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(L,F&E 70) Judgements passed in Darkness

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 70) Judgements passed in Darkness

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 03:36 AM | #1

Juli Shanas woke and for a moment, was unsure of where she was. She had expected to wake in a cell, or at the very least bound to a medical berth. That was the usual disposition of prisoners after all. She cracked her eyes and stiffened. She was in Medical. But she was not in an isolation ward or sterile chamber. She was in a private room. That was unheard of for a common crewmember. Not that she really was, even before she got in trouble.

A soft voice spoke from nearby. “One Thirty Seven?”

Juli turned her head to see a form sitting in a chair beside her bed. It wasn’t anyone she knew. The young Trandoshan was female, and was watching Juli with odd almost tender smile on her face. “Good morning, I am Two Sixteen. Will told me to sit with you, he said you might be a bit disoriented. He wanted to be here, but he was called away.”

Juli sank back into the bed. Trandoshans were generally hard and cruel, but not all of them. L’Trask, the chief medical officer of the ship was one such. Her voice was hoarse when she spoke. “You are new?”

"Yes I am." The Trandoshan nodded and held out a cup of water. “Here. You need fluids. I was um…Well…” To Juli’s amazement the lizard woman chuckled ruefully. “I was a mess, Will gave me a place. Much as he did you. I have wanted to meet you for a while. But not like this.”

Juli took the cup carefully and sipped slowly. She felt odd, but put it down to whatever drugs the doctors had used on her. She finished the cup and smiled as she handed it back. The Trandoshan took it and set it carefully on a table nearby. Juli spoke softly. “So when do I get moved to detention?”

"Ugh." The Trandoshan sighed. “As soon as they are sure you are tracking properly. Will is… um…”

"Incensed I bet." Juli sighed as well. “My fault, not his. Don’t…” She grunted as something hurt.

The Trandoshan laid a gentle claw on her flesh and blood shoulder. “Easy… They put you through the ringer. I have never seen Will so upset. He is scary enough as it is. Get him mad…” The Trandoshan shuddered a bit and Juli nodded. The Trandoshan sighed. “As soon as you feel up to it, I will help you to the refresher. Then the guards will come.”

Juli nodded slowly. She sat up carefully, cataloging her body’s aches and pains. For the most part, she didn’t feel bad. She felt…good, for the most part. But that was probably drugs. She could see red marks from injections on her arms and could feel sore spots elsewhere. She was shaky when she stood however and only the Trandoshan’s gentle claws kept her upright when she did manage to get to her feet. She was steady by the time they reached the shower stall. She cleaned herself quickly, and was unsurprised to find a clean unarmored ship suit, one of hers, waiting for her when she finished. She was a trifle muzzy headed as she finished putting the clothes on, but ignored it as she ignored the pain that still echoed through her body. Two Sixteen helped her back to the bed and helped her sit.

The Trandoshan’s voice was careful now. “They are under orders not to bind you. Will um…”

"Of all the..." Juli shook her head exasperated. “Sheesh, that man… I know the crew won’t hurt me. I am more worried about my birth father and Istara.”

"Relax." Two Sixteen smiled, a toothy Trandoshan grin that was somehow kind. “Neither is in any danger. Nine is looking after them.”

Juli sighed and nodded. “I am ready.”

The Trandoshan nodded and hit a button on her comlink. The door hissed open and two armored forms entered, a male and female. Not Mandalorians this time, but Stormhawk marines. Juli actually might have preferred Mandalorians. She knew she was in trouble, big trouble. She when she rose, it was slow and careful. She had to grab the side of the bed to steady herself but then stood up straight.

The girl nodded to the guards. “Now?” The guards nodded silently and Juli turned to the Trandoshan. “I… I…uh…need some help…”

"Right." Two Sixteen nodded slowly. “L’trask told me what to do. Are you sure…? You can take what time you need…”

"No." Juli shook her head. “If I don’t do it now, I will never have the guts.” She held her arms out wide and stood impassive as the Trandoshan came close. She flinched slightly as cold Trandoshan claws found hidden switches and her mechanical right arm came off in the Trandoshan’s grip. She managed to curb her reaction as the Trandoshan did the same for her left arm. But then she froze as the young Trandoshan embraced her.

The lizard woman spoke for her ears alone. “They will be waiting for you, sister. Have courage. We will be watching.” Juli’s eyes went wide as she stared at the Trandoshan who was withdrawing now. But then she smiled. Will was always collecting strays, like herself. If this Trandoshan was also now a Kalenath, well, that would make life very interesting. For lots of people…

Juli nodded to the guards. “I am ready.”

The female guard nodded and the male guard opened the door. Neither spoke as Juli strode to stand between them, and then they all marched off. An odd procession, but the rules had reason, and circumventing them was never a good idea, even for the best of reasons. None of the crew they passed would meet Juli’s eyes. Not that she was surprised. She had transgressed. The guards led her to the detention bay, but instead of a detention cell, they led her to an office and sitting in a chair behind the desk…

Juli braced to attention as Stormhawk Boss sat up from his slouch. Boss’ voice was soft. “I will take it from here.” The marines saluted and left the room. Juli felt the door hiss shut behind her, but it was more of a clang of iron bars and heavy chains dragging her down again. Boss indicated a chair. “Can you sit on your own?” Juli snorted and sat carefully. Boss snorted just a dryly humorous. “Silly me. We need to talk.”

"I..." Juli sighed. “Yes we do.”

"One Thirty Seven..." Boss shook his head slowly. “What did they do to you? I see the cosmetic surgery. But the docs found traces of… well... Scars and residue of interrogation drugs.”

Juli nodded. “The scars I mainly did to myself. Stowing away on the Dragon hurt, and then I stowed away on another ship. The drugs… the Bladeborn did not want to interrogate me. But Imperial Intelligence would not take my word for what little I knew of this ship. So I asked the Bladeborn to wring me out.” She was sure she had shocked the armored form.

When Boss spoke, it was careful. “You asked a group of Sith to interrogate you?”

"Well..." Juli grimaced. “Yeah, put that way, it does sound insane. But the Bladeborn are not Sith. You of all people know that. If they were, would Sharlina have rescued Maria? I asked Istara to pull and bring the record from that interrogation. Your techs can determine if it has been sliced or not. Just, word of advice… If you watch the video, don’t eat beforehand.”

Boss stiffened. “You… You watched it, yourself?”

"I had to." Juli nodded. “I didn’t know anything about the ship, just what was in the library. I did that intentionally. I knew I was going to go after my dad. And that he was working for the Sith. But… I had no idea. I am sorry I insulted you Boss, and I didn’t mean to… I really didn’t mean to… I wasn’t inciting to mutiny, really I wasn’t.”

"I know." Boss sighed. “Ah, Juli. What am I going to do with you?”

"Whatever you have to." Juli slumped. “Whatever you wish. I know what the rules demands.”

"Oh?" Boss snickered. “And wasn’t it you who said that they were more ‘guidelines’ than actual rules?”

"Look." Juli sighed. “I know I have to face the crew for what I did. I could have put them in danger. I could have incited unrest. I didn’t mean to, and I was trying not to.”

"I know..." Boss nodded. “For now, you will remain in detention until we can convene a hearing. Are you okay?” His voice held worry now. Juli had gone a bit pale.

"I can't scratch my nose..." Juli was shaking. “I had forgotten… I had forgotten how bad it is to not have arms… I…”

Boss shook his head and then he hit a control. The camera above the door stopped humming. In an instant, the helmet came off and Hala was kneeling beside Juli’s chair. “Ah, Juli…” She hugged the girl who was trying hard not to cry now. “You are crazy. Come here, girl.” Her armored fingers found Juli's nose and scratched carefully. "Better?"

"Yes, but..." Juli was shaking her head as she leaned into the embrace. “You shouldn’t do that. You do it too often and people will figure it out.”

"I don't care." Hala Shinn Kalenath shook her head. “The day I do not comfort one of my sisters who is in pain, I devoutly hope someone plugs me. This is going to be rough Juliana Shanas Kalenath. But we are with you.”

"Hala... No..." Juli shook her head. "You have to remain neutral. You have to be Boss. Please Hala… Boss… I…” She shook herself and her face smoothed into a mask of concentration.

The woman who had assumed the mantle of Stormhawk Boss sighed and strode back to the desk. “Go ahead and cry, Juli. No one doubts your courage.” She put the helmet back on and her mannerisms changed back to the aloof and mighty Stormhawk Boss. The camera came back on as Boss sat again. “Go ahead and cry girl. The crew will want to hear what you have to say. We will handle you and…Istara’s request first.” The armored form’s voice was dubious.

"I have done all I wanted to do." Juli sighed. “I have seen my dad and forgiven him for hurting me. That is all I wanted to do. Everything else is just bonuses. But I have to say this, Istara means well, but she doesn’t understand the ship, or it’s crew.”

"I know." Boss nodded. “That is why I had Nine take her in hand. The Guardians will deal for awhile without their den mother.”

Juli blinked. “The who?”

Boss had a smirk in his voice when he spoke again. “You will meet them soon enough. For now, you go into a cell.” The door hissed open and the two marines came in again. Juli let them help her to her feet.

Juli halfway expected to be tossed into a force cage, but again, the crew didn’t do as she expected. Instead, she was led into a larger cell, one designed for comfort. It had a bunk, a small refresher and a comfortable looking chair in it. The guards assisted her into the chair and then left. But as they were leaving the female guard nodded to Juli and spoke. “Basic terminal is active on voice commands. It is standalone. But we know about you and being bored.”

Juli had to snicker at that as the guard nodded and left the cell. The force field crackled to life and she was alone. For a moment, she just sat, trying to think through everything that had happened. Then she sighed. “What do I say? Computer?” To her delight, the terminal nearby hummed to life at her word. “Sweet!”

“Command not recognized.” Came a disembodied voice. “State request.”

Juli smiled. It seemed that computers still had no sense of humor. “Dejarik level five, game mode six.” A holoscreen appeared in mid air nearby showing a Dejarik board with pieces ready. Now the girl grinned. She might just enjoy parts of this imprisonment.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 03:45 AM | #2
Juli had not been at the game long before she had a visitor. Her attention however was on the game. Finally, she trounced the computerized opponent and looked up to find a Cathar in a flightsuit scrutinizing her. The girl sighed. “Hello, Nine. I thought you were shepherding Istara and Cole.”

The former leader of Silver Squadron, the Stormhawk’s prime ace fighter squadron shook her head slowly as she tried not to stare at the mechanical stumps of Juli’s shoulder and arm. “I am, they are meeting Boss at the moment. He didn’t want any more distractions than absolutely needed.” The Cathar shook her head again. “Wow, One Thirty Seven. That gives a whole new definition to the term ‘disarmed’.” She said with a grin.

Juli sighed again, this time long suffering. She had forgotten the Cathar’s sense of humor, if you could call it that. “Very funny. Are you here officially?”

"Yes." Nine nodded. “Aw girl. If you had gone anywhere except an Imperial ship, this wouldn’t be such a problem. As it is though…” She shook her head and pulled a folding chair out of a hidden closet. She sat near the force field.

"Nine, you don't understand." Juli shook her head. “Bladeborn are not Sith, Nine. They served the Empire, they don’t anymore. But they were never Sith.”

"Of all the..." Nine slumped in her chair. “One Thirty Seven… Semantics aside, they served the Sith Empire. Yes, Istara, or Sharlina, did us a great service when she saved Maria. Then she sent all the information and the test subjects she had rescued. So yes, we owe her a great deal. But that is her. She was not one of the ones who tortured you.” Now the Cathar looked sick.

Juli froze. “You saw the recording.” Nine nodded. “Did Boss tell you it was my choice?”

Nine blinked. “He did, but I didn’t believe it. You are serious…? You asked them to do that to you?” Nine, a proud and blooded warrior and pilot, had very nearly lost her lunch watching what the girl had endured.

"Yeah." Juli swallowed. “I really didn’t have any idea going in what was entailed. But it did what I wanted. It showed the Bladeborn and by extension Imperial Intelligence that I knew nothing about this ship. Except the library. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but they were kind to me. Both before and after. They didn’t need to be. I was a complication.”

"Well, they did one thing we never managed to." Nine smiled slightly. “I see they talked you into getting your face repaired.”

Juli grinned a little self-consciously. “Yeah, they did. Took them a while though. Ona, their healer, has all the give of a rock. She could give L’trask or Hawkir a run for their money in sheer quiet stubbornness. Although she is not always quiet.” Now her smile was tender, she liked Ona.

Nine sighed. “One Thirty Seven…” The Cathar looked away and when she looked back, her face was set. “The crew is setting up a full court. For your case, for Istara’s and for the Jedi that Will caught.”

"I...see..." Juli’s eyes went wide at that, and then she swallowed audibly. She slumped. “You will need to keep Will away. You know what he will do.”

The Cathar sighed again. “One Thirty Seven, no one is going to shoot you or space you. And not just because of what Will or your birth father might do. But we cannot have people just disregarding the rules like that.” The fighter pilot’s eyes pinned the girl in place. “You up and vanished on us. Some of us thought you might have taken a walk out an airlock, girl.”

"Oh." Juli bit her lip. That thought had not occurred to her. “I…” She shook her head. “I am sorry. I never thought of that. I just… Aw man, Nine, he is my dad…” Her eyes burned but she ignored them as she focused on the Cathar.

"I know, girl." Stormhawk Nine smiled sadly. “I know. Will told us as soon as he found you. But…Well, you know how he feels about people hounding what he calls his ‘kids’.”

"He wasn't happy when he found me." Juli winced. “Yeah. So… when?”

Nine blew out a breath. “As soon as Boss is done talking to Istara, Will and Cole.”

"I am okay with that." Juli shook her head. “I bet that conversation is going to be loud.”

"Ya think?" Nine snickered. “Probably. But before that, we are going to fit you with a pair of arms, not the special ones you had made but regular prosthesis.”

"Nine?" Juli blinked. “Do you have to?”

Nine stared at her. “One Thirty seven…” the Cathar’s voice was careful now.

"Wait..." Juli shook her head quickly. “Nine hear me out…” The Cathar shrugged and nodded. Juli spoke evenly. “If I have arms, you have to bind them. It’s required for a court, right? You do know what Will is going to do if he gets there and I am in chains, right?”

Nine swallowed audibly. “You know, I hadn’t thought about that. Good…point…” Will’s feelings about the foundlings he took in were strong, as strong as any the soldier had. And he had made his position on seeing any of them in chains quite clear.

"Right." Juli nodded. “But if I am 'disarmed'…” She grinned. “What can you bind?”

"You know..." Nine just shook her head. “One might actually think you planned all of this.”

"Planned?" Juli made a grunting noise. “I wish. More like I just fall into things. I do have one request though, if it is allowed.” Nine looked at her and Juli slumped. “I would ask for Istara to stand with me. I know my father can’t and Will… Well, he will be there. But asking him to remain neutral in this is not going to work.”

"Ah..." Nine shook her head slowly. “One Thirty Seven… You are asking us, the crew to open ourselves up to a Sith. Maybe she isn’t really one, but that is what they will think you are asking.”

"I know." Juli nodded. “I do know. But I think she would be the best choice. She knows me, and I trust her. Will cannot stand for me, and my dad… Well, that wouldn’t be such a good idea. He is a good father, but rules are not his strong suit. Istara has followed her code almost her whole life. You tell her the rules, and she will abide by them.”

"And..." Nine stared at Juli. “And if the crew does decide on punishment?” There really was only one type of punishment for this kind of crime. Death.

"If they choose that?" Juli slumped. “Then she will make it painless. And… I…” now tears were falling and she dashed them away on the shoulder of her jumpsuit. “I trust her, Nine. She won’t like it, but she will do it.”

Stormhawk Nine nodded slowly. “I will ask. That is all I can do. But now, we have to go over what you are charged with.” Juli nodded, but remained silent. “The charges are insubordination, AWOL, dereliction of duty, and consorting with enemies of the ship. How do you plead?”

Juli met the Cathar’s eyes. “Guilty.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 03:54 AM | #3
Stomhawk Nine was shaking her head as she strode to her next meeting. That girl was downright stubborn. As scared as One Thirty Seven was, with reason, she was sticking to her course. She was not lying, evading, or anything. She was guilty, and everyone knew it. But WHY she was guilty, that made this whole situation stickier. The Cathar sighed. Give her a stand up fight, even with horrific odds, and she would be happier than this muddled mess. She had handled some odd things since the crew had drafted her as their representative after her predecessor was killed, but this… This took the cake. She shook her head again. She had never understood that human expression, until now.

A worried voice startled her out of her musings. “Nine?” The Cathar looked up to see a young looking green skinned Twilek standing nearby. She didn’t look over fifteen. It was hard to believe that the mind inside the body was over nine hundred years old.

The Cathar pilot smiled. “Guardian Three, what is up?”

The Twilek smiled a bit sourly. When Nine had formed Guardian Squadron, she hadn’t really had a long term plan. It had mainly been an excuse to get the fourteen of them –and herself- flying again. But she had learned. These were not kids no matter what their bodies looked like. All of them were incredible pilots. Of course, since all of them had been infused unwillingly into computer systems running starships for up to fifteen hundred years, she supposed they had been forced to get good. To survive that long, even in Islanian ships, took skill. But once the squadron had been formed, she and they had worked out some basic rules. Numbers instead of names, like the rest of the ship. Not for the same reason, these beings had no family except each other now, and Nine. But they wanted to fit in as best they could. So they used numbers as identifiers when in public. Private was another story entirely.

Guardian Three nodded. “We need to talk. It’s um…”

Nine nodded. She had expected this. “You heard.” It wasn’t a question. “I am sorry I have been so busy.”

Guardian Three shook her head, her lekku trailing gracefully. “You have a lot of jobs, not just us. We understand. But… We need to talk.”

“Come on, let’s go.” The Cathar put her arm around the Twilek’s shoulders and the pair started off. Guardian Three leaned into the embrace as they walked. The Twilek’s lekku went some odd places and Stormhawk Nine shook her head. The head tentacles withdrew. But the Cathar couldn’t help but smile. The girl was insatiable. No one dared actually sleep with her, and her flirting was getting more than a bit intense. “Three… It is not helping, is it?”

"No, the drug Hawkir found helped for a bit, but now I must be used to it." Guardian Three sighed. “No. I don’t understand. None of the others are having this problem. It… It is almost like I am in heat, but… not… You know? This is… icky…”

Nine had to grin at that. Ancient this being might be, but she was definitely still a kid. “I had a thought actually.”

Three grinned at her. “Scary.”

Nine snickered. “You stop that. Listen…” Her voice became serious. “There are Twi’Lek females aboard. The docs can’t find anything wrong with you. Would you mind talking with one of the Twi’Leks?” She felt the small form at her side stiffen a bit.

“I…” Guardian Three’s voice was pensive now. “I guess. I don’t want to be like this… I really don’t… It was fun at first, but now…”

Nine nodded and hugged her step-daughter. “I know. If you want, I will sit in.”

Guardian Three smiled at the Cathar who had stepped in when the being who had been her mother in almost every way had died. “Would you? I would appreciate it.”

The mismatched pair came to a door and Three opened it. Inside was a standard briefing room that was anything but standard. Twenty chairs around a central table with holo projector, that was normal for a pilot’s briefing room. What was not was the music player that sat near one wall. But what really made this room different were the beings that sat around the table, eyes on the pair as they stepped through the door and shut it behind them. Fourteen pairs of eyes tracked Nine as she strode forward.

When she had started this craziness, they had insisted on military style discipline at first, jumping to attention and all that. But she was uncomfortable with formal military protocol, never having been in one herself. She had tried, for their sakes, to adapt, but they had decided fairly quickly to relax a bit. They liked Nine. Not all were sure that they trusted her, but all of them liked her. She understood.

Nine sat in her accustomed spot at the round table and nodded. “You all have been incredibly patient with me, thank you.” Guardian Three sat nearby but didn’t speak.

Another spoke up, her voice soft and worried. “Nine… Is it true that the Bladeborn are here to seek an alliance?” Minerva was human, raven haired and blue eyed, she was striking in many ways. And no matter how old she looked, she was the eldest of the former Islanian slaves, having been stolen from her colony over fourteen hundred years previously. Hard to imagine the petite teenager as an ancient implacable starship, but Nine managed. Minerva in a bad mood was… scary. Funny, she had taken the number Guardian Nine. Did that mean anything? Stormhawk Nine wasn’t sure.

Nine nodded. “I don’t know for sure. But One Thirty Seven said that was likely the case.”

All of the beings around the table stiffened. And then all eyes turned towards the young Twi’Lek Three, who flushed. “I…” She shook her head swiftly. “Look, they are not all bad. They could have taken me apart, destroyed me when they found me. Sure it would have cost them. Oh they could have just bombarded my hulk from orbit. Even as buried in the mountain as it was, they could have done it. It would have taken a while, but they could have managed. They were not Sith. I thought they were at first. I was wrong.”

One of the other, a human male who had taken the number Eleven spoke up. “What happened to you? Gaia never said.”

Three slumped. “I messed up. I was…” She shook her head and then relaxed as Nine rose and walked to her side. The Cathar started massaging the Twi’Lek’s shoulders. Three didn’t look up. “Thank you Nine. This is hard for me. I… I tried to die. We all wanted to die… But I was alone…And... The programming was broken.” A stillness swept the room and Three’s words echoed. “I figured an uncontrolled reentry would do the trick, and if that didn’t work the crash certainly would. I was sick and tired of being alone. And then… I woke up… The ship was stuck, buried in the mountainside. The damage was too much. I couldn’t get free. The drives were gone. Physically gone.”

She was babbling now and Nine kept up her massage. “I was… I was incoherent. I slept a lot. Then they came. The Bladeborn. On seeing black robed forms I freaked. I stayed quiet, played a dead hulk, bided my time until I could build a self destruct. And then a little four year old girl tried to explore a cave. She fell down a tunnel shaft into the heart of my innards. Both of her legs were broken. Her arm too.” Now Three was crying. “She was so lost and alone in the dark, hurting. She was trying so hard to be brave, and she was so alone. I had to help her. So I did.”

No one spoke as tears started falling down Three’s face now. “I knew it was a bad idea. But I couldn’t just leave her. So I played a dumb machine. I picked her up, cleaned her off, set her fractures and she just wouldn’t shut up.” Three chuckled ruefully. “I finally resorted to sedating her. And then the search party came. I had to think fast. So I pretended to be a somewhat limited artificial intelligence with medical programming. It didn’t work...”

<Planet Kuria, four hundred years in the past>

“Sheena? Where are you?” The worried voice echoed through the caverns as the robed form strode forward, his handlight and his sense stretched out. The man was careful, checking each step. This are of the cave had never been explored. He could sense the girl, somewhere. She was in pain. It was muted, but she was hurting. But something… He couldn’t quiet pinpoint her. Around him he could hear and sense the other searchers exploring the area.

“Identify.” A cold artificial voice had the black robed man freezing place. He looked around, nothing.

“Who is there?” He asked, his weapon in hand now. The steel handle of his blade comforted him as always.

“Intruder is requested to identify. Countermeasures online and tracking.” The voice seemed to be coming from up ahead and he started that way slowly and carefully. Then he froze again as something whirred in the near distance. Whatever it was must have been mechanical because there was no sense in the Force. But the Force was screaming at him, danger, danger. All around him, he felt his kin also feel the danger and start to converge.

The man spoke softly but clearly. “My name is Will Robinson, warrior of the Bladeborn. Who am I speaking to?”

The voice spoke again. “I am Advisor. You seek the yougling who was lost.” It was not a question.

The man in black blinked. “Yes.” He said carefully.

The disembodied voice spoke again. “For what purpose?”

Now the man in black snarled. “She is my daughter! Where is she?”

The voice replied. “She lives, injured. Take four steps forward and then turn left.”

The Bladeborn shrugged and did as instructed only to come face to face with the hatch of a starship! “What the…”

The voice spoke again. “The child lies within. She is sleeping currently. Her fractures have been stabilized but she will require more advanced medical care than this unit can provide.” The hatch hissed open and the man stepped in cautiously. It was unlike any ship he had ever seen. Very similar to Sith and Republic designs, but not… quite. He followed the instructions he was given until he reached a small room with a bed and on it…

The girl looked up at him with scared eyes. “Dad…?”

The man shook his head. “Sheena… When you get better I am so going to spank you. I told you not to explore alone.”

Sheena was crying now. “I am sorry Dad…” He picked her up careful not to jar the splinted legs or arm and carried her easily. Neither spoke until they had left the cave and the other Bladeborn were gathered around them.

When the Bladeborn who called himself Will Robinson spoke it was soft and scared. “Contact Trugoy. We have a major problem. That is an Islanian ship buried under there…”

<The present>

When Three had finished speaking, for a long moment no one spoke. Finally Eleven spoke again. “What happened after that?”

Three sighed. “Their grandmaster came and talked to me. He knew what I was. But I had my self destruct finished by then. It was weird though.” She laughed sourly. “He asked for my help. Mine. And not for information, or secrets, or technology. But to train his students!” She was chortling. “To say I was stunned is inadequate to describe it. It took awhile, but he convinced me. They are good people for the most part. Hard people, not very nice people, but good people.”

All of the other Guardians stared at her and then at Nine who shrugged. “Istara is…well… She is different from any Sith I have met. And you do know that Trugoy is dead.”

"Yes, we heard." Three nodded sadly. “He was a creep. But he did have the welfare of his people at heart. Even I could tell that.”

"I don't fully understand." Minerva, Guardian Nine, spoke again. “Do they still serve the Empire?”

The Twi’Lek, Three, spoke again. “That is the odd thing. Their loyalty was always to Trugoy, whose loyalty was to the Empire. Now that he is dead… Well, I have never met Istara. She has a massive task ahead of her to be grandmaster of that group. But their loyalty will be to her. Period. If I learned nothing about them in the time I dealt with them, I learned that.”

"So..." Stormhawk Nine blinked. “If she were to say that their loyalty was now to the Stormhawk…?”

"She will mean it." Three nodded. “Anyone trying to get them to speak about it would get killed. Messily.”

The Cathar smiled. “You know… That gives me an idea…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 04:05 AM | #4
Stormhawk Nine was not sure what she expected upon entering Boss’ office a little bit later. But hearing Istara laugh was not it. The Cathar paused at the door Boss waved to her. “Come on in, Nine, we were just comparing notes.”

Nine walked in and looked around. Boss’ office was spartan in the extreme. Desk with terminal that Boss sat behind, and usually two chairs were in front of it. Now there were four. She had been expected it seemed. Will sat with his back to the wall as always, the man seems congenitally incapable of relaxing around others. Istara and Cole sat in two other chairs on front of Boss’ desk. Nine nodded and took her seat. Normally, she might have saluted but not here, not now. Right now, she was not just a fighter pilot, she was not just a crewmember. Now she was wearing her other hat, and as the official crew representative, she was technically Boss equal on the ship. Not really, but as far as Boss was concerned, he commanded because of crew approval. If he did something they truly didn’t like, they could remove him. And he knew it.

Boss nodded to the newcomer. “You talked to her, Nine?”

Nine nodded back. “I did. Uh… Will…” The soldier looked at her and she grimaced. “She pled guilty.”

The tension in the room ramped up from everyone except Will who grimaced as well. “Yeah. Yeah she would.”

Cole and Istara looked from Nine to Will, their faces confused. The silence dragged out and Cole finally broke it. “What? What does that mean?”

"Well." Nine spoke softly. “The punishment for betraying the ship is death, Cole.”

Cole stared at her and then his face went hard. “You are not going to kill my kid.”

But Will was shaking his head. When he spoke it was odd, teasing but scary. “She didn’t betray the ship. And you know it, Nine. So stop with the melodrama already.”

Nine stiffened. When Will spoke like that, he was working hard to maintain his own control. Given his own feelings about Juli… Nine swallowed audibly and nodded. “Sorry, Cole. It’s just, you need to know before we go in what the crew’s options are. Some of the hotheads are going to demand that. But they won’t get it. They need an absolute majority vote and they won’t get one. Your daughter is liked.”

Cole relaxed. “This is…” He broke off helplessly.

Will snickered. “…Weird.” Everyone looked at him and he shrugged. “Yeah, I know. It was make new ways to govern ourselves without oversight from the Republic or turn completely pirate, which none of us wanted to do. So we glommed this kludge together with baling wire and spit.”

Boss sighed. “Speaking for myself, I think we did a reasonable job. We have had problems of course, but our internal dissension has never reached critical mass.”

Istara nodded slowly. “I am beginning to wonder if my idea would work at all. You people have been working hard at such things for so long, my request might just tip the scales.”

Nine, Will and Boss all nodded I unison. Boss spoke. “It might. But then again… Nine, you know what she wants to ask, right?”

"I think so." Nine nodded dubiously. “She wants sanctuary for her people.”

"Sort of." Boss shook his head. “Not… quite… More an alliance. This ship has the space needed to keep a group separate from the majority of the crew. There are what? A hundred Bladeborn?”

"About that, currently." Istara shrugged. “A hundred and forty seven at last count. But not all of them were on the Bladehome. Some we know have been captured by the Empire or others. The others? We just don’t know. Some were on missions, others were out of communication for various reasons. Some are just…gone.”

Nine nodded slowly, her head doing calculations. “But that does not cover the most important question. If your people come aboard this ship, which is an enemy of the Sith Empire, will you abide by its rules or will you attempt to take it over? Earn your place back in the Empire with that?” Cole froze at that. Such an insult to a being’s honor, to a Bladeborn's honor… Istara was on her feet in an instant. But instead of attacking, her hands did not touch the sword at her waist. Instead they met in front of her chest and she knelt and bowed her head.

Istara’s voice was sad. “There is nothing I can say to convince you. You have been lied to so many times, by the Republic, by the Empire, by others… I don’t want to beg, but I think this is the only chance my people have.”

Nine smiled sadly. “The only way you can convince us is by actions. And the only way to do that…” She sighed. “I can’t believe I am saying this. But I think we can make it work. We will put it to the crew. I have no idea at all how they will react.” She held out a slow hand to the Bladeborn. “For the insult, I apologize. But the crew will say worse.”

"I understand." Istara looked up and then took the offered hand. “Not all of my people have my control. And even I have been known to go off it at times.” She rose slowly. “But I find I like you Stormhawk Nine. How will this work?”

"Procedurally? We keep it as simple as we can." Boss sighed. “We will assemble those of the crew who can be in one of the hangar bays. Those who cannot leave their posts for whatever reason will be watching via terminal. Ordinarily, crew courts are simple. We present the evidence, we ask the accused their side and then we render judgment. In this case… It gets murky.”

"Yeah." Nine nodded. “I actually have a thought. Well, One Thirty Seven had a thought.” Boss nodded to her and she continued. “According to the rules, prisoners must be bound and helpless before entering the court. After that nasty piece of business eight years ago.”

Will grimaced at that. A weapons tech accused of selling technology off the ship had managed to sneak in a blaster. But she hadn’t shot anyone else, she had turned it on herself. And then they had found out she was innocent. Just a bit too late. The guilty party had been punished, but it had been too late for Tech Holi.

The soldier’s face went hard. “You are not binding her.” No scream could have been more final than his cold words.

Nine nodded. “She actually suggested that we not put prosthesis back on. She will need help with some things, but if she can’t even hold a blaster…” She broke off as Cole’s face lit up.

Cole stared at the Cathar and then burst out laughing. “Oh my god, that’s my girl. Always finding ways around the rules.…” Will and Istara stared at him and then they too laughed.

Will and Istara chorused. “Yeah, that is her.” They looked at each other and laughed again.

"I..." Boss was shaking his head. “It goes against the grain. I don’t like hurting her. And even if she feels no physical pain, this whole mess will hurt her.”

"She knows, and she accepts it." Nine nodded. “That is why she pled guilty. She is basically throwing herself on the mercy of the crew. She knows she messed up. She wants to explain why. And Istara…?”

The grandmaster of the Bladeborn Order looked at the Cathar. “Yes?”

"Juli made a request." Nine nodded. “She wants you to stand with her.”

"Me?" Istara stared at the Cathar. “I… I would be honored, but… What about Will…? Or Cole…? Both of them have familial obligations to her.”

"Wait..." Will bowed his head. “Istara, before you agree, know this…Whoever is standing for her…If the crew demands her life…”

"You cannot be serious." Istara’s face went white. “No…”

"Look..." Will shook his head. “I couldn’t pull the trigger. Cole, I bet would do something crazy. Hell, I might. But you could make it quick and painless.”

"No." Istara was shaking her head. “There is no way in hell I am going to kill her. She had been through enough…”

"Don't worry." Nine shook her head. “It won’t come to that. But we need someone who can protect her as well. My back will be to the crew. And they will all be armed.”

"Ah..." Istara swallowed audibly. “Has that happened? A plaintiff gunned down in the court?”

“Yes, three times." The commander of the Stormhawk said sadly. "Each time it was determined to have been warranted, but…” He shook his head. “Can you do that? Protect her, and stand there while people throw abuse at her?”

"I can." Istara sighed and then she straightened. “I would be honored to stand with her. Where will you be Will?”

"Me?" Will smiled, a death’s head smile. “The darkest corner with the best view.”

Boss sighed. “Will…”

"No." Will shook his head. “Anyone who shoots at her dies.”

"Of all the..." Boss shook his head. “Will, don’t make me give you an order.”

All of the others in the room stared at Will who didn’t seem to move. Well, no, he simply exuded stillness, like a Nexu ready to spring. Istara finally shook her head.

“Will…” The grandmaster’s voice was calm. “What good will you do her if you wind up on murder charges?”

"Me?" Will smirked. “They would have to catch me first.”

"Will..." Istara sighed. “And what would Sharra say?”

Will stared at her, and then, without a word, he rose and strode from the room. Boss and Nine both stared at Istara, who shrugged.

“What can I say?" The Bladeborn said quietly. "It works sometimes to get him to see reason. And she told me to hit him with it if he got too far out of hand.”

"What the...?" Nine smiled. “You have met her?”

"Yes." Istara smiled widely. “And I like her. Okay, what will I do, and what should I not do?” She sat forward in her chair, ignoring the curious look that Cole sent her. Some secrets were not for dissemination.

Boss nodded. “You will escort the girl to the bay… Hmmm… Maybe we can handle your petition immediately after Juli’s?”

Cole blinked. “You don’t call her by number now?”

"No." Boss shook his head. “While she is in the trial, she is not one of us. She can’t be.”

"Okay. I don't like it, but I understand it." Istara sighed. “I will stand with and for her.”

Boss nodded. “Keep her as quiet as you can. Her mouthy nature will likely get her in more trouble.”

"Juli? No never." Cole snorted. “Some things never change. Are you sure I can’t be there?”

Boss and Nine shook their heads in unison, Istara turned to the man who was fast becoming a friend. “Will you trust me with this most precious of your possessions, my friend?” Her wording was archaic and both of the Stormhawk crew stared at her. Cole…blinked.

When the smuggler spoke, it was hushed, awed. “I…I never would have expected a Bladeborn to say that…to me of all people…” He straightened. “I would be honored. My friend.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 04:09 AM | #5
Stormhawk Nine had seen the crew of the ship that was her home in a number of moods. Happy, sad, angry, worried, she had seen it all. or so she had thought. When she entered the hangar bay that had been cleared for the trial, she paused at the door. None of the assembled crew, all hundred and seventeen of them, were talking. They were all looking at each other warily. Nine stiffened. There was an old saying. ‘A quiet crowd is one step removed from being a riot.’ The Cathar sighed and stepped forward. She could handle this, she had to. As she moved all of the eyes of the assembled crew turned to her. Her ‘kids’ were clustered near one side of the formation and she could see that they at least were looking calm. Of course they knew more about what was happening than the rest of the crew probably did. She moved to her appointed place in front of the assembly and sighed.

“What is the problem?” She asked in a quiet voice that managed to carry to all corners of the group.

The crew all looked at each other and then a voice spoke out from the back ranks. “Is is true that One Thirty Seven pleaded guilty?”

"Ah..." Nine sighed again. “I see there truly are no secrets in space.” Her voice held rueful humor and a couple of people in the group chuckled. But then Nine shook her head. “You know the facts as well as I do. We will hear her reasons.”

Another voice spoke up, and Nine nodded as Two Sixteen, the Trandoshan formerly known as Zinoa, spoke softly, worried. “Nine, um… You know what Will is going to do… Right?”

"Two Sixteen, it's okay." Nine shook her head. “No he won’t. Tell me true, all of you. Which one of you could pull the trigger on her? Hmmm?” She looked around the group, meeting each set of eyes she could. None of them would meet hers. “There are other options, and that is all I can say about it now.” The crewpeople she could see all nodded.

One of the beings in front spoke softly now. “What of the Sith?” Nine noted that this one was human, and she snarled inwardly as she recognized him. She detested Jaken, no one called him by his number, not matter that it WAS Fifteen, he had been part of the crew since the beginning. The man had no morals whatsoever. He had been up in front of crew courts three times himself, normally for minor offenses. But once… He had been party to an assault and more… She shook her head slowly.

Nine nodded. “Istara Sharlina Andal has a request to make of the crew of the Stormhawk. I personally suggest you be polite this time, Jaken.” Her voice was biting but humorous and more than one person chuckled.

Jaken snarled at her. “I don’t trust Sith. I can’t believe you do.” He froze as Nine went still.

Nine shook her head slowly and when she spoke it was in an almost normal tone. Almost. “Jaken, you are an idiot. No, I don’t trust her.” She sighed deeply. “But I will say this. I trust her more than I trust you. You push people as hard as you can, because you can. Fine. Istara could have killed you any time when she rescued you from her sister.”A mutter swept through the crowd. “She is not Sith, she is Bladeborn. If she were Sith, you would be dead. As you are not, I guess I am going to have to reserve judgment.” Her tone had more than one person smiling.

Jaken was not mollified. “You lying…” He broke off gasping as one of his neighbors elbowed him in the ribs, hard. The other male human grabbed his arm and spoke softly into the tech’s ear. Nine waited a moment until she saw Jaken’s face turn pale.

When the Cathar spoke again, it was cold and hard. “You call me a liar, Jaken? You want this job? Fine, have it.” She turned to move away, but a chorus of denials, protests and outright pleas had her stopping. None of the crew wanted her job, well, heck she didn’t want her job. She was just good at it. More than one of the crew was staring daggers at Jaken who was looking scared now. “I cry insult on you Jaken. You call me a liar, I call you a fool. By the rules, that means a bout. We will meet in the ring, full contact, immediately after this court is done.”

Jaken went pasty white. Nine had no patience at all for people calling her that. She would likely put the tech in Medical for some time. But Nine ignored him as she turned to sweep her angry gaze over the rest of the crew. “You all know what our rules demand. You all know what Juli did. Do you know why?” None of the eyes would meet hers now and the Cathar nodded. “We will hear her side. And then we will judge. On the evidence, and by the rules, not our anger, not our malice and definitely not our boneheadedness.” This last was directed at Jaken, who flushed. “You all need to know, Juli asked Istara to stand with her.”

No one looked surprised, but the Trandoshan Two Sixteen spoke again. “Uh, Nine… Does she know…?” The Trandoshan broke off as Nine nodded. Now the Trandoshan’s voice was small. “Oh…” Every member of the assembled group stared at each other.

Nine would have spoken again, except the hatch hissed open and Boss strode through. “Commander on deck!” She called and all of the assembled crew stiffened. The all knew who was actually in the armor of Stormhawk Boss, but no one was going to say it. The fact that Hala Shinn had given up any chance for a normal life to command them, to lead them through the darkness that surrounded them spoke to every single member of the crew. Even Jaken. They would maintain the illusion if it killed them. Stormhawk Boss lived…

Stormhawk Boss strode to the table in front of the assembled group and sat without ceremony. Ordinarily, there would be a table with chairs for the prosecution and the defense, but not in this case. Boss looked from one set of eyes to the next, meeting each face with the impassive stare of his helmet. Finally his gaze settled on Nine who nodded.

When Boss spoke, the silence in the bay was such that a pin falling might have been as loud as a grenade. “You all know why we are here. This is the fourth time in our history that a being has been accused of selling out the ship.” Boss bowed his armored head. “My feelings on this matter require me to remain neutral, as hard as it is for me, I cannot vote, I cannot do anything. This is your day, not mine. This is your trial, not mine. However…” He raised a cautionary hand. “We cannot locate Will.” A worried murmur swept the crew. “So don’t shoot at her, okay? It gets so messy…”

More than one of the crew looked sick at that. The thought of being gunned down from ambush was bad enough. Being gunned down by a man they all admired? That was worse. To their credit, none of them looked around. It wouldn’t help. The man was insanely good at concealing himself, even in places where there was technically no concealment.

Boss spoke again. “You all know that Istara Sharlina Andal has been asked to stand with Juli. Be polite. She has a request to make as well, once this first set of unpleasantness is done.” He nodded towards the door and the guard there nodded back and opened it.

More than one person gasped as Juli came in walking beside a red haired vision in silver armor. Istara Andal’s face was remote. Not cold, not scary, just remote. But that was not the problem. The problem was that Juli did not have arms! More than one person started to protest, only to be shushed by their neighbors. Boss motioned and
Juli strode to the spot designated for the defendant. Istara stood beside her, impassive. The woman’s hand was not on her sword hilt, but it was not far from it either. Boss’ voice was quiet in the deafening silence that ensued when Juli stopped.

“This court martial is now in session.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.08.2012 , 04:19 AM | #6
Juli had known this was going to be bad. But seeing all of the faces of the people she had known, had worked with, fought beside, laughed with and cried with for years arrayed before her made her want to curl up in a ball and cry. But she had to be strong, she had to be. And not just for her sake. She knew Will was here. She couldn’t see him, but she knew he was. And truth be told, it comforted her a bit. She was scared out of her mind. This was not what she had wanted. This was not what she had envisioned, but this was the only way.

Boss waited for a moment before speaking. “Juli Shanas Kalenath, you are accused of violating the law of the ship. You are accused of circumventing the chain of command. You are accused of public insubordination. You are accused of desertion, being absent without leave from your post, and dereliction of duty. Last but certainly not least, you are accused of consorting with the enemies of the ship. Betraying us.” He nodded to the girl. “How do you plead?”

Juli met the eyeslit of the helmet with a calm that she really didn’t feel and spoke evenly. “Guilty, commander.” Behind her a ruckus started, but was quickly silenced. She didn’t move from her spot.

“Traitor!” Someone shouted from behind, but shut up as Istara spun in place. The Bladeborn did not do anything, just swept her gaze across the crowd. But no one dared move. Something in her calm expression spoke of violence barely chained. Istara turned back to Boss and then her hand flew. It caught something in midair before the object could strike Juli. Istara sighed and dropped the hydrospanner to the deck where it landed with a clang and rolled away. A hush fell over the hangar bay. Juli did not turn away from the commander of the ship. If people wanted to shoot her, they would have to do it in the back.

Istara spoke evenly. “May I speak, Stormhawk Boss?”

"Yes." Boss nodded slowly. “As guardian of the accused, you have the right.”

"As a guest, I am bound by the rules of being a guest. I will be polite." Istara spun in place and her gaze swept the assembled crew again. “This young one is currently under my protection. If you wish to throw things at her, do so outside of the trial chamber. You know not what you speak of. She did not betray you. She suffered a great deal so she would not betray you.”

“You lie!” Came a voice Juli recognized. Jaken was not the brightest of bulbs. He was an excellent tech, but… not the brightest of bulbs. Even now he was goading a Bladeborn, not a good idea.

"Do I?" Istara chuckled and smiled. It was not a nice smile. “You don’t know much about Bladeborn do you, tech Jaken?” All of the crew froze at that. “Yes, I have heard of you. Be glad Jikirt isn’t here. I shudder to think what that mad bunny would do.” A muffled laugh swept the assembly and the tension that had been growing vanished. Jaken glared at Istara, but shook his head and shut up.

"I..." Juli licked her lips and spoke to Boss. “Have they seen the video?”

"What?" Boss stiffened. “Juli… No…”

Juli bowed her head. “I… May I speak to them?” Boss nodded and Juli turned. Too quickly. She stumbled and nearly fell, but Istara’s strong hand held her long enough to regain her balance. “Thank you, grandmaster.” The girl bowed her head. Then she raised it, focused on a point on the distant wall over everyone’s heads and spoke. “I know most of you. I have served with most of you. For the record, I knew the moment that I found out my real dad was alive that I would go after him. At first I wondered if he was a slave himself. Part of me wanted to rescue him. I went to Boss, to ask for help. The response I got was not what I expected.”

"Yeah." Boss slumped in his seat and his voice was sad. “I was stressed, Juli. You know I wouldn’t have reacted that way normally.”

"I know." Juli bowed her head. “I should not have said what I did. I should not have said it in public either. For the words, I apologize. You all are family. You took me in, gave me a place, gave me a purpose beyond revenge. But he is my dad…” Juli felt her eyes burn and fought to keep the tears from flowing. “He is the only living birth kin I have left. Will found me crying, alone, in the observation blister. He held me and told me it would be okay. I asked to go with him and he said ‘No’. But not because of what the ship or crew laws demanded, but because of what he feared it would do to me. He explained what was likely to happen. That Cranna was going to kill my dad. I had to go. I had to… If just to say goodbye…” Her head was down now and a tear escaped her control. “How many of you would do the same for a chance to say 'goodbye'?” She stopped speaking and slumped. Istara laid a gentle hand on the flesh and blood shoulder and Juli leaned into the gentle touch.

For a long moment the bay was silent. Stormhawk Nine, at her place in the front of the assembly looked around and nodded. The Cathar’s face was sad. “All of us know loss, Juli. But for the chance to say goodbye to my mother or father…I know I would.” The Cathar bowed her head. “What say the crew?” No one moved and Nine nodded. Anyone could signify a dissenting vote by taking a step forward to be recognized. But no one did.

"Yeah." Juli nodded. “But that was the least of my crimes. My crimes for love. I planned, from that moment on, what to do. I skipped a therapy appointment and stowed away on the Dragon. I knew Will would take the ship. He found me a day out. Apparently, the compartment I was using was wired for sound and video. He was… Unhappy…” She smiled a bit ruefully as a chuckle ran around the assembly. She squirmed a bit. Will’s hand was just as firm as her birth father’s. “He did not intend to take me into combat, but life has a funny way of playing games. When we arrived at the rendezvous, there was a slaver fleet there attempting to kill my dad. We argued the point with them and then landed when Cranna arrived. I… I hadn’t planned at that point what to do next. Everything was still up in the air. And then… There he was. He was…” She shook herself, fighting for control.

Istara, of all people, spoke. “Let it out, Juli. Let it out. Keeping such things in does not help matters.”

"Istara..." Juli looked at her and the girl’s eyes were overfull. “I… I can’t. I need to…”

Istara shook her head smiling fondly. “Trust me, Juli. That is why I am here.” The girl gave an inarticulate cry and buried her face in Istara’s shoulder. The armor was hard, but it hid her tears. Istara’s arms clasped gently around the girl as she sobbed.

Juli heard Istara speak as if from far away. “She did not betray you. She left without telling you. She was insubordinate. But she did not betray you.”

Juli did not take her face from istara’s shoulder. She heard Nine speak. “We want to believe you, Istara Sharlina Andal. You have proven yourself a capable ally. But Sith live betrayal.”

"Indeed they do." Istara sighed. “I am not Sith, but you cannot trust what I say. I will attempt to convince you otherwise then. May we see the video now?” Juli stiffened, but Istara’s arms held her in a warm embrace. “It’s okay, Juli. It’s okay.”

"No..." Juli’s voice was small. “I can’t… Istara… Please… I can’t…”

"Yes you can." Istara stroked the girl’s hair. “I am sorry, Juli. But you must. Be strong girl.” Something flowed from Istara into Juli, strengthening, warming, invigorating. It felt good.

Juli relaxed and her reddened, puffy eyes came up and she nodded to Boss. “Show them.” Her voice was flat.

Boss shook his head slowly. “Juli…”

"They need to see." Juli sighed. “I lived through it. Memories can hurt…” Istara’s arms gave her a squeeze. “…but they are just memories.”

A holo appeared behind Boss. More than one voice gasped as they saw Juli strapped to a Sith restraint frame, machinery attached to her form and IVs running into her leg, since her arms were mechanical. A soft voice spoke. “Juli, all you have to say at any time is ‘No’. And I pull you out, clear?” A small brown from was seen moving towards the restrained girl. “Maker help me Juli, I do not want to do this…”

The Juli in the holo smiled sadly. “Neither do I. Be thorough. I don’t want to go through this twice.”

The small brown from touched the holo Juli on the head. “Ok, here we go, everyone out.” A figure in a medical tunic and a large green form moved through the periphery of the holo and the sound of a hatch starting to shut was heard. It was cut off as energy played from the brown form’s fingers and a scream echoed from the holographic Juli.

For thirty minutes, Juli shuddered as Istara held her, listening to the screams and horrific sounds on the holo. The soft gentle voice kept asking ‘Do you want to continue?’ and she kept hearing her own voice saying ‘Yes, I have to.’ She couldn’t watch the holo. From the sounds behind her, several of the crew were violently ill. All she could do was shudder and survive, same as always. Just the memory of what had happened hurt.

Finally someone shouted. “Shut it off, for the love of the Force, shut it off!” The horror show ended. The same voice spoke again, hoarse. “How… long…?”

Istara’s voice was quiet, but easily audible. “An hour. I have the entire transcript. Your techs have examined the recording, and the Jedi aboard has examined Juli.” She turned to Boss. “What did they find?”

Boss seemed to be fighting for control. But when he spoke it was just as quiet. “The techs have confirmed that the holo was not tampered with. Hawkir has stated that the interrogation that Juli underwent left permanent scars on her skeletal structure.” He bowed his head. “She tells of the library, the dorm, the mess hall and a series of corridors. She speaks of people referring to one another by number instead of name. She speaks of the bridge, which is a standard Republic design, filled with equipment she did not know. They tried to get her to describe them, but her focus was on me for some funny reason and she did not get a good look at anything.” Boss sighed. “There is nothing that she told them that the Sith don’t know already. Except this. The techs found this while scouring the record. It was apparently deleted.” Istara froze and Juli stiffened as the holo reactivated.

The voice of the small brown being spoke gently again. “Ok, Juli, almost done. What is your full name?”

Juli’s voice in the holo was a monotone. It held hoarseness from screaming and weariness from pain, but it was clear. “Juliana Shanas Kalenath.”

For the first time, the brown skinned interrogator froze and his voice was shocked. “What did you say?”

The holographic Juli spoke again. “My name is Juliana Shanas…” She broke off as the interrogator spoke quickly.

“Stop.” The brown skinned being was shaking his head. “He adopted you? Of course… of course he did… Hard shell, soft heart. Maybe… maybe there is hope after all…I will wipe this from the official records. No one must know. Ah, Juli…” The holographic girl was crying. “It’s okay, Juli, I won’t tell anyone. Sword and soul, blood and bone. May my own blade end me if I transgress.” The brown form touched the holographic Juli on the brow. “Rest now child, I know better than to hurt one of his kids. If I had known, I never would have agreed to this. I better wipe this…” The holo Juli’s eyes closed and the brown from turned towards the terminal. “I better wipe this now…” The holo vanished, and a shocked silence descended.

"Istara?" Boss looked at Istara who looked poleaxed. “That oath… what does it mean?”

"That oath?" Istara straightened her shoulders and met the armored form’s gaze. “It is the most binding oath a Bladeborn can swear. He would never have spoken of it. Not to me, not to Juli, not to the Emperor himself. To no one.”

Boss recoiled just a bit from the fervor in Istara’s voice. “Why?” His tone was bemused.

"Need you ask?" Istara snickered a bit. “How would Will have reacted?”

Boss nodded slowly. “Good point. What says the crew?” Juli shook herself and turned to face the crew, her eyes red and puffy. “Charges are as follows: Insubordination, AWOL, dereliction of duty, consorting with the enemy and betraying the ship.”

The crew looked at one another and Juli’s eyes went wide in shock as all of them took a step. Forward! They… They disagreed? All of them?

"I..." Juli shook her head. “No… No I messed up. I…”

"One Thirty Seven..." Nine shook her head. “I think I speak for everyone here when I say you are not guilty by reason of insanity, you crazy girl.”

Juli shook her head. “But…”

Boss spoke, and it was humorous. “That is not to say you will not be punished. The docs in particular are rather annoyed with you. But we will work out your punishments later. Now we have another petition to hear. If you would join your peers, One Thirty Seven?”

Juli swallowed audibly. “I… I would stand with her…”

Everything stopped as another voice was heard. “It’s okay, One Thirty Seven.” Every eye in the bay went where Will simply appeared next to the odd pair. Juli stared at her foster father and he grinned at her. “That is why I am here.”

Juli stiffened. “I… Um… I would salute… but…” Kind of hard to do without hands.

Boss snickered and more than one of the crew actually laughed out loud. Boss was laughing softly as he waved her to go. “Just this once, I think we will forgive you. Crazy girl… Take your place.”

Juli nodded, spun on her heel and strode to the assembled crew. They made space for her and more than one whispered words of encouragement or commiseration to her as she turned back in her spot.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.08.2012 , 04:24 AM | #7
Istara smiled slightly as Juli strode back to join the crew. She really did like the girl and the look on Juli’s face… well… She had spent most of her life being a cold hearted, crazy warrior woman. She found that now, she had a much easier time dealing with others. She liked to be nice, when she could. No one in their right mind called her weak. Foolish at times perhaps, but not weak. She waited until Juli took her place before turning back to Boss. She glanced to where Will was standing, a black armored angel of death and she controlled her expression as one of his eyes made a slow wink. She nodded to Boss.

"Ok, next order of business." Stormhawk Boss nodded back and spoke. “We have a guest today. Some of you have met her, both before now and on this latest visit. But things have changed recently for this woman, and I will let her speak for herself. Istara?”

Istara nodded and turned to face the crew. “My name is Istara Sharlina Andal, and I would request that my Order be given a chance to join your crew.” No one had ever said what she should say. They had just said ‘Be honest’. So she was.

A soft murmur went through the assembled ranks. It wasn’t really a secret that she had come to ask that, but hearing it from such a cold and aloof warrior. Stormhawk Nine, the official crew representative, looked around to judge the expressions of the crew and then nodded to Istara.

The Cathar’s face was closed, remote, when she spoke evenly. “The Bladeborn Order serves the Sith Empire.” A harsh murmur followed the Cathar’s words.

"They did." Istara nodded, but her face was sad now. “But now we do not.”

Nine blinked, confused. “You said ‘they’ and ‘we’. Are you one or not?”

"Its a bit complicated." Istara sighed. “I grew up a Sith. I tried to make myself the perfect Sith, obedient, cunning, merciless, the works. I failed. But I was a Sith.” A stunned silence followed her simple words. Sith usually only had one reaction to failure. At her words more than a few of the assembled crew reached for weapons, only to freeze as Will turned slowly, scanning the crowd. Everyone visibly and carefully relaxed as the soldier’s hard gaze swept over any potential troublemakers.

"Everyone calm down." Will’s voice was cold. “You should hear her out before doing anything dumb.”

Istara shook her head. “Will, please…” She looked over the assembled crew. “If you want me to leave, say so now. I was a Sith, but I haven’t been since I was sixteen, and I didn’t kill my mother.” More than one face in the crowd staring at her was gaping in shock as Istara spoke calmly. “I have to tell this, so please, bear with me.”

Nine looked at the faces that were arrayed behind her and nodded slowly. When the Cathar spoke it was thoughtful. “Continue.”

"I was stupid, most kids are sometimes, but I cornered the market on it." Istara took a deep breath. “Like most Force sensitive children among Sith, I was taken from my mother at the age of five and sent to training. But instead of an academy, they sent us to an old hermit of a Sith who had a reputation for molding fine, strong students.” She swallowed, just the memory of that man made her flesh crawl. “From the time I was five years old until the time I was nine years old, he trained us all. When I was nine however, things changed. I didn’t know why or how, but he… did things to me. Things that bother me even now, almost thirty two years later. He programmed me to kill my mom.”

More than one voice in the crowd hissed in disbelief. Istara sighed. “That was my failure. I didn’t. I couldn’t. We had fought, she and I. I had beaten her unconscious. And I couldn’t kill her. A Sith would have been able to, gladly, willingly, in the name of power. I did not realize it at the time, but I was not a Sith. I couldn’t kill a helpless being, no matter what implanted suggestions raged in my skull. I fled, seeking an end, but instead of death, a strange small brown form found me. Grandmaster Trugoy of the Bladeborn gave me another way, a better way, in my own estimation. I know you all have heard the Sith and Jedi Codes spouted ad nauseum so I won’t prattle about that inanity.” Her wry tone had a few of the crew chuckling.

Istara’s calm gaze swept the group. “The Bladeborn follow an older way. A simpler way, and yet at the same time, a more complex way.” Many of the crew looked at each other, confused.

A form in brown robes near the back of the crowd stepped forward to be recognized. Boss spoke. “Yes, Hawkir?”

The Jedi Consular who had initially been assigned to the Stormhawk and then become a friend spoke evenly. “And what is your way, Istara Sharlina Andal?”

Istara took a deep breath before speaking. “Loyalty. Duty. Honor. Respect. Vigilance. Prowess. Humility. Courtesy. Valor. Service. Sacrifice. These are the core precepts of the Bladeborn Order.” She grinned a bit self consciously. “I kind of need to work on the humility part myself.”

Now more than few of the crew chuckled. Hawkir nodded, smiled and resumed his spot. Nine shook her head from where she stood, unsure. “That sounds… remarkably like what people would expect from Jedi. Are you Jedi, by another name?”

"No." Istara shook her head. “We strive for perfection the same way the Jedi do. But… We live to fight. We are constrained by our code, so that the Dark Side does not take us. And if it does, we always have a way out.” She touched the hilt of her sword with two fingers. “We have always striven to push ourselves, to better ourselves, and what better way than through combat against foes that test us?”

"Test you?" Nine blinked, her face thoughtful. “That sounds almost Mandalorian.”

Istara made a comical scared face. “Don’t let the Mandalorians hear you say that.” At that, everyone on the assembly laughed. Including six forms in Mandalorian armor. One stepped forward and Boss waved to it, the female took her helmet off showing grey hair and old brown eyes.

Trava Kalan’s face was merry as she gazed around. “We remember the Bladeborn, Istara Sharlina Andal. But you are not…quite… like the ones we remember from our ancient tales. The Legend of Kiana.”

Istara’s eyes went wide. “Kiana was one of the first recruited into the new Order by Trugoy. It was… Well…” She nodded to Trava. “If I may, I would like to speak to you after this. Even if the crew tells me to take a hike.” She shook her self. “To put it bluntly, I am not as the modern Bladeborn anymore. I cast myself from the Order to save my sister. But things did not work out as I planned.” She shook her head. “I am still working on that.” She stared at the deck for a moment and Will put an armored hand on her shoulder. She nodded to him and he put his hand back down.

Istara sighed. “In the course of trying to find my sister, I went to Tython, and while there I discovered the truth of the Order. A truth that the Sith Emperor and the former grandmaster went to some great lengths to hide. The Bladeborn Order predates the Jedi Order by several thousand years. And they served the Light.” At that more than one indrawn breath was heard. “While there, I faced an ancient trial, and while doing so… the brand that I had cut off my arm, signifying a clean break with the Bladeborn Order, was replaced by this.” She slid her left vambrace off and rolled her under armor back so that everyone could see the tattoo that seemed to glow slightly even in the harsh light of the hangar bay.

All eyes were on the pale skin and stark tattoo that adorned it. When Istara spoke, the bay was silent. “I am Bladeborn again, but not the same. Not Trugoy’s Order, but the original. I do not follow the Force, I follow Ashla.”

A confused voice spoke from the mass. “Ashla?”

Boss looked at Istara and she sighed. “It is a long story.” She demurred.

Boss snickered. “Do you have a pressing engagement elsewhere?”

Istara grinned as she shook her head. “No, actually I don’t. Okay… A long time ago on a planet far, far away…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.08.2012 , 04:32 AM | #8
It had been almost forty five minutes, but no one had moved. Istara had a rich, pleasant speaking voice and the topic was fascinating.

Istara was speaking quietly. “…With the end of the Force Wars, the remnants of the Bladeborn Order left Tython with the rest of the survivors. But they were few, scattered and demoralized from the utter destruction of their group. Eventually, the few who remained died out. Their teachings however, remained. Scholars studied their ways when they were looking for alternative paths to help found the Jedi Order. Of the True Bladeborn, only Trugoy the betrayer remained. Well, Trugoy and the ones hunting him.” Istara corrected herself. “They had left Tython previously, hunting Trugoy. And they have remained, isolated, distant, but ever watchful, since that time.”

Someone in the crowd whistled in awe at that. Boss shook his head slowly. When he spoke, his voice held wonder. “You mean they were hunting him for twenty five thousand years?” He was obviously trying to keep the disbelief from his tone.

"Yes." Istara smiled just a bit sadly. “We are a bit on the stubborn side. Or so it has been said. And these are the current Order are descendants. No, none of them are that old. Neither am I.” Her smile now was wicked and more than one person laughed.

Boss shook his head slowly. “What happened then?”

Istara sighed. “I cast myself from the Order I knew and traveled, seeking to help my sister. In my travels, I wound up on Tython, and discovered the truth. I was… Well, reborn is probably the best term for it. Istara Andal vanished as thoroughly as Sharlina had when I cut off my brand and the woman I am was created. Both of them, the vicious, hating warrior woman and the kindly, scared sister are part of me, but they are not all of who and what I am. Now I am someone else. Someone more controlled. Someone more directed. When Trugoy died, they asked me to assume his place. I… I was and am unsure about being a leader. But I do know I want to lead the people who gave me a home and family that loved me back into the light of Ashla.” Her voice rang with conviction now.

If what you say is true.” The harsh voice snarled from the ranks of the crew. “All I have heard is more Sith lies.”

Boss stiffened. “Advance and be recognized.” The form of a human woman stepped forward from the ranks of the crew. Her eyes met Istara’s and they were filled with hate. Boss sighed. “Speak your mind, One Eighteen.”

The woman known elsewhere as Brianna Makarian didn’t take her eyes off of Istara. “You come here and expect us to believe you? You are Sith. Whatever you say, you are Sith.” She spat the words out as if in physical pain.

Istara sighed. “I am not Sith, but I cannot prove it to you. Many of you have suffered because of the Sith. You have lost loved ones and been hunted by the Empire.” She slumped. “This was a bad idea. I apologize for causing you more pain. May the Light of Ashla guide you to peace, child.” She shook her head and turned back to Boss, but One Eighteen snarled again.

The girl’s words were rough with hate and fear now. “Don’t you turn your back on me, you Sith slime!”

Istara felt a warning ring through Ashla and she spun to see the girl’s blaster pistol rising to target her. She had no time to draw her saber and from the looks on several of the other crew, doing so was a bad idea. Will moved to the side his hand flashing in a lightspeed draw, but froze as Istara shook her head and spoke quickly into his mind. Will, no… The soldier froze, looking at her. She is teetering on the edge. You and I both know that feeling.

The Bladeborn turned towards the girl. “Stormhawk One Eighteen, I am not your enemy.”

The enraged girl probably didn’t hear Istara’s quiet words as the blaster aligned and coherent energy spat towards Istara. Istara could have blocked it with her saber, which was a bad idea on this ship. They did not like Force users of any stripe. She could have deflected it with the Force, which was also a bad idea, for the same reason. So instead, she focused herself and let the bolt come. More than one set of eyes on the bay went wide as Istara took the blaster bolt directly center mass and didn’t flinch. The angry girl’s eyes went very wide as Istara’s expression didn’t waver. She drank in the energy, absorbing it and using it to heal herself. While it hurt, she managed to keep her face serene. It hurt a lot, but she was no stranger to pain.

A terrified voice sounded from the ranks. “Istara! No!” Juli’s voice was lost in the sea of shouts.

One Eighteen’s face was shocked and terrified as she fired again, and again and again. Istara didn’t move, didn’t flinch. The blaster bolts hit her armor and vanished, leaving black marks but no other damage. “Fall damn it! Why won't you fall?

Will stared at Istara and his voice was lost in the chorus of disbelieving questions, shouts and denials being thrown back and forth. “Oh… crap… Sharlina… No…”

When Istara spoke, it was cold, quiet and the entire bay froze at the sound of her voice. It was the same, but different. Where before her voice had been kind, gentle and compassionate, now it was cold, hard and merciless. There was something in it that spoke to the primitive brain parts of all the listeners. It said: ‘predator’!

“I don’t know what happened to you girl, but enough.” She didn’t gesture or make a move, but the blaster flew from the girl’s hands and landed on the table in front of Stormhawk Boss who was shaking his head. “No matter what you do to me, you cannot match what others have done. You want to hurt me? You cannot expunge your own pain and grief by harming others. If there is one thing I know, it is that. Hate is a poison. Yes, it feels so good, to let it out, doesn’t it?”

The girl, One Eighteen stared at her before shouting. “You see what she is! Shoot her damn it!” But no one in the crowd moved. “What are you waiting for? Shoot her!”

Now Will spoke. “One Eighteen… Be silent. Now.” His quiet, worried words had the girl freezing. But Will didn’t turn from Istara. “Sharlina… No… It won’t help.”

"I..." Istara grimaced as she fought for control. “Will… Please…”

Will shook his head. “I am not going to shoot you. No one is going to shoot you again. Easy Sharlina, you can rage later. You have cause, but not here. Not now. It won’t help.”

The entire bay froze as Istara bowed her head and when it came up, her eyes were glowing. but not yellow or red, as a Sith’s would, but silver. She met the terrified girl’s eyes and snarled. “You have no idea what you speak of. I am a guest this day, so I am bound by the rules of being a guest. Any other time and place you would be dead. You have suffered and for that we are sorry. But you are strong, or you would not have survived whatever happened to you. But none of you besides Will have any idea what hate is.” Her cold inhuman eyes turned towards Boss who flinched a bit. “I think we are done here.” Boss nodded silently.

“What says the crew?” Boss asked in the silence that descended. None of them moved for a moment but then many of them took a step forward. In moments it was a clear majority.

Nine counted the heads and slumped before shaking her head. “The crew says ‘No’.”

The commander of the Stormhawk sighed. “I am sorry, Grandmaster Istara Sharlina Andal, but the crew has spoken.”

Istara nodded, her face still that scary impassive mask. “Then I will leave as soon…” She broke off as a voice spoke up from the assembly.

“Wait!” Juli Shanas stepped forward. “Some of us are not just hatred.” She didn’t look at One Eighteen who snarled at her. All eyes went to Juli who was crying now. “I don’t want my two families killing each other. There has to be something we can do…”

One Eighteen snarled at Juli. “Shut it girl, you Sith loving…” She broke off as doubled over as Juli rammed her head into the girl’s midriff. The girl recoiled and fell, landing on her rear end. Juli might not have had arms, but hands and arms were not the only weapons on the human body.

Juli screamed at the sitting girl. “You ignorant Barvette! You have no idea. Are you the only one who has been hurt? Are you the only one who has been lied to? Used? Betrayed? Left behind? Tortured?” Now she was kicking the sitting girl as others moved belatedly to stop her. “You have no idea!” Strong hands grabbed her but she continued to scream at One Eighteen. “She could have killed you. Hell, she should have killed you…”

Istara’s quiet voice cut Juli’s rant off. “Enough.”

Juli Shana was shaking in rage now. “I thought I wanted to come back. I thought I knew you all. I thought… I guess it was a stupid hope. To hope that some of you might think for a change instead of reacting with blind hatred.” As the hands pulled her way, she kicked the sitting girl again. “I don’t know you people. I guess I never did…” She slumped as the hands pulled her further away.

One Eighteen looked poleaxed, but it might have been the kick that had connected to her head. “I…” She broke off as she looked up into the cold eyes of Will Kalenath. She froze like a nerf pinned by the stare of a Retu.

Will’s voice was coldly mocking. “I am not going to tell you anything. You know it all, don’t you One Eighteen? You know all about hate. What I am going to say is this. As of now, Istara and her Bladeborn are MY allies. I have more in common with them now, than I have with you.” At that, every single Stormhawk crew person in the bay stiffened into immobility and now his voice was cold. “And I say this to all of you. None of you know jack osik about hate. One Thirty Seven, Two Sixteen, tell the others, we are leaving.”

"Will..." The Trandoshan known as Zinoa to her family was shaking her head. “Will… No… We can’t…”

Will shook his head. “I can’t trust these people now.” At that everything stopped. No one dared move, Will’s hands were on his belt and blaster hilt now.

Boss rose slowly. “Will… No.” His voice was quiet. “Think, Will…”

"I have." Will shook his head. “Istara came here, a guest. And what do you do? You shoot her. I don’t know you.” He turned his back on Boss and bowed to Istara. “Some of us are not driven solely by our hate.”

"Will, no." Istara, however, was shaking her head. “The needs of the many, Will.”

"Oh?" Will looked at her for a long moment before sighing. “What about your needs, the needs of your many?”

"We will be okay." Istara slumped. “We will survive, if not thrive. Mend your bridges Will, please.”

Will looked at her and then around the bay. When he spoke it was sad. “You know… I think some bridges need to be burned.” Then he vanished as his stealth field generator activated. But his voice came from nowhere. “But to everyone here. I will be watching.” His cold words were long in dissipating.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.08.2012 , 04:39 AM | #9
It was very quiet in the quarters Will had been assigned on the Stormhawk, so long ago. He had been offered larger quarters, accommodations other thought were more suitable, but he had always refused. These suited him fine. His hands literally flew as he packed his gear, his clothes, what little he had. He always traveled light. Most of his life aboard would fit into two large duffels. Hard to believe he had spent so much time on this ship, this prototype Republic battlecruiser turned renegade.

Has it really been eleven years? He thought to himself as he stared around the small but comfortable stateroom. In basic design, it was exactly the same as any other stateroom on a Republic starship. Bed, desk with terminal, small but adequate refresher, food prep area… He shook his head slowly. This place had been his home for longer than any other place in his life. Ever since the ship had mutinied at the Battle of Coruscant, he had been part of this ship, its trials, its tribulations, its victories, and its losses. He remembered them all. And now…he was leaving.

The door hissed open behind him, but he didn’t flinch. Only one being had the codes to open the door without setting of a myriad of security systems. His hand was on his blaster as he slowly turned to find Stormhawk Boss looking at him. The armored form as always gave him the creeps. That was part of the idea, the mystique of Stormhawk Boss, the legend, the symbol of hope and freedom that wouldn’t stay dead. Shoot him and he gets back up, cut him to pieces and he shows up a few days later. Eternal, unkillable, totally dedicated to helping others.

For once, Boss sounded unsure. Indeed, the armored form’s voice was sick. “Will…”

"Boss." Will shook his head. “You are not going to convince me. You are welcome to come.”

"No." Boss made a strangled sound. “Will… No! I… I can’t. You shouldn’t… I…”

"Shouldn't I?" Will shook his head slowly, but his hand did not leave his gun. “You are not going to convince me. And don’t try and knock me out or lock me in. You would make me madder than I am now.” His cold words had the other being retreating a step.

Stormhawk Boss shook his head. “Will… Please, talk to me.” The armored form reached up and undid its helmet and when Hala Shinn’s face was visible, she had been crying. The blonde haired girl’s eyes were red and puffy as she looked at the man she admired more than any other.

Will shook his head. “Nothing to say, Hala. You all made your point quite clear. And I have made mine.”

Hala Shinn, formerly of Republic Special Force and now kind of drafted into the role of a dead man, shook her head. “Will… One Eighteen does not speak for the crew. And even she doesn’t want you to leave.”

Will snarled. “Flarg her. Flarg the crew. Flarg this godsforsaken ship. Istara needs me. You don’t.”

Hala shook her head. “That is not true, Will. If you go, then L’Trask, Zinoa, and Juli and the others go as well. We need you. I… I can’t…” L’Trask was the ship’s chief healer, a kind and gentle Trandoshan. Zinoa was a new addition, a hyperdrive tech who was coming into her own now that she didn’t have to conform to Trandoshan society, which she detested. Juli of course was a law unto herself. And the other two that Will had taken in…

Will’s expression might have been called smile, the same way a sharks might have. “Bullosik. No one is stopping you.”

Hala shook her head. “Will… I gave Serrina my word. I keep my word.”

Will grimaced, but then nodded. “Point.” The former Stormhawk Boss had done the job for six years before succumbing to cancer caused by radiation sickness. Hala had been her chosen successor. And the former Republic Special Forces trooper had been a good choice. Brave, but not foolhardy, Hala was a great leader, willing to listen to anyone, and then decide as the situation warranted. She had issues of course. Who didn’t? When the soldier spoke again, it was gentler. Still cold, but not as cold. “You and the others can stay or come with me as you wish. L’trask and Zinoa are staying. Juli… I don’t know. Mika and Jonas are undecided as of now.”

The two others of Will’s foundlings were young. Mika was twenty year old Mon Calamari female who was insanely good at deciphering enemy com traffic and Jonas was twenty one, a human male who was working an apprenticeship in the Stormhawk’s weapon control center. Both had been orphaned by slavers, and rescued by the Stormhawk. Will had taken both in, given them a place, and hope. Both loved him as a father, as Hala did.

"No." Hala shook her head. “Will, we can work this out. We can fix this.”

Will snorted. “Fix what? Fix the fact that almost everyone on this godsforsaken tub would rather die than hear a possible alternate course of action? Fix the fact that it is OK to shoot a guest as long as she seems to be a Sith? Fix the fact that some of you are complete flarging imbeciles who should have been spaced at birth to save the galaxy a world of hurt?”

Hala was crying again. “Will…”

Will snarled at the girl he had taken under his wing after she had arrived and found nothing waiting for her. “What? You expect me to play nice? Istara was under my protection, Hala! I would have gunned that arrogant witch One Eighteen down and you know what? I would have enjoyed it. That stupid barvette hurt Istara, even if it didn’t show. Istara could have cut her into four or five pieces before her first shot, and she stopped me from stopping One Eighteen. Some Sith.” Now his voice was scornful.

"Will." Hala bowed her head. “Everyone is agreed that One Eighteen was over the line. But Will, half the crew is ready to follow you.”

"Flarg them." Will snorted. “Flarg them all. My family is the only thing that matters to me now, Hala. You matter to me. This crew is not my family. It was… once…” He slumped. “I don’t know when things changed. Maybe with Nia? No… No, it was happening before that. Too many new faces, here and then gone. Too many people with too much hate. For the Sith, for the Jedi, for anyone not on the ship. Well, I guess they can hate me now.”

Hala shook her head slowly. “Will, don’t do this…”

"What?" Will just smiled, but not in a nice way. “You going to try and lock me up? Or shoot me? ‘Oh he knows too much about the ship!’ or ‘He cannot be trusted!’? Or maybe ‘He wears black so he must be a Sith!’”

"No." Hala shook her head slowly. This was not going well. “Will, don’t make me do this…”

"Or what?" Will snarled. “Hala, you of all people know better than to try and threaten me on this ship.”

"I don't want to do this." Now the armored woman snarled back. “I don’t want to threaten you at all. I want you to see reason.”

"Reason?" At that Will stiffened into immobility. “Reason went out the airlock when your new XOs daughter shot Istara, Hala.”

"Ah..." Hala did likewise. “Will, she had cause.”

"Well, duh." Will sighed and relaxed. “Of course she did. She had cause to shoot someone who was not threatening her. Yes…” He raised hand to forestall Hala’s half formed protest. “I know what happened to her. And you want a hot tip? I don’t care.” Now his voice was incredibly cold. Yes the girl had been betrayed, captured by the Sith, tortured and brutalized. But there were limits to anyone’s patience. Even Will’s.

"Will, aw crap..." Hala sighed and replaced her helmet. “Then by my authority as commander of this ship I am placing you under arrest.” She didn’t move.

Will shook his head and smiled sadly. “You and what army?”

The door behind Stormhawk Boss hissed open and three armored forms appeared in it. But all three Stormhawk marines were unarmed and looked terrified. The large grey furred form that stood holding their weapons was a good reason. He didn’t need weapons, even discounting that he was a rated master of Teras Kasi and several other forms of unarmed combat, the Wookiee was huge! Olanagychew had sworn a life debt to Will long ago. The grey furred Wookiee smiled widely at Stormhawk Boss and spoke.

<You were saying?>
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.08.2012 , 04:45 AM | #10
Istara blinked. She had fallen asleep? How had she gotten in a bed? And where was her armor? She felt odd. She struggled to sit up and a gentle hand held her down.

“Now, now, none of that, Ma’am…” The Bladeborn had to smile as she recognized the reassuring voice. The grandmaster relaxed a bit. She had met L’Trask when she and Setsuna had come aboard the ship, seeking sanctuary after the mess with Zelkin Infinium. The strange Trandoshan healer was a pacifist, unlike most of his people. He did not count his jagganath by hunting or killing, instead, he counted his ‘score’ for his goddess by how many people he saved, how many lives he could restore. “Easy does it…” The bed inclined, placing her in a sitting position.

Istara looked up to see L’trask standing beside her bed. “What happened?” She asked quietly, cataloguing what she could feel of her body. Most of it worked fine, but her chest was numb. Granted that she had taken four blaster bolts to that part of her body, numb was preferable to the searing pain that had made it past her control. She looked around. As expected, she was lying on an examination bed in the medical ward of the Stormhawk, a clean and well lit space, like most medical wards she had been in.

The Trandoshan chief medical officer of the renegade battlecruiser Stormhawk shook his head. “You were shot. Several times. Why you didn’t die, I have no idea. You were walking back to your ship when you collapsed. The guards could not rouse you, so they brought you here. You have second degree burns on your chest, but no other injuries I can find.”

"Yeha." Istara sighed. “Thank you, doc. I knew, coming here, that it would be bad. But I had no idea. None at all.”

"What happened was wrong." L’Trask nodded. “One Eighteen, well, that girl has problems.” The doc shook his head. “I know you are not a Sith, Hawkir knows you are not a Sith… But as far as the rest of the crew is concerned? You are weird, but a Sith.”

Istara nodded and winced slightly as something hurt. “Yeah…” She sighed. “When can I get out of here, doc? I don’t want to push your people any more than I have.”

L’trask grimaced. “Um… We have… Some problems…”

Istara blinked and then her eyes shot open. “Oh no… Will…” It wasn’t a question.

L’Trask nodded and his face was as sour as stiff lizard skin could get. “Yeah. He um, well... I don’t know what is going on. Just that we are under a class one lockdown at the moment. No one is moving at all. No ships leaving until the situation clears up.”

"Doc." Istara sighed. “You of all people know that won’t stop him.”

"Yeah." L’Trask nodded sadly. “I know. But… He has been a part of this ship since the beginning. To hear him say what he did. That shocked me. People are asking what you did to him.”

"Me?" Istara blinked. “What ‘I’ did to him? I didn’t do a thing to him. Except ask his help. “She looked away from the doc and stiffened as she saw a pair of armored forms standing by the door. Both marines had weapons out and pointed at her. “Aw man, you think the Order did something to him? Brainwashed him? Of all the…”

"Istara..." L’trask shook his head. “I know Will can be impulsive at times. But this is way beyond him. He threatened members of the crew, Istara, his family. He is out of control.”

"No." Istara shook her head slowly. “If he were out of control, people would be dead. Lots of people. You didn’t see him on the Bladehome, doc. You don’t know…” She was shivering. Something was wrong and the Bladeborn’s grandmaster stiffened as she recognized the feelings. “You drugged me…You…”

"No." L’trask shook his head. “Istara, listen… I gave you painkillers, no more than that.” He leaned close. “Istara, listen to me…” His eyes pleaded with her. “We are in trouble.” She looked at him and her gaze flitted to the guards. L’trask didn’t move but his eyes held an affirmative. The Trandoshan’s voice was soft and scared now. “People are talking mutiny.”

Istara’s eyes went wide. “Aw frak… You are kidding me…” The thought of one of the most powerful starships in anyone's navy mutinying… again… sent shivers down her spine. Just the thought of the Stormhawk going actual pirate made her guts turn to water. No one would be safe. The ship was designed to fight fleets and win. She had heard some of what had transpired at Coruscant and after. Istara shook her head. “In the name of Ashla…why?”

L’Trask sat down beside her bed, his face grave. “Will is… Well, he has been part of this crew since the beginning. He has… Well, it is not a cult aboard, but it is close. People who feel they owe him, people who would follow him anywhere, do anything for him.” The Trandoshan stared at the floor. “People like me…”

"L'trask?" The Bladeborn hadn’t known her eyes could get that wide. “What have you done, doc?”

"I got orders." L’trask shook his head. “They wanted you in detention. I told them to flarg off, you were too badly injured. A lie, but…” Now the Trandoshan looked like he wanted to weep. “They have already put Juli and her dad there. When Will finds out…”

A sound came from the door and both of the two, the Bladeborn and the doctor turned to see both marines lying on the floor. Another armored form was standing over them, lowering a heavy stun rifle. The Mandalorian nodded to both of them and spoke. Trava’s voice was grim. “When Will finds out there is going to be hell to pay, and I would much rather to be a long ways from here when he does.”

L’trask blinked and then nodded. “Do it Trava.”

Istara struggled to get out of the bed as the Mandalorian raised her rifle and fired a careful shot. The Trandoshan collapsed in a heap. The Bladeborn managed to get out of the bed and knelt on shaky legs beside the still form. To her relief, he was breathing. Istara stared at the Mandalorian as Trava started rooting through compartments. “Why did you do that?”

Trava pulled Istara’s armor from a cupboard and tossed it to her before taking position by the door. “He wants to stay, crazy fool. Come on, get dressed, we don’t have a lot of time before they figure out how I spoofed the cameras. We want to be gone by the time they send reinforcements. I do not want a mutiny on this ship if I can help it.”

"I don't get it." Istara started pulling her armor on, letting training steady her as her mind reeled. “Trava, what the hell is going on?”

"A clusterfisk." Trava sighed. “Will sent me a com. Boss tried to arrest him to keep him from leaving.”

Istara froze, her breastplate half on. “Oh no… Tell me you are kidding. Please tell me you are kidding…”

"I can't." Trava shook her head. “I wish. No one is dead, yet. Lots of people unconscious. Two of my people are heading for detention, to spring Cole, Juli and a couple of others. The rest will meet us in the hangar. Come on, get finished, we are on short time here.”

Istara nodded and her hands flew as she finished buckling on her armor. Her sword lay on a table nearby and she checked it swiftly before strapping it on. “We have to stop this. Where is Hawkir?”

Trava shook her head. “He is locked up as well. From what I understand, Boss is unconscious, so command would evolve to Will or the new XO, Jaing Makarian.”

"Wait..." Istara nodded and there was a faint hint of silver in her eyes now. “If he is the one in charge of this madhouse… Let’s go talk to him. Try to settle this before it goes nuclear.”

"Wha-?" Trava looked at her and then laughed. “I like you girl, I do…”
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