging him. "You didn't feel at all like a hero though. You felt like an executioner."

"It wasn't my fault," Mike said quietly. "I knew that then, I know it now. But it does not change the feeling. I could have done things differently. But I did not, and now, I have to live with what happened. I...I got a lot of stares and whispers behind my back, for a time. But scandals come and go, and my notoriety fled with the vids. Thank the Force." He smiled at Nomi. "Thank you for listening to me prattle."

"It still hurts you," Nomi said as if that explained everything. "Even without the rest of them shoving it in your face. You still feel those deaths like they happened yesterday."

Mike nodded, "Death for those who cannot feel the Force is bad enough. For those of us who can? Who are empathic or caring? Those wounds hurt far worse than any physical wound."

Nomi flinched at his words but she squeezed him again before letting go. "One could argue it's better never to care then I suppose."

Mike sighed and shook his head. "No, it’s deceptive. You would think that it would be better not to care, not to love or be loved. But... In the end, cutting yourself off hurts worse. I... um... I know..." He said a bit sheepishly.

Nomi rose a brow at that. "Care to share?" she asked before frowning. " really don't want to I suppose."

Mike smiled a bit sourly. "I made a fool of myself, after that incident. I cut myself off from people so thoroughly that the Council sent a healer to make sure I was okay. And she...well... She was quite vocal about the dangers of being too detached. I really wish you could meet Nolikas, I bet you would like her." He snorted. "Anyway, if you detach yourself too far, why would you get involved at all? What would you care about? Or would you only be caring about yourself?"

Nomi frowned at the thought. "Depends on the person. There are....people out there. They need others and use them. Like tools or armor." Like her...

Mike nodded slowly, "Indeed. It can be a delicate balancing act at times, but I personally believe that cutting oneself off from others is a bad idea. Humans in particular are social animals and seem to do better when able to socialize with others."

Nomi looked at her hands then before balling them into fists on her legs. "Well...for those that are human."

The Jedi's voice was gentle. "You are. You just haven't had a lot of chance for social interaction it seems." Now he looked at the girl his gaze was speculative. "Speaking of which..."

"What?" Nomi asked looking suspicious again.

Michael's voice was soft now. "Have you ever been to a holo-vid?"

Nomi blinked in confusion now. Obviously she had not been expecting that question. "Uh...what does that have to do with anything?"

Mike smiled. "You need to have time to relax. Everything a mortal does. And... I happen to know where a good holo-theatre is in this area."

"Relax? What do you mean? I relax. I mean sure I've had a days but running about would attract attention wouldn't it?" She sounded nervous at the idea. Large numbers of people looking about, the possibility of being spotted...

Mike looked at her. "Ok, when was the last time you relaxed?"

"Um..." Nomi had to stop and think for a moment. "About… a week ago?" she said, it was an obvious and horrible lie though from how she fidgeted saying it.

Mike just looked at her. "Being unconscious doesn't count." His face held a small smile. "I think... I think it would be good for you, to get out, to see more of life than what you have, to see some of what you have missed. We can make it so you are safe doing so. It will take some work, and we may have to do it tomorrow, but would you be up for it?"

"If...if it's safe yes," Nomi said cautiously. "I don't want to cause trouble."

Mike smiled. "I think we can handle it. Tell me one thing... Have you ever worn makeup?"
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here